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8 Tips to Help You Read More Books This Year

A woman reading a book outside, leaning against a stone pillar.

“Read more” is an ever-popular New Year’s (or anytime) resolution. If you’ve fallen out of the habit of reading, it might take some focus to get back into it. Here are some tips to help you put down your phone and pick up a book!

Unlike other forms of entertainment, reading requires your full attention. If you’re a busy multitasker, the prospect of putting down everything else and picking up a book might seem impossible. However, it’s the quiet focus reading requires that makes it so rewarding.

If you’re ready to discover some new favorite books and reap all the benefits that come from reading, here are some ideas to help you get started.

Read the Types of Books You Enjoy

It might seem obvious, but one thing that might be holding you back is reading books you think you should be reading. If you only try to read books that are considered “good” or “literary,” you might have a harder time sticking with it.

Maybe you want to expand your knowledge with some hefty nonfiction reads or sample a list of literary classics. While many of these kinds of books are incredible, some of them can make sticking with a regular reading schedule more difficult.

There’s also value in reading books that aren’t particularly dense or intellectual. Not only will lighter, fun reads entertain you, but they also make it easier to make reading a daily (or weekly) habit. There’s no shame in starting with romance, sci-fi, fantasy, or whatever your “guilty pleasure” genre might be. These books will work your “reading muscles” until you’re ready to tackle some heavier tomes.

Put Down the E-Reader

E-books and the devices we read them on are handy and convenient. However, they can also be distracting.

Even if your e-reader isn’t connected to the internet, it’s still shaped more like a tablet than a book. The biggest drawback, though, is it works like a tablet, too. This makes it all too easy to give in to the impulse to scroll your social media feed after you finish a chapter.

The built-in dictionaries, note-taking functions, and even the number of books you have on the device can distract you from your reading. When you’re reading a physical book, you can’t instantly switch to another. On an e-reader loaded with dozens (if not hundreds) of titles, though, it’s quite easy to give up on one text and start reading another.

Not everyone has a problem remaining focused when using an e-reader. However, if you haven’t been able to read as much as you’d like, switch to physical books for a while and see if it makes a difference.

Always Pack a Book

Do you always have a book with you when you leave the house? If not, you’re missing out on ample opportunities to read.

One of the best things about reading is you can do it anywhere. You don’t need headphones, a screen, or an internet connection—you just need a book.

This makes reading an ideal pursuit when you’re out of the house. Whether you’re on your lunch break, sitting on a delayed train, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant, you’ll find countless chances to read throughout your day, so make sure you always have a book with you.

Invite Peer Pressure

It’s often easier to stick to a goal after you tell other people about it and give them permission to encourage you. Why not enlist some friends to peer pressure you into reading more?

You can even post about your goal on social media or make a bet with a friend to see who can read the most books this year. Any way you can rope your peers into assisting with your reading goal will help.

So, share your reading commitment with people and let the power of social influence pressure you into success!

Read What Your Icons Read

Bill Gates sitting in a chair and reading a book by a fireplace.
Bill Gates recommends and reviews books on his blog, GatesNotes.

One of the most challenging parts of reading is deciding exactly what to read.

If you’re not sure where to start, why not stalk the reading lists of some of your favorite celebrities or entrepreneurs? Many famous people have published their reading lists online, so and all it takes is a Google search. Perhaps their recommendations will inspire you to pick up something you wouldn’t normally choose yourself.

If you need somewhere to start, check out Bill Gates’ blog, GatesNotes, where he frequently posts book reviews and recommendations.

Get in the Habit of Borrowing

Space is at a premium in many homes, so adding to your book collection might not always suit your space or budget constraints. That’s why borrowing books is such a great way to get your hands on new reads that will excite you.

Of course, you already know about the library, which should be your first stop, but if you have any well-read friends, they can be an awesome source of books to borrow.

If you have friends who are readers, suggest getting together for a “book swap,” so you can all borrow a few of each other’s favorites. You’ll expand your bookshelf options with minimal effort and no money spent! Plus, there are no late fees if you forget to return anything by a certain time.

If you don’t have many friends who are bookworms, see if there’s a Little Free Library near you.

Find a Favorite Bookstore

Of course, they’re not free, but if you visit a bookstore with a wide selection of used books, you can keep costs low. Plus, visiting a bookstore can make you look forward to reading.

Check out the bookstores in your area and find one you love to hang out at. Many also have coffee shops or restaurants perfect for sitting down and diving into your new book.

If you’re excited about your next trip to your favorite bookstore, it can help you stay committed to finishing more books.

Make Your Books More Visible

If your books live in a box under your bed or on a shelf behind clunky furniture, you can’t easily browse them. This makes it easier to forget about reading and turn to a more convenient form of entertainment.

If you need to, rearrange things, so your bookshelves are front and center in your home. You should be able to stand or sit in front of the shelves until you find a book that calls to you. When you can easily see or flip through your options, you can choose something that suits your current mood or mindset. This can make it much easier to meet your reading goals.

Plus, a nice, fully-stocked bookshelf is a great focal point and conversation-starter for your home.

For decades, people feared the internet would put an end to books, but they’re still going strong—even alongside more modern forms of entertainment. They offer an immersive experience, unlike anything you get from a screen.

So, what are you waiting for? With these tips in your pocket, venture out, and see all the new worlds that await you in the pages of your future favorite books.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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