This year, I want to read more books. Until 2021, this had merely been one of my New Year’s resolutions that never came to fruition.
Weirdly enough, I was a self-confessed bookworm as a kid. From elementary to high school, I was a persistent contender for Top Library Book Borrowers. There were weeks when I chose to buy books over food in college. But eventually, adulthood got in the way; and sooner than later, I started averaging just three books a year.
During the pandemic, I got back to the habit of reading. And, it wasn’t so hard after all! Although I’ve come to accept that I’ll never return to my elementary-level reading speed, I’m happier now that I can confront books without feeling so overwhelmed.
If reading more books is one of your resolutions, too, then welcome to the club of hopefuls. Here are some tips on reading more books in 2022 — from one busy and tired adult to another.
Tips on how to read more books in 2022
Start slow, start small
Thick books can be daunting, especially when you haven’t picked one up in a while. If you feel intimidated, then start with short story collections, essays, or novellas. Sometimes, it just takes a shorter book to grease the wheels. And once you finish it, you might find the courage to start the thicker book you’ve been meaning to read.
Spend more time reading
In most cases, you don’t want to read more books — you just want to read more. So spend more time reading. Carve 20 minutes out of your day to prop open a book. Don’t even think about when you’ll finish it. With this, you’ll experience less pressure and more leisure.
Trade a habit you want to break
Say you want to spend less time on social media. Or perhaps you feel like you’re spending too much time binge-watching shows on Netflix. You can easily use even half of that time reading instead.
Pick up a book you love
Books are like music, and everyone has different tastes. If you want to jumpstart your reading habit, you must identify what you enjoy instead of forcing uninteresting books on yourself. Do you love romance novels? Then, by all means, pick one up! You can continuously diversify your list once you’ve built the habit of reading.
Put bad books down
In a similar vein, coercing yourself to finish books will only slow you down. If a book doesn’t serve you, there is no shame in giving it up. You don’t want reading to become a chore.
On this note, you must also be wary of quitting a book prematurely. Some stories only grow more interesting a hundred pages in. Others — especially when they’re a genre you’re not used to — take time to seep in, but will eventually be worth the patience. I prefer giving books a chance until I reach the quarter mark. If I still hate the book by then, I allow myself to move on.
Explore more genres
When I broke my habit of reading, I was transitioning outside of young adult fiction. Then, I thought I had lost my passion for reading; but the reality was, I just needed a new genre. When I finally found the right genre for me, I started appreciating books again.
Lucky for us, there are endless genres to choose from. There’s fiction, poetry, memoirs, essays, et cetera. Under these are even more subgenres, like contemporary fiction, mystery, historical fiction, romance, and speculative fiction. And nowadays, authors are becoming more experimental, and genres are crossing over one another. So don’t be afraid of exploring.
Check out book recommendations
Not sure what book to read first? Try searching for book recommendations on Google, Reddit, YouTube, or Goodreads. These sites have fascinating book lists for every mood, season, and goal (e.g. Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once). Your local bookstore sites, like Fully Booked, may also have curated book recommendations for you.
Personally, I like to look through the book lists of my favourite authors. The books they enjoyed most likely have influenced their styles, so I believe they’re always worth looking into.
Explore other formats
I get the appeal of physical books. They’re pleasant to smell, highlight, and flip through. But in this age, we need more open-mindedness. Sometimes, ebooks and audiobooks work more efficiently; ebooks are truly the best for travels and late-night reads; audiobooks let you read while cooking, driving, and doing other chores. Once we accept this, we might find ourselves reading more books in no time.
Maintain a reading list
By keeping track of the books you’ve read, you’ll have a better idea of what interests you. It also makes the experience more exciting, as you’ll want to expand your list with more books. There are several ways to keep a reading list: You can go the traditional way with a journal or Google Sheets or log your reads on mobile apps such as Goodreads and StoryGraph.
Join a community
Accountability is king, especially when it comes to habit-forming. Not only will fellow bookworms inspire you to read more books, but they’ll also provide you with fresh perspectives and food for thought. Rest assured, your reading experience will be more enriching after discussing books with other readers.
Whereas book clubs are the traditional way to go, nowadays, there are several bookish communities you can join: BookTube (YouTubers), Bookstagram (Instagrammers), and Facebook groups are just some great digital places to start.
As with all New Year’s resolutions, building the habit of reading more books requires commitment and patience. With these two locked in, you best believe this is the year you will read more books.