Being a bookstagrammer and a bookish blogger, reading basically becomes a job. Of course it’s a job I do with passion and love, but I still had to make some changes when I started my career as a book reviewer. I have to bring content often to my audience in order to grow, so I have to read a lot of books.
I was a reader even before bookstagram, but I didn’t really pay attention to how much I was reading. Not until I found myself in the bookish community. 📚
Some of my friends are always surprised about how much I can read. Even more at the time when we had to stay home. I usually read around 50 books a year, which is roughly a book every week.
In today’s post, I thought I will share with you my TOP advices to help you read more books! Let’s begin!
1.Set a daily reading goal
Setting goals is the best way to motivate you to read. Especially if you are very competitive, like me. Challenging yourself is a great way to step out of your comfort zone. Not just with reading, but in every aspect of your life. When you are making a challenge out of tasks they start to feel more like a game where you have to score as much as possible.
On Goodreads (check it out here) you can set a reading goal every year and then track your books and ratings as you go on with the months. I usually set my goal for 50. That’s the amount of books that I love to read. With this number, I don’t feel like I’m rushing through books, but enjoy them and I am still able to be “productive” in terms of reading.
If you register to goodreads or you already have your account click here to find mine and let’s be friends! ☺️ I always like to make new bookish friends!
2.Join the reading community or a book club
Reading doesn’t have to be a lonely hobby. Quite opposite! There are so many great books in this world and they can be so thought provoking that after you close one, you might find yourself in the situation of wanting to discuss every little piece of it with someone.
Tell me if this situation is familiar to you:
You just closed the possible best read of the year. It was full of twists, action, feelings not to mention the great characters, and the freakin hot love interest! Now you just want to live in that world for the rest of your life, but we all know this is not possible. (Yet! Let’s hope someone will give us a solution!)
So in order to feel like that at least a little you are part of that story, you start rambling about it to your best friend.
But they didn’t read the book.
They don’t understand how the magic works, and why are they sending tons of kids to kill each other, and who is that guy that died, but then it actually turned out he was just acting so he could help the protagonist and fell in love with her, but actually died before they had their first kiss?
So simply, what the heck?
In the end you realize that no one really understands your love for the story that you just read, so you give up trying to live in that beautiful world after reading about.
Now, when you join the bookish community, you instantly find at least one (but most likely TONS of) people who share the love for the same book. You can talk about it as much as you want, and here is the best part: They will understand you!
The other great thing about having bookish friends and joining the community is, that they will share great books that are worth reading and they will motivate the heck out of you. They will hold you accountable and make sure you achieve your reading goals. And you can have buddies read or read along so you read the same book at the same time with a bunch of other people. You can experience all the wonderful stories at the same time.
3.Read with buddies
This is so important and fun that I had to make a separate paragraph for it to talk a little more.
I’ve done buddy reads and was part of book clubs since I joined the bookish community and this helped me to discover new things which I didn’t necessarily liked (for example Peter Pan that I’ve read with a Hungarian bookstagrammer @konyvek.fuggosegeben or Fairest of All with a book club I was a member of) or fantastic “new” authors like Neil Gaiman or Stephen King (with @annathejournalingarchitecht).
I love doing buddy reads and seeing the story from another person’s perspective. Other people like to concentrate on different things. They would be more interested in a side character’s development, than the descriptions in the book which you are super picky about.
I highly recommend buddy reads for book reviewers. It’s easier to write a great review, since you can basically see into two (or more) people’s opinions. That will give your reader a more detailed and professional review about the book and they can decide more easily whether they would like that book or not.
4.Set a daily goal
Life is really busy in the era we live in. In the time of social media, Netflix series and everyday happenings, reading can be put aside easily, without realization.
Prepare for reading! Think about your day and put reading into it. When you imagine how you are going to do your tasks through the day, find “blind” spots and fit your book in. Or you can also set a daily target goal which can be a time based goal or page based, whichever works the best for you.
5.Make a habit out of it!
When I first decided to read everyday my goal was only to sit down and read. It didn’t matter for how long or how many pages. I just wanted to read even for five minutes, half a page. The point was not to read a lot, but to read. That’s it.
Often when we start building habits we try to pick up so many of them all at once that it becomes impossible to deal with every single one of them on a daily basis. You will just get overwhelmed when you try to do that, and ditch your habits in the garbage.
If you want to know more about habit building check out this post: How to build habits that’ll actually stick.
So the first thing you should focus on is to create the habit. Just get used to opening a book every single day. After you have that, you can challenge yourself and set a reading goal we’ve talked about in the previous paragraph.
Remember! It takes 30 days to build a habit, 90 days to build a lifestyle. Skipping one day doesn’t mean you ditched the habit, life happens sometimes, just make sure you don’t quit!
“It takes 30 days to build a habit, 90 days to build a lifestyle.”
6.Cross out “Face” from Facebook (replace you phone time with reading)
We are spending an insane amount of time on our phone which is not a surprise in the times we live in where the easiest and fastest way to connect is through social media. Not to mention how these platforms are making themselves more and more addictive. In the beginning it can be a real challenge for some people to actually choose books over Instagram scrolling. (Now that I mention it. Have you checked out my Instagram? It’s @carmenwrites_ give it a look! But then go and read!😂)
If you really want to read more books, you will have to make sacrifices. Like reducing your screen time, which is actually really healthy, especially if you read a book instead.
I think whenever I’m going through tough times I always have a book to keep me entertained. I really think escaping reality is good for your mental health. Life is so overwhelming for all of us at times and wouldn’t you want to curl up with a book and just read all day?
Yep, me too.
7.Read in the morning/night
People like to say that picking up the phone in the morning, or using it before bedtime is harmful in many ways for you. I’m not a saint, I also do this because I don’t have time for reading in the morning when I have to rush to school, and I usually still check some things on my phone before I try to sleep, even though I was also reading in the bed.
But it is true that when we had to stay home a lot, those two times were the most common when I was reading. I love starting my day with reading, so although I’m not reading in bed anymore, I like to read on the bus on the way to school. Reading also helps me sleep so it’s great at night.
If you are struggling with finding time to read, consider these two phases of the day. I can tell you as a person who had their habits in these two times (and hoping I can get back to it during summer) that these are just the best.
8.Always have a book with you
I always keep a book with me. Even in the gym, I take photos of the pages that I’m reading so I can look at it while I’m doing cardio for example. The only time when I don’t have a book is when I shouldn’t be distracted by it.
Master the skill of reading anywhere, that’s key to reading more books! Life is busy, we go to different places all day, so you might not be able to read that much in your cozy reading corner you created just for this purpose.
I can read on the bus, read in the mall, even in the gym. Reading can be done anywhere and everywhere in my opinion. You just have to practice and solve problems. For example if it annoys you to read in a noisy place, bring headphones with you. Adapt to the situation and read even for a couple of minutes if you can.
9.Create your reading environment
On the other hand, if you are not able to read anywhere you go, create your environment. Maybe it’s inspiring for you to read with books around you. You can either go to your local library, or create your own at home.
I get it that you might need an aesthetic place to set the mood for reading. I think on some level we all like to imagine ourselves like the main character who reads in a beautiful library in a really cute (but definitely uncomfortable) posture while the sun shines through the window making the whole room look like gold.
See? I get it! If you need this, you can totally do it! The most important thing is to experiment and find out what works the best for you!
10.Get a library card
Let’s be real. Books can be expensive, especially if you decide to read a lot. Buying a book every week might not be that affordable for you. A great way to solve this issue is to get a library card!
Personally I’m not a library gal, because I like to have my own stuff and my goal is to grow my own library, but a lot of people are bookstagrammers with books from libraries! Plus you can have that reading atmosphere I’ve talked about in the previous paragraph. Sitting in the library, reading books is just the ideal scenery for a bookworm.
Also, since you have a deadline for when you have to return the book, you are going to be more motivated to finish it in time!
11.Join reading challenges
Speaking about deadlines and motivation, reading challenges are a great way to keep you going and make sure you are reading more! The internet is filled with these challenges and you can join them any time! You might have to read a certain amount of pages for a specific period of time, or it might challenge you to try a genre you never did before!
Since I’m very competitive, these challenges always help me to achieve my reading goals for the year. I did a 24 hours reading once which was actually really good. I spent the whole day reading, getting lost in worlds and just enjoying that I don’t have to hurry anywhere. It was only me and my books.
During this time I finished one book, read 2 whole books and started a fourth one, so I definitely recommend this for everyone to try it once!
12.Keep a reading journal, or a reading tracker in your Bullet Journal
As I always like to mention, it is essential to keep track of the things we do, so the progress is more visible. You might not even realize how much you are reading. When you are reading a long book, the only thing you can think about is that you still haven’t finished it, although you’ve been reading 50+ pages daily.
Reading journal is great for a lot of things. You can write your current reads in it (if you are reading multiple books), you can also keep track of the number of pages you’ve read or you can write down your favorite quotes and even your review of the book.
This is how I keep my reading log in my Bullet Journal.
13.Close the book if you don’t enjoy it
This is something I’ve been struggling to do myself, so it’s also an advice I have to take. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to leave a book unfinished and I fight my way through it even though I absolutely hate it and it’s boring to me. But because of this it’s way harder to get myself to read.
We all just have to accept it. There are bad books in this world and there are going to be books that you don’t enjoy. That’s how it works and we just have to move on. If you don’t like a certain type of food you are not going to force it down on your throat, are you?
It’s the same with books. There can be tons of reasons why you didn’t like it and there is also a chance that you will pick it up in the future and it’s going to become your favorite!
14.Read short, fast paced books
I hear all the time from people who don’t like to read, that their biggest problem is that a book is too boring for them. This is understandable since Netflix is just a click away and a lot of times it’s easier to binge watch a series with all of the impulses you get from it than to sit down and imagine the book for yourself.
Also big books can be scary for a lot of people. Reading short and fast paced books will help you get into the habit of reading and sooner or later, you’ll find yourself reading longer and longer books as time goes by.
15.Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks are great when you are busy, but you would be able to multitask. For example when you are cooking or while walking, you can listen to an audiobook.
There are debates whether audiobooks can be considered as “reading”, but I feel like the content is still valuable and the literary language is reaching you, which is mostly the point of reading.
16.Write book reviews
Writing book reviews will hold you accountable for how much you are reading and it’s also a really fun activity to do.
I love writing book reviews both for my blog and for myself. This is why reading becomes a more complex activity, because I’m thinking about the content of the book. I analyze the different parts of it and I can also learn from it as a writer.
17.Find your genre and/or author you like to read from
You won’t ever find two people with the exact same taste in everything, so your bigger problem might be that you haven’t found your taste yet. Fortunately (and unfortunately for some of us) there are tons of books in this world, so you basically have an infinite amount of opportunities to choose from.
Experiment a little, try out different genres, different authors and I guarantee you that you will find what you enjoy the most.
That’s what I like to recommend to everyone, find how things will work out for you! Pick an activity or a habit and I’m sure that you are able to transform it into something that you enjoy. There are very few things that you can’t turn into something you enjoy. You just have to find out how to do it, so don’t ever be afraid of experimenting.
Recommendations on what to read:
So here you go! These were 17 tips on how to read more books and achieve your book reading challenge. I hope you found this post useful and you start implementing something from here, let me know if you do in the comments!
Also write down more tips you might have for the ones who would like to read more! Let’s support each other.