First post of 2019, woo! Happy New Year, guys!
I’ve said before that thanks to school and work and general laziness, reading was much less a priority for me since high school than ever. However, since summer ’18, I’ve managed to make my way through more books than I have since 2013 and it’s been great. I’m so happy I’ve been able to carve out time in my schedule to get back into reading. So, for anyone looking to get back into books, here are some tips that might help you get reacquainted with your inner bookworm.
1. JUST DO IT: Don’t think too much into what book you want to read if you’re just coming back from a reading hiatus. There are millions of choices out there and if you spend all your time reading blurbs to see if something jumps out at you, chances are you’ll be reading blurbs for weeks. When I embarked on my reading journey back in June, I took a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked up the first book I saw: Kate White’s The Gutsy Girl Handbook (the review of which can be found here). And so my reading began. It was tough at first, I’d never read a self-help book before and it’d been years since I read anything, but I pushed through it and finished it, and actually learned a little bit on the way. Stop beating around the bush when it comes to making a choice. You can’t get back into reading if you never pick up a book.
2. Get rid of distractions: Screens are your worst enemy. Phones, laptops, TVs, Apple watches, they all serve one purpose when it comes to *physical* books: distracting. If you’re serious about reading and you prefer having a physical book in your hands instead of a Nook or Kindle or some other e-reader, you’re going to have to pry yourself away from your technology for a bit. Turn off Netflix, silence your phone, put down the PlayStation controller or whatever doodads you millenials distract yourselves with. It’s really hard to read when every few minutes something is beeping at you.
And for you weirdos who prefer e-readers, if you’re reading on something like your phone or iPad that comes with a Do Not Disturb feature, enable it. Don’t let unnecessary distractions take you away from your reading.
Finally, if you’re anything like me and can’t focus much on books in public, find a secluded place to read, somewhere you’ll be at your maximum level of comfort. I do most of my reading in bed: a chapter when I wake up and a chapter at night before I go to sleep. Wherever you find yourself at ease the most, try reading in that environment.
3. Pace yourself: It’s okay if you’re not finishing thousand-page books in three days. Don’t get caught up in trying to make up for lost time by trying to read as many books as you possibly can in a specific window of time. One, that’s probably not going to happen anyway, and two, it takes away from the fun of reading. Like I said in tip #2, I try to read at least two chapters every day, one in the morning and one at night. If I can find some time in the middle of the day to knock out more chapters, awesome. If not, who cares? I still make a bit of progress every day and that’s okay with me. Your reading is your business, there’s no set timeframe you should abide by to finish any book. Take your time and enjoy whatever it is you’re reading and finish it whenever you can.
4. Carry your books with you: You never know when unexpected free time may strike! Pop your book into your bag or purse or have it in your car and any time you may find yourself with a half hour or so to spare, you can knock out a little reading! Here’s how I see it, if you’ve got fifteen minutes to spare to scroll through Twitter, you have fifteen minutes to spare to read a book.
5. Don’t be afraid to explore new genres: We all have our favorites, but branching out into less explored genres can really be fun! You might be surprised at how much you end up liking a book in a genre you swore you’d always hate. I certainly had a change of heart reading a Mexican love story this summer when I pretty much gag at anything romantic. It’s easy to stay in the confines of what we know as readers, but taking time to read a text we wouldn’t normally read diversifies our reading history and potentially opens us up to the chance to refine our tastes in entertainment, which is such a rewarding experience. Even if you end up hating the book, at least you tried something different, and that’s a bit of a reward on its own.
I know it can seem daunting to pick up a book after taking so much time away from them, but it is possible, especially if it’s something you really want to do. If you’re reading this, stop using school and work as an excuse to not read. We all have things on our plate that require our undivided attention from time to time, but it’s not impossible to find time to dedicate to books. Now that the new year is underway, I hope you guys who are wanting to get back into books find a way to do that, whether it be by following my tips or some other way. Let 2019 be the year you fall back in love with reading!
P.S. If you have any other tips for getting back into reading for leisure, feel free to leave them in a comment below!