Every year “Read More Books” is on my list of new-years resolutions. I glance at my teetering pile of yet-to-be-begun books and think wistfully of the days when I would smash through a book every other day. As a teen I remember rolling my eyes at my mother who, despite her love of literature, would scarcely finish a book per month because she “didn’t have time” for reading. Teenage Me vowed and declared that I would never be a person who didn’t have time for reading.
And yet, here I am, with a stack of unread books and a to-read list that spans more than thirteen pages. My Goodreads wrap-up informs me that I only read 22 books in 2019, which seems pitiful when I used to devour that many books in a couple of months. I’ve decided that in 2020, I am definitely going to make an effort to read more. If you’re also looking to increase your reading in 2020, here are some of my top tips to make that happen.
Choose books you actually want to read
If you’re only selecting books you think you “should” read (but don’t actually enjoy) then reading is going to be a chore. Reading can be so much fun, so relaxing and joyful, but only if you’re reading something you connect with. Take a trip to your library and select a book that speaks to you, something that you feel excited about sitting down with.
Aim for one chapter a day
You don’t have to read for lengthy periods to make progress. Aim to read just one chapter, or even one page, every day. If that’s all you have the time and energy for, that’s awesome. If you’re totally engrossed you can always chomp through a few more chapters if time permits.
Have one tech-free night per week
One of the main reasons that I don’t read as often as I’d like is that I get distracted easily. After a long day at work, it feels so much easier to just flump in front of the telly than it is to pick up a book. This year, I’m designating one night per week as a tech-free night. That means no television, no computer and no phone. On these nights I plan to curl up with a book and really lose myself. When you take away the distractions, it’s so much easier to slow down and relax with your book.
Read books with a partner
Another reason I read less nowadays is because reading is a very solitary activity, and I tend to spend at least a couple of nights each week with my partner. When we’re together, we often watch a movie or a few episodes of a show because it’s something that we can share. But reading can also be a couples activity. Choose a book that you both want to read and take turns reading aloud. This is loads of fun and you can take breaks to discuss the story or your favourite characters as you go.
Take your book with you
There are loads of small pockets of time during the day which could be used for reading. While you’re waiting for the bus, while eating your lunch, in between classes or while on public transport. To make sure that you can take advantage of these opportunities, pack your book in your bag. Then you can shuffle through a few pages whenever there’s time to spare.
Embrace other mediums
There’s no law that says reading only includes heavy, dusty tomes. There’s also comic books, e-books, audio books, zines and a whole host of other mediums for your perusal. These all totally count as reading and many are more accessible for some folks. Try exploring different ways to enjoy storytelling and you might find that one of these is more suited to your lifestyle and needs than a traditional book.
I wish you many hours of happy reading in 2020, and hope that we can all find time for more reading, more stories and more knowledge in the year ahead.
Finishing Birdsong, now, by Sebastian Faulks. Best book I read over the last 12 months was The Girl in a Swing by Richard Adams.