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How to (actually) read more

4 tips from a born-again bookworm

Is it just me, or was reading easier and more integrated into your life when you were a kid? School days consisted of storytime, reading buddy programs and scholastic book fairs (the real MVP). Evenings meant bedtime stories, and weekends often included trips to the bookstore.

But, once you reach high school, reading for pleasure often takes a backseat to the pages and pages of assigned reading. And it only worsens in college; I think I went a year without picking up a novel.

I guess life gets in the way. Even if we have the motivation and energy to read, we don’t always have the time. That’s one of the few silver linings of the pandemic: time. Without lengthy commutes, extracurriculars and weekend plans, we often have hours left unattended each day.

With this newfound free time, I’ve rekindled my youthful love for reading. Here are my four tips on how to actually read more:

  1. Ask your friends, family and coworkers what they’re reading. When I wanted to get back into reading more regularly, I wasn’t sure where to start. In passing, I asked a few of my friends what they were reading. We ask our peers for recommendations on everything else — shoes, restaurants, doctors — so why not books? I ended up with great recommendations (a couple of all-time favorites) and even saved a few dollars by borrowing the books from them instead of buying copies myself.
  2. Invest in a monthly book subscription. If your reservoir of book recommendations runs dry or you simply want a more curated selection, try a monthly book subscription like Book of the Month (BOTM). Finding books to read can be overwhelming and difficult, which is what makes BOTM so great — they do the work for you. They provide diverse options each month, so all you have to do is pick one and it’s delivered right to your door. As a loyal BOTM subscriber, I’ve also found that it helps me discover new, exciting genres and authors.
  3. Read multiple books at once. I know, I know. Why would you read several books at one time when it’s hard enough to read just one? Hear me out, reading more than one book simultaneously has its benefits. For example, you might read a dense historical fiction novel on the weekends when you have more free time, but keep a thin book of poetry on your nightstand to read before bed during the week. Broaden your genre horizons and get more reading done in one fell swoop.
  4. Make reading a daily habit. The hardest part about reading more is the more part. Keeping up the momentum is a challenge, which is why I make reading a part of my daily routine. I have a reminder on my phone to read one chapter per day. Reading doesn’t always have to be a long, drawn-out commitment. Starting small and incorporating shorter doses can make it feel less daunting and more achievable.

Reading might not be as built into our lives now as it was when we were kids, but with baby steps and gentle nudges to yourself, you’ll be back on the reading rainbow (shout-out to LeVar Burton and PBS) in no time.

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