While you were dusting your book shelf the other day, you saw a book you bought years ago when you were on holiday, but never actually read. Suddenly you start wondering about the last book you read, because you can’t quite remember what it was about. You kind of miss reading. You start books but never seem to finish them because you’re busy or not motivated enough to read. Maybe you cannot afford to buy books. You don’t know how to go about re-discovering your love and passion for reading books. Here’s a list of ten things you could do to develop a reading habit again.
- Read before going to sleep
Reading for half an hour every day before going to sleep is more than you might think. Not only will it help you get back into a reading habit, it can also help you relax. (It depends on what you read, obviously.)
- Read on public transport
Whether it’s on your daily thirty-minute commute or you’re on a twelve-hour flight, bring a book or an eReader. It will make time pass more quickly and your journey more interesting.
- Give Netflix a break
I know, I know. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Sometimes watching one or two episodes of your favourite series seems more appealing than reading a book. Yet, books can be very entertaining too, even if it does require your brain to work a little harder.
- Start a smart phone diet
Smart phones are one of the greatest technological inventions of our time. I love how convenient they are. Yet, sometimes I feel like my phone takes control of my brain. I’ve caught myself more than once scrolling through Instagram for hours, leaving me feeling unaccomplished and bored. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much reading you can get done if you pick up a book every time you feel the urge to look at your phone.
- Organise a Read-a-thon
Read-a-thons are a great way to start reading that one book that’s been waiting for you patiently, rotting away on your book shelf for forty-eight months. Reading can be a lonely endeavour. You could make a read-a-thon more social by inviting friends to read for a couple of hours. Get some snacks, drinks and cosy blankets. Read for a set amount of time, then talk about what you’ve just read and share your thoughts. You can also organise a virtual read-a-thon.
Photo: Anthony Delanoix/snap.io
- Set small goals
You’ve always wanted to read The Lord of the Rings because it seems that everyone’s read it, except you. However, reading The Lord of the Rings also means you’ll have to read quite a few pages, making it an overwhelming task for some. Set small goals for longer reads. Try and read a chapter a week or ten pages a day. You could also read longer novels on an eReader. Sometimes it’s the visual bulkiness of a book that makes us put off reading in the first place.
- Join GoodReads
I’ve been a GoodReads member since 2009 and I’ve been using it regularly ever since. It gave me a fierce hunger for books again, because it made me realise how many great adventures I was missing out on by not reading regularly. GoodReads allows you to show your friends how your reading is going, which is a good incentive. It also has an annual Reading Challenge. You can set a goal of how many books you’d like to read in the course of a year. The website will tell you when and by how many books you’re behind (or ahead) on your goal.
- Join your local library
Books are expensive. If money is the main reason you’re not reading anymore, join a library. Whenever I’m in a library I feel like reading. I love looking at books, smelling them, touching them, and being surrounded by hundreds and thousands of them. Libraries can also be a great place to relax if you’ve had a stressful day. They tend to be quiet and less busy than other places, like coffee shops, for instance.
- Listen to audiobooks
You want to read this one book but somehow can’t seem to fit enough time into your schedule to get it done. At the end of the day you’re often too tired to read and reading on public transport makes you ill. Luckily, we live in a wonderful world that makes it possible for you to have someone read a book to you. You can do laundry, cook dinner, wash dishes, etc. and listen to an audiobook at the same time. I had Roald Dahl’s Matilda read to me by Kate Winslet and it was such a joyful experience. Listening to audiobooks will take you a lot longer than reading the book yourself, but it’s definitely worth it if you don’t have the time or patience to read.
- Download free ebooks.
If you don’t feel like joining the local library or you simply don’t have access to one, don’t despair. The Gutenberg Project gives you access to over 50,000 ebooks for free. Due to copyright reasons, you won’t find any contemporary books on there, but you can legally download classics like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. They also offer ebooks in different languages. Literature.org and Bartleby also offer classic works for free.