Reading - it’s something you constantly plan to do more of but somehow it never quite happens. And you’re not alone either - a recent survey found that almost three quarters of people in the UK said they would like to read more, citing ‘not having enough time’ as the top reason why they don’t feel able to. To solve this problem, Lija Kresowaty, Head of International Publishing at Bookchoice, a membership service for book-lovers, gives her top tips:
Set realistic goals - to begin with, rather than focusing on daunting long-term targets, such as how many books you want to get through in a year, why not set a sustainable goal to read for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day, every day. This will seem far more achievable and will help you develop a consistent habit that integrates into your daily life. If you find it easy to fit in this amount of reading, you can always up your target time but even if on busy days you can only manage the bare minimum, this approach will ensure that reading becomes a realistic priority.
Find your optimum reading time - it sounds simple but working out your ideal reading time can go along way to helping you read more books and get more out of them when you do. Reading is great for relaxation but if you find your eyelids constantly drooping if you read last thing at night, set your alarm half an hour earlier and try switching your reading time to first thing in the morning, or, if you’re more alert in the afternoon, make time on your lunch-break to get away from the office and zip through a few pages.
Listen to audiobooks - it’s a surprising fact that although many people find it difficult to find time to read, over two thirds of Brits say they’ve never listened to an audiobook. Audiobooks are fantastic for time-poor readers, as you can listen to your chosen book while commuting - especially good for rush-hour public transport as you don’t even need a seat or even a free hand! You can also cut down on your to-do list by simultaneously taking in a great novel while completing other activities and chores, such as exercising or cooking.
Use technology wisely - used in the right way, technology can help you read more rather than act as a distraction. Investing in an e-reader or phone with a good-sized screen can ensure you have access to books wherever you go. This is extremely useful for filling dead-time during the day, including travel delays, queues and waiting for appointments. If you use multiple devices you can also sync them so you don’t lose your place and flight mode is a reader’s best friend for resisting the temptation of social media and emails.
Get outside your comfort zone - in the age of algorithms, we’re used to being told ‘if you liked that, you’ll like this too’, which is helpful sometimes but can also lead to a bit of a cultural rut. If you’re finding your reading ambitions flagging, it could be time to mix it up a bit and try some different genres or writers. So if you’re a period classics fan, for example, perhaps a modern thriller could be just what you need to get some momentum back into your reading routine.
Enlist a book buddy - if starting a full-blown book-club seems a bit daunting, it might be more realistic to form a book-duo. Enlist the help of a friend / partner / family member who also likes reading, choose a book each month and set a deadline so you can sit down over a drink and discuss it once you’ve finished. This means you’ll have something to aim for, as people are more likely to get through a book quickly if they have a goal in mind, plus it’s fun to talk over a plot you loved, or that character that drove you mad!
Lija Kresowaty is Head of International Publishing at Bookchoice, a membership service for book lovers and those who’d love to read more, enabling them to receive a curated selection of eight ebooks and audiobooks each month, carefully hand-picked by a team of industry experts. Bookchoice’s February selection includes bestsellers such as Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty and Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
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