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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

If you’ve ever looked at your daily or weekly screen time on your phone, you understand the wave of embarrassment that comes when the numbers are higher than anticipated. Being “chronically online” is a term coined by Gen-Z and millennials for the absurd amount of hours spent mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, watching YouTube videos, and checking text messages.

In an effort to decrease my overall screen time on my phone, I replaced any unnecessary phone usage with reading books – physical paper books, not audiobooks. At the beginning of 2023, I set a reading goal via Goodreads to read 45 books this year. Without the persistent routine phone checks, I was likely able to read more than I would have if I hadn’t cut my phone time. This means no devices at meals or for the first hour after waking up, as well as carrying a book with me for waiting rooms and other time-consuming spaces. I began to feel more present in the mornings when I read at breakfast and highlighted lines that resonated with me (yes I write in my books). Books were flying off my to-be-read shelf and onto my read one. I’d gotten into the groove of reading as a habit and a hobby, sitting outside in the sun or in my bed with a cup of tea. 

I’m not claiming that my screen time went down 8+ hours magically, but it did improve now that I felt the impulse to check my phone less. I love the stack of books that I’ve accumulated this year and lining them strategically along my shelf. My advice for people who aren’t big book readers or want to read more is to explore the genres you like. You don’t have to read a “classic” novel or 700-page saga to prove something, just follow your interests and the books will stack up. After initiating the reading goal in replacement of screen time, reading during any hour of the day became a hobby for me. It no longer feels like a swap but a healthy balance of literature and social media. 

My go-to book genres are memoir, celebrity biography, self-help, and fiction. It’s always a great idea to support local bookstores in-person or online when book shopping. Bookshop.org is a website that connects readers with independent bookstores from across the country.


At the time of writing this, I am currently on book 33 of 45 and still have a little ways to go. The memoir I’m currently reading is Know My Name by Chanel Miller; an incredible and poignant story of Chanel’s experience with sexual assault in the People v. Turner case. Her writing is visceral and every word is powerfully chosen with intention. Other favorites that I’ve read this year are Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (loved this one) and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. There are currently 162 books on my to-be-read list (ambitious of me) and I hope to read Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll and Down the Drain by Julia Fox by the end of this year!

Gianna Aceto is a student at the University of Central Florida majoring in Integrative General Studies with focuses on Entertainment Management and Visual Arts. Her interests include photography, entertainment and writing. The topics she is most passionate about covering are mental health, entertainment and lifestyle.