Making Time & Reading More
I thought I’d write a little bit about how I manage to read a reasonable amount of books, despite having a busy life! Like a lot of bookbloggers and people I know on Goodreads, I’m at university, managing a degree and an active social and sport life. But I still manage to read over a hundred books a year, which I think is a good amount. So here are a few tips so help you up the amount of time you spend reading (and hopefully hit whatever your reading goal is).
Easy to say, not so easy to do. Lots of people say to read when you commute into work or school – I walk, so that’s not really a great option (though I do sometimes see one lady walking into uni whilst reading a physical book, not sure it’s very safe though!). I own a handful of audio books, mostly Harry Potter and Skulduggery Pleasant, so those are a great option if you like that sort of thing. Mostly though, I like to read whilst I eat, in the ten minute break between lectures, when I wake up and have my morning mug of tea, and just before I go to sleep.
My partner and I have an evening ritual of reading in bed together, one of the lovely things about us both being book lovers. The key point is really to try and always have a book to hand, whether on your phone or in your bag. The amount of times I’ve been hanging around waiting for something/someone and been able to read! I also don’t watch a lot of TV.
Use different mediums
I always have at least two books on the go at once – one physical book and another on my kindle. Sometimes I even have a third on my laptop, though I’m not particularly fond of reading on it. Normally these are Netgalley books where the publisher has refused to make a kindle copy available! I love my Kindle – it currently has several hundred books on it and I’ve owned it for about 5 years, I think. It’s one of the original ones with a case with a little light for nighttime reading 🙂 I particularly like that Kindles will tell you exactly how far through a book you are (saves me trying to estimate by pining pages together) and I use the highlighter feature a lot.
I know a lot of people really don’t like reading on Kindle’s which is obviously fine, that just means you should have two physical books on the go – one slightly smaller book which you can easily fit in a bag, and a hefty tome for home. I wouldn’t have wanted to lug Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings around anywhere!
I don’t always read
It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but don’t always read – why? I read a lot for my degree. I study philosophy and so I often have a large volume of assigned texts to read for each seminar and additional readings to do on those weeks where I have essays due. I get physical books from the university library and I have to read a lot of articles on my laptop screen, so sometimes the last thing I want to do is read, even for pleasure.
When I feel like this I normally crack open a video game (maybe Sims if I want something repetitive and fun, or a Professor Layton game if I want to try my brain a bit) or draw or go do some more sports. On the flip side, I try not to take too much time from reading, otherwise I might find I’ve settled into a routine where reading doesn’t really fit in anymore. I think about a week normally works for me, when I’m in a reading exhaustion phase. The next section follows on quite naturally from this:
Historical fiction, contemporary, YA, children’s fiction – try mixing up your genres
Read different genres
Reading slump. It’s like an art block but for reading, and it’s equally horrible. There’s loads of books on your shelf with beautiful covers that you were so excited about a few days ago when you were too busy to read, but now that you’ve got time – nada, no inspiration to read. The best bet is to mix up your genres, keep things fresh. Maybe a contemporary fiction, or a light romance if you don’t normally read these kinds of things. At the moment I’ve tried a couple of more “middle-grade” or children’s books and a couple of poetry collections to shake things up.
This is good advice even if you aren’t in a reading slump, I think. Reading that 5th YA fantasy novel in a row means characters and settings start to blur into each other, and worse, you start to find them annoying because you notice all the similarities between the books. It can be a bit demotivating.
Use Goodreads (or people you know!)
I like keeping track of how many books I’ve read, what percentage I am towards hitting whatever target I have in mind. Goodreads helps me keep track of this, which I find super motivating. Interacting with people about books, whether online or in real life, is also wonderful. I’ve had so many great recommendations off of people, but it’s also really lovely to share a book with someone you know that they’ll love – my copy of A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet is with the third person I’ve lent it to at the moment, it’s just such a great book. I’ve also pressed my copies of The Secret History and The Song of Achilles onto different people.
I do think it’s important not to use social media too much though. It can be a bit demoralising to constantly see other people reading more than you, or giving negative reviews to books or authors you love. Social media in small doses, people!
That just about sums up my tips for reading more! Audiobooks, Kindles, and reading books that interest you. Nothing particularly new here, but hopefully I gave you a new perspective on something.
What are your tips for reading more?