“A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” —Neil Gaiman
It’s finally summertime!
I have a lot of goals for myself. Maybe too much. But one goal that I’m focusing on the most is reading more.
This past semester at college, I read maybe 3 books? It was bad. Like, really bad. I was embarrassed to log on to my Bookstagram. Of course, I was in college and was working part-time while also managing great friendships, but still. A lot of my free time went to watching TV, cleaning, doing laundry, eating at dining halls, and doing things that, well, weren’t reading.
This summer, even though I’m still working and have a lot of things on my plate, I plan to read 20 books. It may not seem like a lot to some, but to me, it’s a lot--it’ll surely be a challenge.
But, I’ve already read 3, so maybe I’m doing something right!
Reading is a wonderful way to unwind and immerse yourself into alternate worlds and minds. While television and movies can do the same thing, there’s nothing quite like cozying up on the couch with a cup of tea and a new book, soft jazz humming in the background. Reading is a quiet, mindful, yet engaging activity that I crave again and again And surely, I can’t be the only person who feels this way and would love to read more this summer, or simply in general!
So, whether you’re a busy bee like me and want to slip in more time for reading, or if you’re just eager to read even more than you do now, here are a few ways to help you read more this summer!
Read books that you want to read
Oftentimes, I read books that people recommend to me or that are on the best-seller list, trusting that those other people know what they’re talking about. I also read books solely to support the authors who wrote them without looking closely at what the book is actually about. Sometimes, the books are enjoyable, but by reading this way, the act of reading usually becomes more like a chore as I make my way through my stacks rather than choosing books I’m specifically interested in during that given time.
Earlier this summer, I read the book The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, which was a bestseller and was placed up front at Barnes & Noble. While it was a sweet book full of French charm and was written beautifully, it sort of bored me, and I didn’t feel like reading anymore afterward. Upon finishing, I took a breath of fresh air because I was finished!
Never again will I read a book for its aesthetic appeal!
Plan a day to go to the bookstore or library for a few hours and just read. Find a book or two that you really find interesting, and avoid the “What’s Hot” isle. Find and read a book that truly resonates with you.
My favorite book series of all time is The Unaltered Series by Lorena Angell, which no one has ever heard of and I found because the first book was only $.99 on Amazon.
Don’t read what other people are reading--read what makes you happy! This way, reading becomes all the more personal and interesting for you.
Read only 20 pages a day/set small reading goals
If you haven’t read in some time and don’t really know how to pick back up, just read 20 pages a day, either at night before bed, on your lunch break, or in the morning with your coffee. An average book is about 250 pages, so you’d be finishing books within 2 weeks or less! That’s about 6 books in one summer! You can also explore other small goals, such as reading for 15 to 30 minutes a day to reading a single chapter, or even replacing phone scrolling with reading while in a waiting room or even just bored at home.
Don’t push yourself, ease into it. Enjoy the journey (and the book)!
Always carry a book with you, and always be reading a book
First off, you never know when you’ll be stuck in a long line with nothing to do—except wait, you have a book! I always carry a book with me, everywhere I go, to class, in my car on errands, even when I’m on my way to have dinner with a friend. I may be a little excess with carrying books around, but something about it comforts me. You can sneak in tons of reading time by simply carrying a book with you.
Also, always be reading a book. When you’ve finished a book, look through your shelfs or treat yourself to a day at a library and slip your bookmark onto the page “Chapter 1”. I always do this so that even if I haven’t officially begun reading it, I’m currently reading a new book all the time. This also helps prevent reading slumps or the feeling that you have nothing to read, because guess what—you do, now!
Get on Goodreads, or if you have time, join Bookstagram
I absolutely adore Goodreads and use it as a way to not only track my books but to engage with other readers and find new books I’m interested in reading. It’s like Bookstagram, but without the social media aspect. Or, it is, but it’s solely about books. There are also tons of communities and clubs on the app! Find my account here.
Or, you can begin a Bookstagram, like me—an Instagram solely for books and bookish things. Of course, I don’t post about just books, but I’m a part of the “community” you might say. Since starting a Bookstagram, I’ve been so inspired to begin reading. A few weeks ago, after taking a little break from Instagram, I began revamping my feed and getting more involved in the community, and suddenly, all I wanted to do was read, after seeing all of the summer TBR’s and everyone’s pretty book accounts. Find my account here.
Don’t worry about getting your followers up. Just post updates of your reading progress and connect with fellow book lovers. Try taking nice photos of your current reads, too--you’ll feel more inspired to carry a book with you!
Buddy-read with someone, or start/join a book club
Recently, I started my own virtual book club and we meet once a month, reading a new book between each meeting. It’s a fantastic way for me to continuously be reading new books as well as connecting with others who are reading the same book! I love reading, but it’s a solitary hobby and very rarely do you meet someone who has read a book that you’re currently obsessed with (unless you’re on Goodreads or Bookstagram, I suppose). Groups, even buddy-reading, are great ways to read and socialize, connecting with someone over a story you’ll either hate or love!
I dare you to reach out today and try buddy-reading with someone, or even start up a book club!
Change the way you look at reading
Oftentimes, I see people reading books for the sole purpose of reading them and being productive, not enjoying them. When compared to movies or television, reading can seem a bit more tedious and time-consuming, but not if you change the way you see reading. Rather than think, “Oh, I should be reading—reading is so much better for me,” think, “I’d love to be reading right now!” and if you have the time, go do it!
Change the act of reading from something boring, productive, and "better-for-me” to something calming, engaging, fun, and entertaining! If you love romance movies, pick up a sappy romance book, and if you like horror television-shows, find a bone-trembling scary story. Just like any other form of entertaining, reading is meant to be enjoyable, and personal. So find a book you like, light a candle, brew some coffee, and get lost in the story.
I hope these tips helped somewhat! And I hope you do read a lot this summer!