If you can believe it, we’re already SIX days into 2021. If it’s anything like 2020, this year is going to fly by. Since it’s still early in the year, we figured we’d hit you with some hot reading tips right out of the gate that are sure to help you meet your 2021 My Book Pledge goals!
Listen to audiobooks while doing chores/exercising
Audiobooks have been my best friend for a long, long time. Back when I was facing a 90-minute commute to work (remember when we were able to leave the house?) that began each day at 6:30am, I would pop on an audiobook, close my eyes, and drift into the world of whatever book it was that I was listening to. And you know what? I had never read more! At the Savvy Reader, we believe that all forms of reading are equal, and audiobooks are certainly no exception to that rule. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea and it might take some time for you to find one that you really get into, but they are such a useful tool to help us read while we’re busy with other tasks!
Carve out a specific time each day to read
Throughout the pandemic, I often found myself wanting to read, but being unable to do so. I would sit down to read each day, but I’d get distracted after 10 pages and call it quits. To remedy this over the holiday break, I set a reminder in my phone each evening at 9:00pm to sit down, turn off all of the worldly distractions, stop doomscrolling, grab a book, and read. And you know what? It worked! In these very bizarre times we find ourselves in, I found that setting up a regimen and sticking to it is exactly what I needed to get back into the swing of things.
Commit to read for a certain amount of time every day
Speaking of my reading schedule, I also forced myself to read for a certain amount of time! Instead of quitting after ten minutes, I would set a timer on my phone for exactly 60 minutes and made a promise to myself that I would not check my phone (or, even worse, Twitter… *shudder*) until the timer stopped. More often than not, I’d end up reading for longer than 60 minutes, but having that benchmark there really helped me read more than I had all year.
Make reading a communal activity
This is a really fun one! Reading is always seen as an isolated thing, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a family, try reading books together! If you have younger children, reading a book aloud as a family is a very fun task that everyone can contribute to, especially if family members can play different characters! And, of course, if you’re in a book club, try going digital and hosting Zoom book clubs. A super fun Zoom book club activity I have done is to choose a book, pair it with a recipe or two, and host the book club meeting via Zoom (or Skype, FaceTime or whatever video chat tech you use!) and dedicate a portion of the meeting to a fun little recipe show-off.
Read before bed instead of watching TV
It’s common knowledge that being in front of a screen before bed negatively affects our ability to sleep, so why not swap a screen for the page? Personally, I find that reading before bed helps me calm down and clear my head of all of the stresses and anxiety of the day. The only downside to reading before bed is that you might end up staying up way past your bedtime. One more chapter, right? 😉
Don’t be afraid to put down a book you’re not liking
To some readers, there is a desire to finish every single thing they pick up, whether they like it or not. I’m not one of those readers. I typically give a book 50 to 60 pages to catch my interest. If it doesn’t, I set it down and move onto something else. Life is too short to read books that you don’t like. But, here’s another point! Remember the books that you’ve put down. I can’t even count the number of times that I set a book down, only to come to it a couple months later and absolutely devour it. Just because you’re not into it right now doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like it; it might just mean you’re not ready for it yet.
Read what you want!
There are a lot of ways to discover new books, but you know what the best way to read more is? Reading what you want to read! Don’t read something that doesn’t interest you just because someone else says you have to read it. At the end of the day, it’s your choice. If you tailor your reading list to your own interests, I guarantee you’ll read a ton of great books!
Do what you need to!
Listen, at the end of the day, no two readers are the same. This advice – and, to be honest, all of the advice floating around out there – might not work for everyone. So we’ll leave you with this: the very best way to make the most of your reading experience this year is to find a routine that works for you and your schedule. The great thing about reading is that you don’t have to answer to anyone else except yourself. So, as long as your content with what you were able to accomplish by December 31st, that’s a huge success in our eyes!