Books. Tablets. Magazines. Articles. Apps. Newspapers.
So many options. So little time. And so much confusion.
I’m a self-admitted bookworm, and have been ever since I learned how to read. Having spent most of my childhood moving every few years, I took comfort in the smooth pages of my worn paperbacks, the slightly musty smell of books, small font telling a new story. My personal library is among my most cherished possessions – right up there with my Kindle Voyage.
When it comes to what and how to read, I don’t discriminate.
‘Reading more’ seems to top the habit wish lists of many, and I want to share some of my tips on how to adopt this satisfying practice. The fact that you’re reading this post is a good start.
If You’re Just Getting Started…
First and foremost, take the pulse of your current reading habits. Do you read snippets of articles on your phone during your commute, listen to audiobooks during a workout, or do you tuck into a pile of glossy magazines on a rainy day. While we’d all love to curl up on the couch with a pile of books and a mug of tea, chances are that our day-to-day lives just aren’t conducive to it on a regular basis. Take note of your current reading habits – the medium, the content type. If you can, log how much time you read during a day.
These details help establish your baseline, as well as the most convenient way for you to read.
Whatever you’re doing – find ways to do more of it. Listen to your audiobook during your commute as well as your workout. Schedule time to read over breakfast as well as before bed. Keep a magazine or book (a la Rory Gilmore) in your bag at all times. Reading time won’t magically appear. Like any habit worth cultivating, you have to make time for it. The beauty of reading is you can do it virtually anywhere, anytime.
If You Want To Do More Of It…
Want to read more than you actually are? Diversify your content. I’ve found that fiction readers tend to avoid non-fiction, and vice versa. I’m quite a slutty reader – I read it all. I find that the balance of both keeps my mind challenged and helps me approach problems in unique ways.
If you’re easing into non-fiction, consider Blinkist. The platform offers over 1000 non-fiction reads in 20 minute summaries (both audio and visual). Reading newspapers and magazines is another option for dipping your toe in the nonfiction waters. I’m a huge fan of The Economist Espresso and New York Times Now apps for getting caught up on the news fast, easy, and for free. Medium is another outlet to read incredible articles, mostly non-fiction, from a diverse group of writers, thinkers, and creators.
Non-fiction readers associate fiction with lengthy, mind-numbing tomes. And while Ken Follett or Dostoyevsky were never to mince words, there are some incredible short stories writers that appeal to even the most fiction-averse. Jhumpa Lahiri was known for her amazing essays and stories before her novels, and The Interpreter of Maladies is still one of my favorite books. My friend Felicia published an incredible short story that still lingers in my mind, days after I finished reading it. Serial Box is a new app that publishes a new chapter of a story weekly. Each chapter takes about 40 minutes to read, but leaves you wanting more the moment you finish it.
How I Do It
There’s a reason I include a different new read in nearly every Hit List. I find reading to be a beautiful escape that each one of us needs in order to give our all in life. Books feed your mind, your soul. They nourish you in ways you can’t imagine. Why wouldn’t you want to be whisked away to a new world, while never having to leave the comfort of your home?
That said, my reading time is tragically limited. While I wish I could read more, I try not to beat myself about it and enjoy my three scheduled reading times every day.
I start my morning with nonfiction – the aforementioned news apps and a Blinkist summary. Time allotted – 30 minutes.
I used to watch a television show while eating lunch (during work from home days, naturally). These days, I catch up on the long form articles I’ve saved in Instapaper (Pocket is another great resource) or magazine articles via the Texture by Next Issue app on my iPad. Time allotted – 45 minutes.
Evenings are my fiction reading times. Once both my husband and son are asleep, I draw a hot bath with essential oils and Epsom salts, light a candle, and grab by Kindle Voyage. I’m typically juggling a 3 books at a time – a light ‘brain candy’ read (think Everybody Rise, The Selection, or Summer Secrets), a more substantive book (American Gods, Bull Mountain – basically, anything Jaclyn Day recommends), and an old favorite (A Discovery of Witches, Madame President, or anything by Phillipa Gregory). I read while soaking in the tub and again once I’m in bed. Time allotted – whenever my eyes start to close (usually 40 minutes)
On a given day, I’m reading between 90 minutes to two hours. Would I prefer it was more? Absolutely. Do I beat myself up about it? Not too much.
Read more. It’s what everyone should do. And thank you for allowing me to nerd out over one of my beloved hobbies.
[Tweet “It doesn’t matter HOW you do it. It only matters IF you do it. #habithacks”]
If you have any recommendations on books/publications, tips on reading more, or just want to share what you’re reading at the moment, I would love to know. Leave a comment below and I’ll share my own favorites with you.