Reading is an incredible experience, being able to immerse yourself in the words of another and explore new, exciting worlds. But I know sometimes I find myself in reading slumps where I struggle to find a new book or am not motivated to read. So I have collated 20 tips and tricks for better reading. Lets go!
1. Set Reading Goals
Sometimes the hardest part of reading is finding the time to do so. Work out how much you want to read each day, week, or month. Be realistic and kind to yourself in setting these goals. They can help motivate you to read more consistently and get through your TBR a little quicker.
2. Create a Reading List
Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to decide what to read next, especially if you’ve got shelves of unread books like me. Try writing a list of a handful of books you want to read this year, then slowly work your way through it rather than look at your overflowing shelves. It helps to stay organised and makes picking your next read easier.
3. Find Your Reading Niche
Finding what genre you love to read is key to falling in love with reading. Being able to note down what genres or topics grab your interest will help you to explore that niche for new books to add to your TBR when you’re done with your current read.
4. Set Aside Dedicated Reading Time
If you’re like me and keep a diary or planner then try scheduling in some time for reading, whether it’s in the morning, during your commute, or before bed. I find myself reading on the train when I commute to and from work as a great time to chew through a few pages. Consistency is key.
5. Minimise Distractions
Create a quiet, comfortable reading space where you can concentrate. Turn off your phone or set it to silent mode to minimise interruptions. If you’re in a busy share house or have a family, perhaps leaving home to read in the park or have your partner entertain the little ones for an hour while you have some ‘me time’.
6. Join a Book Club
Book clubs can be a great way to discover new books and meet new people. Connecting with other readers in your community or library who are into similar books to you opens up interesting discussions, fun socialising and can motivate you to read more consistently.
7. Try Audiobooks
If you have a busy schedule or sometimes struggle reading print books, consider audiobooks. They allow you to “read” while multitasking, such as during workouts or commutes. Sometimes though it’s just nice to lie on the couch or outside on a picnic blanket on a sunny afternoon with a story being narrated to you.
8. Take Notes, Highlight and Tab Pages
Some people find they can engage with, and understand, their books more by taking notes, writing in the margins their thoughts as they’re reading. Others highlight their favourite quotes or sentences that made them think. Tabbing pages is also super helpful to go back to specific pages you’d love to revisit.
9. Don’t Compare Your Reading to Others
It can be really easy these days to see other readers online reading 10, 50, 100, 400 books a year. It’s important not to compare your reading speed to others. If you try to rush through books you probably aren’t taking the time to enjoy them or really engage with the content. Savour a good book over trying to speed read through many to be on trend.
10. Reread Favourites
I don’t re-read often but sometimes re-visiting a much loved book can really rekindle the reading flame if you’re in a book rut. For me Pride & Prejudice is a comforting and nostalgic read that I like to come back to time and time again. Find those books on your shelf and hold onto them.
11. Discuss Books with Others
Sharing your thoughts and opinions with friends, family, or online reading communities can be such a valuable way to deepen your understanding of a book and have some fun. I have made some incredible friends through Instagram’s book community and continued late night rants over text with friends about the books we’re reading.
12. Experiment with Different Formats
Don’t limit yourself to print books as the only way to read. E-books, audiobooks, and graphic novels offer diverse reading experiences. E-books are fantastic if you’re finding reading an overwhelming idea. Without the ability to see the thickness of a physical book you may find it easer to approach a novel in the digital format.
13. Visit Libraries and Bookstores
Publishers typically release their new books at the start and middle of each month. If you’re stuck for something new to read maybe head to your local library or bookshop and browse the shelves. Ask for recommendations from your local librarian or bookseller. They’re always very well read! You might just stumble upon the next big thing before it blows up online.
14. Challenge Yourself
Occasionally it’s great to venture outside your comfort zone by reading a book in a genre you haven’t explored before. For me that is non-fiction, which I’ve made a personal challenge to try and read a few a year in various topics to expand my general knowledge.
15. Practice Mindful Reading
Focus on the book in front of you rather than the outside noise, particularly if you’re involved with the book community on social media. Try to immerse yourself in the story and savour each page, enjoy that quiet reading time. Reading can be a great way to decompress and help with feelings of burn out. Find a cosy spot, make a cup of tea and set aside some quiet reading time just for you.
16. Keep a Reading Journal
Maintaining a journal to record your thoughts and reflections about the books you read is a great way to remember and look back at everything you’re read. You can list your star ratings, book tropes, thoughts, favourite quotes, little doodles. Whatever you want to note down as part of tracking your reading journey.
17. Set Realistic Expectations
I think this one is super important. Don’t pressure yourself to finish a book if you’re not enjoying or engaging with it. Not every book is for every reader, and that’s okay. DNFing a book is a reasonable thing to do to move onto something you will enjoy spending your time diving into.
18. Read Diverse Authors
Stuck looking for a new read? Well how diverse are the stories you’re consuming? Make an effort to read books by authors from various backgrounds and cultures to broaden your perspectives and expose yourself to new stories and tropes you may not have come across before. The wider you can read the more interesting your reading experience will be.
19. Balance Fiction and Non-Fiction
This is a tip I myself am working on. A well-rounded reading diet can include both fiction for entertainment and non-fiction for learning. My recent non-fiction read was On Our Best Behaviour, and next I want to read Burn Out after my next few fiction reads.
20. Enjoy the Journey
Remember that reading is about enjoyment and personal growth. Don’t stress over how many books you read; focus on the pleasure and knowledge gained from each one. Reading is about you and the book and taking the time to do something for yourself.
I love reading, and I hope these tips can help you make the most of your reading time.