Easy Ways to Sneak in More Reading

Does the following sound familiar?

 

When you were younger, you were an absolute bookworm. I’m talking staying up past your bedtime in elementary or middle school to read what happened next in “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer or “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. Is Bella going to kiss Jacob? Please lord, let Bella kiss Jacob! (Obviously, I was Team Jacob. Sorry not sorry.) Is Hazel Grace going to die?? Ahhh! You just had to know what was going to happen next and nothing was going to stop you from reading to find out.

 

Suddenly, you wake up and you’re a junior in college and you can’t remember when the last time you read for fun was. There are plenty of reasons for this— you’re reading hundreds of pages for school, you’re busy with your sports team and you can’t find enough time to sleep, let alone read for fun. I get it. I woke up one day a few weeks ago and thought to myself, Why don’t I read anymore? I used to love reading. What happened? Life happened. However, that’s not a good enough excuse anymore. I miss that feeling of getting emotionally invested in the characters and laughing so hard I have to pause. Or crying so dramatically that my tears land on the pages (John Green, I’m looking at you.) I was determined to find ways to read books again and I am happy to report that I have. If you want to return to your middle school bookworm ways, keep reading for three ways to make it happen!

 

1.) Audiobooks

Some of you might already be thinking, Listening to a book is not the same as reading a book. Maybe not. There’s no denying, however, that it’s an efficient way to consume stories without having to change anything about your current schedule. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk to school and 20 minutes back. That’s 40 minutes every weekday that I now dedicate to listening to an audiobook. Some books I’ve listened to are four hours long while others are nine or ten. Don’t let that scare you. 20 minute increments add up to 40 minute increments which add up to 160 minute increments and so on. You can potentially knock out a book in a week if you dedicate your daily commute to listening to a book. Also, the great thing about audiobooks is that you can speed up or slow down the reader’s pace to fit your preference.

headphones jamming GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

You can purchase audiobooks or, even better, you can check them out from the library. Be sure to sign up for a library card with your city and download the app “Libby.” There, you can browse through thousands of options for audiobooks (and digital books) and download them right to your phone. Despite what I thought, the libraries don’t offer unlimited access to a title. They might only have six copies of an audiobook which means only six people can listen to that book at a time. A popular title, such as “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo for example, might have a waiting list a month or two long. Yikes, I know. As soon as it becomes available, it appears on your “library shelf.” It reminds me of Christmas when I wake up and see the book I’ve been waiting for is finally mine to listen to. Yes, you might have to wait. But it’s free.

 

2.) Make it part of your nighttime routine

Brush teeth? Check. Cozy under the blankets? Check. Open up favorite book and wind down with some reading? Check.

spa night dance GIF by Much

Another way to sneak in some reading is to establish it as part of your bedtime ritual. After you’ve brushed your teeth, washed your face, taken a shower and done all that good stuff, grab your book and take it to bed with you. Reading for even 20 minutes every night will allow you to enjoy stories again. Also, it will help you relax and slow down your mind which is ideal for a good night’s sleep. I used to scroll on my phone for 20 minutes at the end of the day and I know you know that that makes it harder to fall asleep. Ditch that nasty habit and replace it with a better one. I’ve been doing this every day and I finish one book every three or four weeks. It’s not the fastest method, seeing as how I am only reading a few minutes a day. By the time the year ends, though, I will have read a dozen books just by sneaking it in at night. Compare that to my usual zero books per year and you can see the improvement.

 

3.) Book club

Lastly, include your friends in your pursuit of more books.

marge simpson smoking GIF

Over the summer, my friends and I created a makeshift, not-so-organized but nevertheless oh-so-fun book club. Each member had a turn to choose the assigned book. The first one was “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. We’d meet every two or three weeks to discuss our thoughts and opinions on the story. We talked, ate, drank and enjoyed each other’s company. The club ended up fizzing out after only three books because everyone’s schedule was very different, but it was such a great way for me to start reading again. I realized that if I am assigned a number of pages to read with a deadline, I will find the time to do the reading. Some people need deadlines. I’m one of them. Maybe you are too.

You can make a book club with your friends, but make sure everyone is committed and that your schedules match fairly well. You can also search for an established book club on websites such as meetup.com and join in on one that already exists. Goodreads.com is a great website if you want to join one online if that’s better for your schedule.

 

Happy reading!