If you love to read, and you’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate more of this pleasure into your life, this post is for you. If not, please pass it by! My intention is not to make anyone feel guilty about the time they spend in other pleasurable pursuits – but if you want to spend more time enjoying books, I’ll share some of the techniques I use to build more reading time into my busy life.
Try listening to audiobooks
If you haven’t tried audiobooks, please give them a shot. I use the Audible app on my phone, and download books for listening in the car. I love to listen to books on long trips, but also on short ones – even the drive to and from work. Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to someone read to you. Two caveats: (1) before you buy, listen to the sample. Occasionally I can’t stand the narrator’s voice, which means the listening won’t be much fun. (2) there’s a danger of “zoning out” and realizing that you missed the last few minutes of the story because you were thinking about something else. If that happens, just backtrack a bit. You can always re-listen to favorites, too.
Try using an electronic reader
I use the Kindle app on my phone and on my iPad. You can purchase electronic books on Amazon and download them directly to your device, where they are always handy. This way, when I have to wait at the doctor’s office, or I’m early for a meeting, I can enjoy some reading time. Having books on your device is also handy for the gym, if you use the treadmill or stationery bike.
Read more than one book at a time
I know a lot of people who prefer to finish one book before starting another, but I look at it this way: You watch multiple TV series, right? So you’re getting a story in “installments,” and then watching other stories before you get the next one. Yet, if you are involved in these stories, you don’t get confused or forget them. Well, reading is the same way, at least for me. I can be reading one book on Kindle, listening to another on Audible, and have a third “real” (paper) book in the bathroom to read while I soak in the tub. Maybe there’s another on my nightstand. I like to mix it up. There’s no rule that says you have to read just one at a time – unless you want to. Which leads me to my next tip:
Switch up your genres
We all have our favorites, but reading can become tedious if you always read within the same genre. So I like to switch it up. After reading a long, ponderous tome, I’ll choose a fluffy romance next. I’ll alternate fiction and non-fiction. Once in a while I’ll choose a book that’s normally “not my type,” but looks interesting. So if you find yourself in a rut of reading nothing but sci-fi, or dystopian novels, or self-help books, try something different. It may renew your joy in reading.
Never let it become a chore
Reading (unless it’s for work or school) should never feel like something you “have” to do. If you ordinarily love to read, but have come to see it as a chore, take a breather. If this pleasurable activity ceases to bring you pleasure, go ahead and do something else that lights up your soul.