How to Find Time for Leisure Reading During the New Semester

For a dedicated reader, the new year often means it’s time to set that Goodreads reading goal. Whether you set your expectations way too high last year or you feel like creating an overly ambitious goal this year, it can be hard to find time to sit down and read a book you actually enjoy. Winter break was a great time for me to make some progress on my “to-read” list, but it’s hard to keep up that momentum when a new semester starts and I’m back to being committed to classes, extracurriculars, and college life in general. While it can definitely be hard to find the motivation for leisure reading, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay on track for that reading goal.

1.) Open yourself to new formats.

It’s fascinating how many different ways there are to read these days. Hard copies of books will always be the go-to for many people, but when life gets busy, it’s not always convenient to lug a book around with you. Audiobooks make a great source of entertainment if you’re on-the-go or are multitasking (and yes, listening counts as reading!). Ebooks are also a great way to keep your library in the palm of your hand, either by using apps on your tablet or your phone. My favorite discovery recently has been OverDrive, a program that partners with libraries to offer ebooks to borrow. The BPL offers ebooks, so all you need is your regular library card or an ebook library card to start borrowing.

2.) Read in short bursts.

It’s tempting to put off reading for when you have “more time,” but a future where I have more time for myself usually is a fantasy. Take advantage of some free minutes when you have them! Even when you’re on your commute, between classes, or ready to unwind before bed, it’s better to make some progress than to keep putting it off.

3.) Surround yourself with people who will motivate you.

Being in a group of people who are just as passionate about reading gets me excited to catch up on my reading list. Joining a young-adult book club on campus has definitely opened me up to new genres and has made me want to finish reading books so that I can discuss them with a whole group of people. Check out Lions Read YA here on campus if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, or find your own local book club opportunities or events at bookstores. Events like trivia nights and book signings help connect you to a community of readers.

4.) Read what you like, not what you think you should like.

If you’re reading a book on a topic you actually enjoy, you’ll be much more motivated to make time for yourself to read. If you’re reading a book just because you think you should, you might not like it and will just let it collect dust on your nightstand. Recommendations from friends are fun, but don’t feel pressured to read something just because someone else told you to!

Remember, reading for yourself should be fun, so make sure you’re reading for you and not just so you can look good for completing a goal. Happy reading!