Elizabeth Entenman
How many books do you read per year? Chances are, it’s not nearly as many as you’d like. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to up your reading intake. Like with any habit, once you form a reading routine and stick with it. Try these seven helpful tips to read more books and conquer your reading challenge.
Divide and conquer
Devoting a small amount of time to reading every day adds up quickly. Set a goal for how many pages you want to read per day—say, 20. At that rate, by the end of the week, you’ll be at least 100 pages into your book. For an even bigger challenge, divide the number of pages in a book by how quickly you want to finish it. Let’s say you want to read a 350-page book in a week.
Take an online challenge
As with New Year’s resolutions or other big lifestyle changes and goals, setting an intention publicly often helps you stick to it. Read-a-thons, book clubs, and other online book communities like Goodreads can help hold you accountable to meeting your reading goals. Once you set a reading goal with Goodreads, the site will tell you if you’re ahead, behind, or right on track to meet it. Plus, as Goodreads learns your tastes and preferences, it’ll recommend new titles based on your literary tastes.
Keep a book on you at all times
You have more downtime than you might think. Sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office? Pick up your book. Stuck at the DMV? Dive back into your story. Waiting for your kids to get out of school? Read, read, read. If you only reach for your book during long interrupted stretches of time, you’re missing out. When you maximize the quiet moments in your day, you’ll be surprised by how many extra pages you can squeeze in.
Read shorter books
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it may not have occurred to you. What’s the fastest way to read more books? Read shorter books! There’s no shame in choosing concise, digestible titles. If you want to read more books, browse short story anthologies, essay collections, and poetry books. They’re also great for readers with short attention spans. Or, try alternating lengths between reads: one long book, one short book.
Don’t be afraid to put down a book
While it’s admirable to want to finish every single book you pick up, it’s not necessary. Why bother finishing a book if it’s not your taste? It’s OK to be picky about how you spend your reading time. If you’re not enjoying a book, pass it to a friend and move onto the next title. When you’re passionate about what you’re reading, you’ll be much more likely to devote time to it. —Real Simple