Do you have a hard time getting comfortable while reading? Distracted? Are you not entertained by the book you’re reading? No worries, we’ve all been there. Even me! Like most anything, the most valuable piece of advice is: Don’t stop – keep going. If reading is difficult for you or you’re interested to know how I read one book every week, check out the five tips below!
Find a Story That Inspires You
Whether the story you read inspires your imagination, your sense of adventure, or inspires you to change your real-life habits, the book you are reading should move you in some way. When picking a book, find one that interests you in a major way by reading the synopsis on the back or inside cover. Be careful if you notice yourself wanting to read it because the synopsis ends on a cliffhanger, because you are reading for the story, not the ending.
Page through the book and see if any of the sentences catch your attention. Does it catch your attention because of the language? the dialogue? the plot? If scanning over a few paragraphs makes you want to read more and know more about the story, you’re on to something.
Change it Up
It’s so easy to fall into a genre hole and never reemerge. If you started out on Nicolas Sparks in your teens, there’s a possibility that you’ve fallen into the genre hole. Reading so many of the same types of stories will burn you out as a reader. There are so many genres and so many formats to present them to readers. That’s not to say that you should grab Game of Thrones if you’re normally a Sarah Dessen kinda person (actually do grab GoT, it’s great).
Knowing that you’re a fan of, say, low fantasy makes it easy to go to that category and pick up another similar story to the one that you know you liked, but also consider a high fantasy, or a thriller, which still have similar undertones and excitement to them. Or, if you haven’t set foot in nonfiction except during your education, try it.
Join a Community
It’s always more fun to go at it with a team. Reading with other people is beneficial for a lot of reasons. Primarily, it’s great because it keeps you reading.
Exchanging ideas about a book will help you better understand it, and see the story from different angles. Stories are definitely not one-sided and they can be read and interpreted in a variety of ways -which could answer whether or not your sophomore English teacher ever got tired of reading The Great Gatsby once a year.
Find your reading community through local avenues such as newspapers, coffee shop ads, and Facebook groups. Or join a completely online community. We love to talk to everyone about reviews, opinions, or musings on stories, movies, and more. Book of The Month also has a lively online community -which is one of many reasons I love them!
Create a Reading Environment
In our culture it can be hard to sit down and do one thing at a time, especially if it isn’t necessarily contributing to your growth tangibly. But reading is so good for your health and it contributes to a life full of learning.
In order to reap these benefits, create a setting for yourself to read in. This place should be without distractions -that’s not to say that you should not read in a coffee shop or in the break room. If you can focus on the story and read 5 pages without becoming sidetracked by your surroundings, you don’t necessarily need to be in an empty room.
If you’re hungry, the perfect time to have a snack is while reading and relaxing. Pop some popcorn on the stovetop or chop raw veggies for a good reading snack. A coffee or tea is also good, and convenient if you read in a coffee shop.
Lastly, be sure to have enough light to read by. Don’t strain your eyes trying to read in a candlelit bathtub and create a negative experience for yourself. Sit by a window, outside, or by a warm lamp to keep your eyes as relaxed as possible.
Make Time to Read More
Put a minimum of 45 minutes aside to read every day. Last year, We Are Social reported that Americans are on social media for an average of 1.7 hours every day. That’s almost two hours. On social media. Lend some of that time instead to creating a new world and reality or dedicate yourself to learning another point of view from another human that dedicated months of their time to creating a book!
45 minutes, for some, is the morning commute to work -listen to an audiobook. Instead of swiping on your phone for half an hour before bed, keep a page-turner on your night stand. Make a date to read to or with your friends, family, community, or significant other and discuss the book. Read for approximately 12 minutes while your spaghetti boils and then put off cleaning the kitchen for another 33 minutes while you spill into new chapters.
I challenge you to get your hands on a new book. Go to your local library to get a book for free, make a quick stop at Target (even though we all know it won’t be that quick…), or sign up for a book subscription box!
Once reading is a habit you will begin to reap the benefits, so stay with it for some seriously life changing results. What helps you read more and why do you read? Let’s discuss in the comments or on my recent social media!