I read a lot – I would guess I read between 100-150 books a year, maybe more. I’m always surprised that when I talk to people and realize that reading that much is unusual. I am a fast reader, so I certainly have an advantage there, but I can’t imagine my life without reading. Reading has given me experiences in times and places I will never experience personally – it’s like a whole other way to know the breadth of life.
In order to make it easy for me to read a lot, I have a few easy strategies that I use to make books (digital and paper) part of my daily life and to encourage myself to read and finish books.
- Download the Libby app. You have to have a public library card to use it, but it’s really easy to set up with a public library card. Then you can download new books (both digital and audio) directly to your phone, or Kindle, or iPad – whatever you prefer. They are completely free and you get them for two weeks and they automatically return (no late fees! no driving to the library!). Pro tip – if you won’t finish a book in two weeks, turn the wifi on your kindle off and you’ll keep the book until you turn the wifi back on. I always keep a book on my iPhone, so instead of mindlessly scrolling, I can read a book waiting in carpool line, at the doctor’s office, or really anywhere!
- Sign up for BookBub emails. Not sure what you want to read? Tell BookBub what categories or types of books you like, and they will send you an email daily with books that fit your interests that are less than $3 on Amazon. You click, download, and boom – new book on your phone or Kindle.
- Try an audio book. Some books are better in audio format anyway. Malcolm Gladwell is a big believer in the power of an audio book, and he puts a lot of effort into making a compelling audio book that almost feels like a (really) long form podcast.
- Participate in a book club. Maybe it’s in real life, but maybe it’s online. I’ve followed Reese Witherspoon’s book club off and on for a while, and I enjoy the idea of having an “assignment” sometimes. I’ve read books I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, and enjoyed reading and sharing with others who are reading the same work. The connection and conversation can help to bring the book to life. Reese not your speed? Check out this wide selection of book clubs for everyone.
- Hear about a book that really grabs you? Immediately order it on Amazon. I only do this when I’m really excited about a book, but then I know that when I have that paperback laying around that I really want to read it. And then it stares at me from my bedside table because sometimes it takes me a while to start a real book because digital books are so much easier!
- Become a Book Fairy. Somehow the idea that I get to pass on a book and make someone else happy makes me more motivated to finish it, especially if I’m going on a trip and I can leave it in a new place. I’m heading to New Orleans this weekend and working to finish a book so I can book fairy while I’m there and leave it for someone else to find.
- Reading something you hate? Stop. Life is short. This isn’t high school English. You’re allowed to quit.
- Participate in a reading challenge. I’m doing the Women Reading 2020 Challenge, and it’s forcing me to stretch outside of my normal book selections to complete the challenge. The stretching is interesting, and I love checking things off and feeling like I’ve accomplished something. But if you search “reading challenge”, there are so many options. Print it out and post it somewhere you will see it.
- Read something light. Love romance novels? Thrillers? Erotica? YA? Whatever — read what makes you happy. I love to read Stuart Woods books. They are all basically the same, but I always enjoy the experience. So I keep reading them. Whatever – it’s just a hobby that I do for fun. No guilt.
- Put your kindle app, or your Libby app, on the first screen of your phone. Remind yourself to jump into it when you have time. Talk to other people about what you are reading. Let it be part of your daily life. Reading doesn’t require you to sit down for hours to finish War and Peace. Read a little, here and there, of what you enjoy, and let it bring you happiness, insight into the world, education, and fun.