For many people, “read more books” tends to top their resolution lists. Yet, reading is a serious hobby, which in turn requires a serious commitment.
I’ve personally always been a bookworm, but my appetite for the written word has particularly exploded over the last few years, when I made reading a high priority. I now read over 100 books a year and this makes me feel very happy indeed.
Some of these tips will seem laughingly simple, others may lead to an “aha!” moment. But all are intended to get you reading more, which is an excellent end game to have, in my humble opinion.
Move to a new city
Maybe not the most practical advice of all, but I probably wouldn’t have read as much over the last few years, if I wasn’t constantly moving to new places.
Moving to a new city can be a lonely affair, but if you enjoy reading, it’s an excellent opportunity to get a lot of it done.
I highly recommend looking to books that use your new city as their setting. It’s a perfectly good way to help familiarise yourself with your new home.
Join a library
Here’s a bit of a “well, duh” solution – but my library card most definitely aids and abets me with my reading prowess. I wouldn’t get through nearly as many books as I do these days, if I wasn’t scoring them for free.
I think it’s important to support local library, lest they all turn into monster “learning centres”, filled with computers and not much more. Plus, some of them are just beautiful buildings to hang around in. I particularly love the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, it just seems so regal.
Bring a book with you everywhere
Ally my favourite scenes from the TV show Gilmore Girls feature Rory with her abject obsessions for books. Sniffing novels in the Yale library, or getting mocked for bringing a book to a party. Rory definitely has her priorities straight, in this regard at least.
Personally, I don’t ever go anywhere without a book. If I have time to pause and wait, I’d rather be catching up on my reading than scrolling through crap on my phone. And while I haven’t brought a book to a party, I have been caught reading at the pub. Football games can get boring and a girl’s got to distract herself somehow.
Start a book club and entice people to join by promising them that alcohol will be involved
A book club is a way of ensuring that you’ll read at least one book a month, because peer pressure can be a very convincing thing.
I was part of a book club in London and we used to meet in a local bar for cocktails, to discuss. I personally didn’t need any encourage to read the novels we set each month, but I am to alcohol as a baby is to breast milk, so it definitely didn’t hinder my reading prowess.
Most people like a party, so just rally them around with the promise of a fun time.
Set yourself monthly/yearly challenges
If you’re competitive, setting yourself reading challenges can go a long way.
Maybe you want to read five books a month, or you’re going to give yourself a whole year to read a certain number.
Make sure you track your process, in order to keep yourself motivated towards achieving your goal (the Goodreads app is perfect for this).
Explore the shelves of independent bookstores and secondhand shops
A world without bookstores would be a dark world indeed, so try your best to shop local. Many cities are still home to fantastic bookstores.
If you can buy a physical book, rather than purchase off Kindle, do try to take that option. There’s something lovely about holding a book in your hand, rather than an electronic device. I love the smell of books, new and old and the physical feel of it in my hands… the satisfaction of turning a page and closing a book once you finish it for good.
Plus bookstores are just interesting places to be. I could spend hours browsing Readings in Melbourne and I love The Press Book Café in Newcastle, where you can grab a cup of joe whilst setting into some quality literature.
Pester people to find out what they’re reading
I am very fortunate when it comes to my friends. Not only are they fantastic people, but the majority of them also happen to be voracious readers.
As a result, we all often enthusiastically swap book recommendations. Since we tend to have similar tastes (like attracting like and all that), some of these suggestions have led to my all-time favourite reads.
Keep it fresh and read across genres
Reading across different genres stops me from getting bored and stops my reading in general from going stale.
I know if I just read novels all the time, I’d tire of reading quite quickly and look to a show on the tellybox to binge-watch instead.
Mixing up what I read keeps it exciting… I can dive nose deep into a British Crime Thriller one week, only to pick up a celebrity biography the next.
Buy books as souvenirs when travelling
Some of my favourite book finds have been made whilst travelling.
I remember being in Margate, UK years ago and stumbling across a secondhand bookshop. As usual, a monster was released within me and I started digging through the piles and piles of books.
I stumbled across a copy of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, a really old one covered in red fabric. Taking it to the counter, the man serving me flipped through the book, looking for the price.
Up in the corner was simply written 10p.
“That’s weird,” he said, but then shrugged. “Ten pence it is!”
Cheapest and best book purchase ever.
I still buy books old and new when travelling – if they’re new, I like to write the place where I bought it, month and year on the first page. I figure it will make for some sort of amusement when I finally install my home library.
Read books whilst in transit
Forget about that movie on the plane. Jump straight into a new read instead.
I get most of my reading done on public transport these days. Planes, trains, buses and trams, until the inevitably motion sickness sets in.
Get on Goodreads
“NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM!” You may scream. But, I have found Goodreads to be invaluable (you can follow me here, if you so choose).
Not only is it great for keeping track of your own reading (and in doing so, encouraging you to read on more), you’ll see what your other friends on the platform are current delving into. I have the same taste in books as several of my Goodreads friends and it’s led me to discover books that I otherwise would have been oblivious to.
Take advantage of Kindle’s Free Old Books
One wonderful thing about Kindle is that it offers some books which have fallen out of copyright up for free.
There is a lot of crap to sort through, but there are diamonds in the rough to be found.
Go on a literary tour of cities that you travel to
Here’s an option which will delight travellers and history nerds alike.
Most cities have deep, literary imprints to them (especially older cities like Dublin, London and the like). I personally love to read books set in whichever city I’m currently travelling through.
If you’re heading somewhere new, look up some famous (or not so) authors who hail from the area. Read their books. Try to find out what their regular haunts were and check them out for yourself.
At the very least, check out the libraries in the area. They can be the most beautiful buildings and worth going to for the architecture alone, let alone their literary value.
Do you have any reading tips that you swear by?
If you like it, then you should stick a pin in it.