In the last few years, I have taken it upon myself to read more. I think I had a sort of postcollegiate reading hangover until one day, I realized I had forsaken one of my favorite pastimes. So I started a Goodreads account, joined a book club, got a library card, and was able to go from reading less than 10 books a year to reading a book a week. One thing I find funny is that whenever I talk to people about the latest book I read, they say something along the lines of "How do you read so much? I just don't have the time." I understand this excuse, because I used to use it myself, but let's get real: you do have time; you're just not making it a priority. If you really, truly do want to read more, here are four foolproof tips that helped me out. And if you need more motivation, take our 2015 reading challenge!
1. Turn off the TV, and put away your phone.
It's amazing how many hours fly by watching mindless television and/or playing Candy Crush. I didn't give up TV completely, but I had to make a conscious choice when I got home or had free hours on the weekend to pick up a book instead of the remote. For me, I'd do reading first (sort of like homework) then watch TV at the end of the night.
2. Have a book or Kindle on you at all times.
Speaking of "time," do you know how many hours a day are spent just standing or sitting around waiting for stuff? Riding the bus, waiting in line for lunch, there are plenty of moments throughout the day to pack in a bit of reading, and if you have a book on you, it's as easy as pulling out your phone to check Facebook.
3. Read books you know you'll love.
Life's too short to read a book you hate. I'm a teensy bit anal about finishing things I've started, so this was groundbreaking for me. Once I just decided I'd stop trying to trudge through a painfully boring novel just to check it off my list, I started flying through books. I read reviews to see if a book sounds appealing, and I most often choose my favorite genre, mystery. You don't have to apologize for having a favorite genre; just embrace it, and dive into it. When it comes to books outside mysteries, I start reading it, and if it draws me, I keep going (this is how I discovered some of my favorite romances). If not, I move on.
4. Get a library card, shop at used bookstores, and look for Kindle deals.
Basically, don't let the cost of books keep you from reading. I keep an eye out for monthly and daily Kindle deals, but there's no replacing a library or used bookstore where you can also read a bit of the book before buying/loaning. And libraries now have ebooks, too. There are so many free and cheap books at our fingertips that it's silly not to take advantage of these opportunities.
Check out even more great tips for making reading a priority, and if you need reading recommendations, here are our picks for the best books of 2014.