Confession: I have always enjoyed reading books. Growing up, and even today, it doesn’t take much for me to pick up a book instead of watching TV or browsing the web. Another confession: sometimes I’ll use my lunch break to sit in my car and read my book – I consider it my time to decompress and take time for myself. Anyway, when I was younger I was that student who would read a book in the middle of class in school and who could finish one book in a day during school vacations (I may or may not have finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after it was released in one sitting…). Some of the tips I talk about below may work for you, and some may not. I wanted to share them though, in case they do help make reading more enjoyable for you.
Always have a book handy // Given that I carry a rather large purse to and from work every day, a paperback or hardcover copy of a book generally fits in my purse. Otherwise, I have the Nook for Barnes & Noble app, the Libby app, and the Kindle app for Amazon on my phone. Now, I won’t go so far as to read a book on my phone while I’m out with friends/family/my boyfriend, but if I have a few minutes of waiting either for a metro, at a doctor’s office, or the like, I’ll open an app to read a few minutes here and there, or pull out my headphones to listen to an audiobook. The Libby app by Overdrive is helpful to have on my phone because it allows me to listen to audiobooks I’ve rented and downloaded from my local library. On commutes to and from work or while running errands around town, I tend to listen to audiobooks as opposed to music.
Pick a book you think you’ll enjoy // As obvious as this tip sounds, it’s the truth. The glorious thing about reading as an adult is that, unless you’re in graduate school or your job makes you read a lot of books for work, you can read anything that piques your interest on your own schedule. If you know that you enjoy reading murder mysteries or science fiction novels, there is nothing wrong with reading more of those, as long as it gets you reading. Along this same vein, I am a believer that it is okay to put down a book if you have given it a fair chance and it is not keeping you engaged. Now how many pages is a “fair chance” depends on the reader, but I give it at least a few chapters before deciding whether or not to continue or put it down in lieu of another book.
Learn where to get books for free (or almost free) // A common misconception is that to read, you have to buy all of your books in hardcover or paperback form from Barnes & Noble or Amazon or similar places. I borrow 95% of the books I read from the local library, even digital copies. Sure, you don’t get to keep library books when you’re done with them, but a girl’s gotta save money wherever she can. My next favorite place to get books are from the Nook Book Deals section of Barnes & Noble’s website. They often have recently-released books to download to your Nook or Nook app for seriously reduced prices. Finally, I am a sucker for a used bookstore. There are a couple of good ones in the DC area that I can’t help but pop into whenever I’m around them, and usually can’t resist buying a book or two.
Read before bed // One of my favorite times to read is before bed. According to research, it is better for your eyes right before bed than staring at a phone/tablet/laptop screen. I have found that it also helps to calm my brain after a busy day. There are very few feelings better than climbing into bed in my pajamas with a candle burning on my nightstand table and getting to end a busy work day, or even relaxing weekend, than with a good book. Before bed is a great time to build in some reading time, even if your goal is only to read five pages at a time.
Set a goal for yourself // Setting a feasible goal to achieve anything makes you more likely to want to work towards something, like reading more. A way that I set reading goals for myself is by using the site Goodreads, where you can set a yearly reading challenge goal and keep track of books you’ve read towards that goal by marking them as “read” on the site. I treat my reading challenge goal the same way I do my to-do lists – it feels good to cross off items on my to-do lists, and it feels good to read one more book that gets me closer to my goal.
There are so many other useful tips out there that could help make reading easier and more enjoyable for some people, but these are some of the basic ones that have helped me throughout the years, especially recently as a busy young professional!