Reading is a crucial means to becoming a better person. So today, I’m sharing 7 easy ways to read more.
Let’s dive in.
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
Listen to the Podcast Here
You probably already know about audiobooks. I used to primarily listen to books only on road trips. My husband and I drove from New York to Alabama and back, 16 hours each way, and we listened to Clan of the Cave Bear on the way back and when we got home, I didn’t want to get out of the car because I wanted to hear what happened to Ayla! They make car trips just another thing altogether. But recently, two friends changed my relationship to audiobooks.
One friend showed me how to download our library system’s app and check audiobooks out of the library that I could then listen to on my phone!
Game changer. I mean, I love listening to podcasts on dogwalks, but my guilty reading pleasure is celebrity memoirs, and I find listening to them in the celeb’s own voice is even MORE PLEASURABLE! So checking audio books out of your library is my first tip.
Then, another friend told me that she listens to audiobooks when she’s driving around and walking the dog, and then reads the actual book in bed at night
MIND BLOWER. This is for those books you really want to plow through, like, your book club meeting is coming up and you’ve gotta make it happen. I haven’t actually tried this yet but I am excited to. Theoretically, you could check both versions of the book out of your library! So that’s my second tip–try a combo of listening and reading.
My third best tip for reading more is to read in the morning before you get out bed
Especially if you’re not one of those people who can hop out of bed the second after they open their eyes. I find reading in the morning is a great way to wake up. It makes me feel like I am winning the day before my feet even hit the floor.
Number four is to set a goal for how much read and then keep track:
I also find it just hugely motivating to set a yearly goal for myself on GoodReads. Some years I am more maniacal about this than others. In 2019 I set a goal to read a book a week, and did it. Since then, reading a book every 2 weeks-so 26 books a year–has felt super doable in comparison so that’s where I’m sticking.
My fifth tip on how to read more: Visit bookstores and libraries
This sounds obvious but there’s something about a bookstore that just makes you want to read. All those pretty covers, the little handwritten notes of staff recommendations, the smell of fresh paper, I mean, swoon! The same way that going shopping for clothes makes you want to wear new and different clothes, devoting some time to perusing new book options makes you want to read new books.
Number six is to Surround yourself with readers
Start a text string with the people in your life who read regularly, and make recommendations, pass along books you’re done with, and ask if anyone is ready to discuss the ending of the book you just finished. Many things are contagious beyond germs–depression, smoking, and fitness all tend to run in social circles. Let reading be something that spreads in your life by interacting more with people you love who read. I talk about books with my college roommates, my neighborhood friends, and my sisters in law.
And finally, number seven is don’t be afraid to quit reading a book you don’t enjoy
Life is too short to read books you just don’t like. Feeling like you have to slog through a book before you can start something new will just slow you down and keep you from finding the book that you actually love! It’s OK to admit defeat. There are different messages for us in books at different times. Maybe it’s the book, but maybe it’s just not the right time. It’s OK.
Becky Karush also shared some great tips on how to read more in yesterday’s episode, The Healing Power of Reading. And listening to her talk about the healing power of reading will inspire you to do more of it, I just know it, so go back and listen to that if you haven’t already.
Take care and talk to you tomorrow, when I’m sharing 5 unexpected ways to interact with art without leaving home.