Every year, most book-lovers have the same aim – to read more books than they did last year. It’s a goal that in theory, seems easily reached. After all, if you love books, reading is one of life’s real pleasures, so the prospect of reading even more is appealing to the max. The problem is, life gets in the way. We always seem to be strapped for time, waylaid by work, chores, children. To help make 2019 your best book year yet, the team at Better Reading has compiled a list of tips to help you reach your reading goals.
Join a book club (if you haven’t already):
Being part of a book club is a great way to keep you on top of your reading goals. It keeps you accountable and ensures that you’re reading at least one book a month (which we know is a conservative number for some of you). If you’re not yet part of a book club, look out for your local library bulletins, which may promote book club events, or search online for local book clubs that are held regularly in community spaces. You can also start your own book club if you want an extra challenge.
Keep a reading journal:
There’s nothing like a journal to keep you on top of your reading goals. Throughout the year, commit to jotting down every book you’ve read, and what you liked (and didn’t like) about it in a journal or diary. This makes it easy for you to review your year of reading, and also makes you feel good because you can physically see how much you’ve read! You can also keep a stack next to your bed of all the books you’ve read, and watch it pile up as the year progresses – aesthetically pleasing and satisfying.
Explore new bookshops and libraries:
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got your one go-to library or bookstore that you regularly frequent. In fact, you’re probably there so often that the staff know you by name, and know just what to recommend you. But have you ever considered venturing out and exploring new book spaces? This way, you’ll likely stumble upon a different variety and collection of books that you may have otherwise not been exposed to. Sometimes the best books are the ones we stumble upon by chance…
Have a book with you at all times:
Whilst this one seems easy in theory, it proves to be difficult in practise. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve left the house to embark on an hour-long train commute, only to realise I’ve left my book on the kitchen counter. If you get into the habit of taking a book with you everywhere you go, you’ll increase your reading mileage exponentially. Those minutes spent waiting for your morning coffee, commuting to work via public transport, waiting for appointments, are all valuable minutes that can be spent – you guessed it – reading.
Don’t feel pressured to finish a book you’re not actually enjoying:
I know a lot of people who are such avid readers that they refuse to leave a book unfinished, even if they hate everything about it. I’m all for appreciating every book that comes my way and to being challenged, but the reality is that everyone has different tastes in books, and the time you spend reading that 800-page experimental fantasy novel recommended by your uncle that doesn’t quite make sense to you, could be much better spent reading something you genuinely enjoy. Remember, time is money, and money can be used to buy books – so be time-smart.
Let’s be real – most of us would happily subscribe to a life of nothing but reading, all day, every day. No work, no chores, no responsibilities – just endless shelves and stacks of beautiful books full of wonderful stories in which to immerse ourselves. Unfortunately, this lifestyle isn’t really an option for most people. If you’re strapped for time and always on the run, why not embrace audiobooks? They are a great way to read on the go – as you’re driving to work, cooking dinner, working out, cleaning – and mean that you can get your story fix wherever, whenever.
Be committed to your goal, but be prepared to make some changes, too:
Remember, reading is a different experience for everyone. You may have started 2019 with the goal of reading as many books as possible, but this may very well change as the year progresses. Maybe you’ll decide that you want to read for pleasure, read to relax, read instead of watching television, read outside of your comfort zone, read to learn, to travel or to become a better writer. Whatever your goal, just be sure to follow your heart, have fun and not take yourself too seriously.
Happy reading in 2020!