On LifeTalk about books

10 tips on how to read more books

The famous quote by Frank Zappa “So many books, so little time” might be the most popular saying among book lovers. A busy schedule, post-book hangovers and lack of inspiration are some of the reasons why we are not reading as much as we would like, that’s why I compiled this list with 10 tips and resources to read more books (or die trying).

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1. Get DailyLit

DailyLit is a website that sends you short installments of literary classics to your inbox so you can read in your phone without downloading the whole book (perfect if you wanted to read The Count of Monte Cristo without actually carrying the 1200+ pages mastodon in your bag). This service is free, you just provide your email to create an account and you can start searching the catalog full of free books by authors like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Jules Verne as well as contemporary novels by new authors. DailyLit offers a great opportunity to those who want to read more classics but are discouraged by the huge size or are concerned about getting rapidly bored. Here you just open your daily email and read for 10-15 minutes every day.

2. Download Audible

Audible is an audiobook service by Amazon. Here you cand find a large selection of audiobooks from any category and download it to your phone or tablet so you can listen at the gym, while you run around the park or during your daily commute. If you want to try this service you can sign up anytime and get your first audiobook for free (just remember to cancel your membership at the end of the month so you don’t get charged for the next month – they’ll let you keep the free book!).
3. Make a to-be-read list

This one might seem obvious but I have learned that having a TBR list helps me recover from a book hangover way faster. Take all the books on your list that you were planning on starting (-like two years ago-) and pile them together in a visible place. That way you’ll be ready to take one as soon as you finish your current book (and MAYBE while you behold the ever-increasing TBR pile you’ll start working on your shelves’ read/unread ratio).

4. Read more than one book at a time

Have you read a book that you really wanted to finish but you got stuck in that chapter or in the middle of that boring never-ending scene? (-Who is John Galt’s speech?-) Reading multiple books allows you to jump into another one when you lose the inspiration to keep reading. The trick here is to combine different genres and sizes, if you are reading a big non-fiction book about science combine it with a light comedy fiction. If your hardcover of Don Quixote won’t fit in your purse (or the prose is too much some days), read The Time Machine or Rossum’s Universal Robots, both are short science fiction reads that you won’t easily mix with the region of La Mancha.

5. Look for inspiration

Sometimes it’s not that we don’t have the time or that we lack resources, it’s simply the absence of inspiration to start reading. You can love reading but maybe other activities are getting in the way (and with other activities I mean checking social networks and watching videos of puppies learning to walk -you’re welcome-). There’s a cure for that, though. I love following book-centered accounts on my social networks so they will load my timelines with book news, reviews and pretty images. If you are in need of some bookspiration I recommend checking out some of these accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube:

6. Join Goodreads

If following strangers on social media wasn’t enough to make you read, you could join Goodreads and add your friends to follow each other and look at their TBR lists, favorite books and shared book quotes. This service is completely free and is compatible with Facebook and Kindle. Goodreads also offers thousands of book reviews written and voted by the users, annual book challenges and lists of recommendations on different themes.

7. Download the Kindle app 

If you don’t have a reading tablet but you have a smartphone, tablet or computer, this app is what you are missing in your life. The Kindle app can be used in almost any device, it’s free to download and it can sync between devices to keep your bookmarks and highlights. The Kindle catalog is almost as complete as Amazon’s itself, offers all the best-sellers at competitive prices and has a catalog of classic books going from $0 to $1. I use Kindle for desktop to read during my lunch break sometimes and also have the app on my phone in case of an emergency (looking at you, dentist’s waiting room).

8. Make a routine

Now, this one might seem like the most trite advice but hear me out, have you ever been in your bed all cozy and then remember that you forgot to brush your teeth? And then you hated yourself because you had to get out of bed to brush your teeth or it would be impossible to sleep? (-I hope I’m not alone on this-). The same happens when you are regular at the gym and then stop going, or when you watch a show every day after school and then they cancel it. Routine makes us comfortable and gives us control of something, go read every day or every other day, but do it. Always before bed, always on your way home, on your ten minutes before class starts or during your lunch break. If you power through the first few days the rest will be easy.

9. Get a subscription box

If you, like me, have a large pile of unread books and stare at them while thinking “I have nothing to read” we might have a lot in common. The best way to cope with this reading bump is to find a way to create a connection with a book and with other readers. You could join a book club (or create your own!), this will give you a deadline to finish the book and will generate interesting conversations and it’s also a great way to make new friends with the same interests. If you don’t have the means to join a traditional book club, you could get a subscrption box. If you subscribe to one of these services they’ll send you a surprise book and bookish goodies every month, which later you can discuss with other subscribers that got the same book. You can check UPPERCASEOwl Crate and The Book Drop if you are interested in getting some book mail.

10. Make the most of your idle time

In engineering idle time is synonym of non-productive time, a.k.a waste. I’m a firm believer that time enjoyed was not wasted, but more often than not we spend idle time checking our phone or watching netflix just to fill out the gaps between activities. With a little help from the resources mentioned above you can make the most of your free time (and your non-thinking time). You can listen to Audiobooks or Youtube book reviews while washing the dishes, running on the treadmill or driving. You can read on your computer while eating your lunch or take out your phone during a long line at the grocery store and read a couple of pages. You can make it a routine to read one chapter of a book while drinking your breakfast smoothie and I promise that the next time you get to a bookstore you’ll recognize all the best-seller covers from all the bookish accounts on your social networks.

And that’s it. Hopefully some of these tips will help you achieve your reading goals, are there any other resources you would recommend? Let me know in the comments 🙂!

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