How to Read More Books (as a College Student)

At the beginning of last summer, I looked up from my Netflix binge-watching and realized that the only books I had read the whole semester were for class. As the girl who would count down the days to the Scholastic Book Fair in elementary school, this realization was so surprising! And it made me sad. I had let my love of reading for fun be squashed by my busy college schedule. Right then, I decided that I would figure out how to read more books as a college student. (Spoiler: I did!)

Photo By Cassidy Woodward

  1. 1. Download an eBook App

    I know, I know, I said I was going to help you read more and the first thing I say is to pull out your phone but trust me here. The main thing that allowed me to go from reading 0 fun books during the school year to 6 in a semester (!!!) was downloading both the Kindle app and the Libby app. The Libby app allows you to check out ebooks and audiobooks from any library that you have a card with (tip: you can get a Malibu library card!) I’m a book purist usually, but having ebooks on my phone allowed me to read way more and have a book constantly at my fingertips, which is worth giving up the feel of a book in my hands. But only for right now.

  2. 2. Don’t read books you think you “should” read. Read what you want to read.

    I spent a lot of time trying to sludge my way through books that I thought I was supposed to read, but the problem with that was that it never felt fun. It felt like a chore or homework, so I never wanted to do it. If you want to read more, then read what you enjoy reading and you’ll be so much more likely to reach for your book instead of for Netflix or social media! I figured out that I really enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s books like “Big Little Lies” and “What Alice Forgot,” and I’m a sucker for a good rom-com book. Don’t genre shame yourself! Read fluffy books that feel like a piece of pumpkin pie if you want. You’re reading, and that’s what’s important!

  3. 3. Put down books when you don’t like them.

    This is a bit of an extension of 2, but if you don’t like a book, don’t punish yourself and keep reading it! There are too many amazing books in the world to finish one that you don’t like. Give it 50-70 pages or so to see if you can get into it, and ditch it after that if you aren’t feeling it. Maybe one day you’ll come back and pick it up and love it, but it’s okay if now isn’t the time for that particular book.

  4. 4. Try to grab your book at times when you would normally reach for social media.

    At the shuttle stop waiting for the consistently late Wave Shuttle! In the 4 minutes before class starts! In the 4 minutes after class starts when no one has shut up yet! In bed at night! There are so many small moments throughout the day where you might normally go on social media, but if you open your book (or your ebook app!) instead, those minutes will definitely add up.

  5. 5. Don’t be afraid to try audiobooks

    I personally have found that I can only do audiobooks if they’re non-fiction, but I love listening to memoirs like Lauren Graham’s “Talking as Fast as I Can” on audiobooks. I listen while I’m filing at work, while I’m walking to class, while I’m driving. If you’re not a hugely visual person or like to wear headphones to block out the people around you (I get it), audiobooks are an awesome option, and guess what? They still count as reading!

  6. 6. Keep a reading log

    I love using Goodreads to keep track of the books that I’ve read and the ones that I want to read. It makes me feel so accomplished to mark that I’ve finished a book, and it’s super fun to look back on all the books you’ve read over the years. Plus, marking which books you want to read in the future means as soon as you finish that first book, you’re ready to grab your next one!

Mostly, remember that it doesn’t matter what you’re reading, where you’re reading, or how many books you’re marking off, but that you’re reading what you enjoy and that you’re reading more than you were before. Hope you find lots of books that you don’t want to put down, and happy reading!