Lifestyle

How I fell in love with reading and am able to read more books

I love to read. Nowadays, it’s pretty normal for me to read every day. I can read at least 2 books a month. This is not a brag, it’s just true! But it wasn’t always this way. This is something I’ve been able to do only in the last maybe 3-4 years consistently. Here is what has helped me to love reading and read more books.

Take your time

Reading is a marathon not a sprint. It is a lifestyle, not a goal or end destination to reach. My partner reads faster than I do, but I read more often than he does. In the end, I read more books each year.

Don’t listen to advice about how to read faster in order to read more books. Sure, it could help, but reading is (in my opinion) something to be enjoyed not rushed. And if you’re enjoying it, you’re going to want to do it more often. If you allow yourself to take your time, I promise you’ll end up reading with more joy and getting more out of it.

Build a habit

Reading became a nighttime habit for me. It’s part of my bedtime routine! As children, we had bedtime routines and this often included being read stories. I’m not sure if my mom read them to me, but there’s something very therapeutic and right about it.

I read every night before going to sleep. I go up to bed around 9pm and aim to read for an hour or until sleepy, after having brushed my teeth and changed into my pjs. Worst case scenario, I end up reading a lot and not falling asleep. Best case, I become sleepy and fall asleep. Either way, it’s very healthy. I get to sleep or I get to read!

Have your book ready waiting for you on your nightstand/bedside table or on your pillow to remind you to pick it up and get reading before going to sleep.

Rebel against the rules!

Don’t be a book snob! If you want to read more and actually enjoy it, remove any rules you might have about what “real reading” is. (Whatever the hell that means?!)

This means allowing yourself to listen to audiobooks.

This means reading shorter books if you want to (they’re still books!).

This means reading children’s or teen books (spoiler alert, a lot of them are amazing and deep and funny and warm and not just entertaining for kids!).

This means reading fiction and fantasy instead of “serious” books.

This means reading modern books, not just the revered classics.

Books can be enjoyed in many forms. We live in a modern world so allow yourself to sample all kinds of reading. You’ll soon have your preferred method or genre, but that doesn’t mean the other methods can’t be enjoyed too. Sometimes a mixture of methods and genres keeps things interesting and engaging for you as a reader, thus keeping you reading for longer!

I read more often because I listen to audiobooks in the shower, while doing chores, or walking to work. I read shorter books if they sound good or I’m looking for a quick win after finishing a longer book beforehand. I love children’s books/ middle-grade fiction. Remember, the Harry Potter series was meant for children! Don’t assume they are immature or infantile. The younger age ranges will be, but the “upper middle-grade” (MG) section or Young Adult (YA) sections are fair game!

Go electronic

Owning a Kindle (or other) e-reader helps too. It makes reading seem easier. It means you technically always have a book (or a hundred) with you if you have the Kindle app on your phone or tablet.

Kindle books/ebooks are cheaper too! So if you have a tight budget but you love to read, investing in a Kindle reaps many benefits. Instead of buying a physical book for upwards of £5-6, you can get books for just £1-2! An Audible membership (audiobook platform/app) is £7.99 a month and it offers many Audible originals and podcasts for free, alongside 2 for 1 sales or book sales for you to get more for your money.

I hate to be that guy, but it’s also great for the planet. Electronic books don’t sap any of the planet’s resources. It gets electronically sent to your Kindle or phone in seconds. Not shipping if you buy online. No manufacturing is needed to make a physical copy!

Kindle books also have the benefit of being able to read aloud to you, tell you the meaning of words, and highlight passages of text to see later. These features can be good for readers who struggle but still like to read. Very inclusive!

Don’t get me wrong, I love physical books and I have plenty. I also love being able to pass the physical book on to a friend or charity shop once I’m done. However, a Kindle can help you experience more books in a simpler way.

DNF

I DNF books! It’s hard but it has to be done sometimes. DNF means Did Not Finish. When you’re not feeling a book, forcing yourself to keep going only stops your progress. You stop enjoying the process and ultimately slow down. If you want to read more books and love reading, why force yourself to go through that?

Sadly, some books sound great but they’re not. Or you might not be in the mood for that type of book at the moment. Or an author’s writing style isn’t for you. Or people recommend it/it’s popular but it’s just not your thing in the end. This is okay!

The author still got your money, so you’ve supported their career, which is nice! You still experienced some reading, which is good too. You also learned something valuable: what you don’t like! And you can always try again with the book later if you really do want to finish it. But for now, put it aside and try something else. You can pass the book on to someone else, too, if you want.

It doesn’t have to be a waste of time or money if you shift your mindset.

Don’t know what to read?

It can be daunting if you’re a new reader. Or if you’re coming out of a slump. Here are some things that help me know what to read or buy next:

  • Booktubers! These are people on YouTube who talk about books! They may not always have the same tastes as you, but hearing their reviews or recommendations for books can be useful. I watch: Christy Ann Jones, Merphy Napier, Leena Norms, Jack Edwards, Elliot Brooks, and A Clockwork Reader
  • Google it: You can get really specific about what you are looking for and google it to find recommendations for that thing! Try books about friendships, books with Asian main characters, books with low fantasy, books with pirates, books that feel like anime etc! Goodreads helps, as it lists books that are categorised this way.
  • Find similar: If you liked a book, look online for books that are similar. This can be by genre, author, style, or tropes. Google or booksellers should be able to help.
  • Ask your friends! If you have friends who are readers, ask what they recommend that you read. Ask what their favourite books are.

There you have it, my list of ways to read more books and enjoy the process. Once you know yourself better as a reader, you should naturally gain momentum and enjoyment for reading.

Note that no one else’s idea of what reading is should affect your journey. Read what you want and how you want. If you read 10 books in a year that’s amazing. Heck, if it’s just one more than last year, that’s great too! Reading is a very personal thing. Unless you’re reading aloud to someone, it’s a private and tranquil experience. Don’t ruin it with expectations or forcing it or reading things you don’t enjoy.

Life’s too short and there are too many wonderful worlds within books to explore for you to hate your reading process.

Sincerely,

S. xx

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