Reading has always been a cornerstone of my life. I adored it growing up — my English support tutor always encouraged me to read with my parents outside of school — and the sentiment stayed with me throughout my teenage years and beyond. In particular, I found huge courage and comfort in opening a novel and entering a fictional world in my head. Like many others, that interest (or drive) waned whilst I was at University and in the surge of social media. But the past three or so years have been excellent to me for reading.
I’m on track to read 70 novels or more in 2020; here’s how I manage to read more all the time.
Always have a book on you
My number one tip is, of course, to simply always have a book on you. Especially if you’re not used to reading large chunks at a time, carrying a book with you will help you get in the habit of reading here and there. I tend to carry a paperback or my Kindle when I’m on the go, and will read on trains, buses, in coffee shops, in doctors’ waiting rooms… You get the picture! Knowing I’ve taken the energy to carry a book or Kindle around with me encourages me not to mindlessly scroll through my phone for a few minutes here and there; I can thumb my way through a chapter or two instead. I also got in the habit a few years ago of packing a canvas tote with my on-the-go read, a reusable coffee cup, my stainless steel straw and spare canvas tote, which is an ideal setup for eco-friendly essentials as well as nailing those reading ‘goals’.
Find what you enjoy reading
In a similar vein, I think it’s incredibly important to find what you enjoy reading. Even though I’m a huge reader of many genres, I still find it intimidating to share what I read. I don’t particularly follow new releases, I’m much more of a mood reader, so I can often feel disconnected from the book community. The best way to find what you enjoy reading? Get reading! Try non-fiction, read magazines and newspapers, delve into YA, try a mystery… There are limitless possibilities. I share most of my current reads on Instagram if you, like me, judge books by their covers, but you can find a complete roll call of my reads on Goodreads.
I also think it’s important to work out how you read best. Is it snuggled up in bed before you sleep? Is it in the morning over your breakfast cereal (like me)? Is it on train journeys (also me) to while away the hours? All of these little elements make a big difference in how you approach reading.
Join your local library!
One of my most commonly asked questions is ‘how do you read so many books?’ with a specific focus on how I literally get my hands on so many books. I’ve already mentioned a few times that I’m a book collector, but I do also use my local library in abundance. In the UK, public libraries are free to join — mine is at least — and many are connected within counties. For instance I can access books, DVDs, etc. from any library in my county, not just my town or local branch.
Once you’ve joined, head in and browse voraciously. With hundreds of titles right before you, it’s never been easier to explore what it is you adore to read without worrying about wasting £8.99 a pop. My local library has regularly changed displays that encourage you to try new genres, although I personally also have a bit of a nerdy Goodreads-library app cross-referencing system so I can make my way through that dastardly to-be-read list. Plus, every time you loan a book from the library, the author receives 9p in royalties!
Sign up to NetGalley
Aside from buying books and utilising my local library service, I also gather books at charity shops, swapping with friends, and… through NetGalley. NetGalley is an online platform that connects book lovers and professional readers with new releases and publishers. You can ‘apply’ to review books before their release, and these titles are sent to your Kindle. I’ve read and reviewed several books through this platform and couldn’t recommend it more.
What sort of reader are you? Share your reading tips and habits in the comments below!