Over the past week more than a few of my friends have declared “I plan on reading more next year.” It is a New Years reading resolution that I whole heartedly support. Just read more books. Period.
But when asked “what are you looking forward to reading?” or “what book are you going to read first?” my friends were never real sure. Except for the guy who, while admitting to having not read anything long-form in almost two years, wants to start with Moby Dick (“because the classics are important”, he said).
So I wanted to offer three tips for the newly resolved “reading more” coalition:
1. Enjoy reading. While the classics are worthwhile and we should all be well-read in the “issues of the day”, these can be heavy areas for folks trying to “get back into reading books”. So start fun. If you haven’t been able to read a whole novel in a while, start with something fast and easy. I’m thinking genre fiction here. So start there and then pick up something with more meat and literary. Once you see you can read a novel and get in the habit of making time to read, you’ll be ready to dig deeper.
2. Talk about books. I don’t care where. Just talk about them. Meet someone new at the office? At a party? Ask what they’re reading. For some reason everyone seems to talk about movies. I’m not sure why. But I promise, the more you talk about books and reading, the more worthwhile you’re reading will be. Also, once you get your groove back, be sure to check with your local libraries and bookstores about book groups and salons. Read book blogs and leave comments.
3. Join a group. This kind of piggybacks on #2, but really has a different focus. If you’re already online then check out LibraryThing or GoodReads. Both give you tools to catalog books and track your reading. They also help you dive deeper into an author or genre, discovering more hits than misses. If you’re a “connect the dots” kind of person then I also recommend Small Demons, which is cool and really deserves its own post.
Bonus Tip: Learn to read “in the cracks”. I’ve always had a ‘car book’. That is a book that I left in the car so that it was always there if I ever found myself sitting on a bench at the mall or waiting in line at the DMV. But since ebooks, I’ve also been able to read while rocking a baby to sleep, waiting in a movie theater for the show to start,or while sitting still on I-65 for 2+ hours while a wreck was cleared. These were unexpected times where I was able to read via my phone. So if you’re not scared of ebooks, give them a try the next time you find yourself twiddling your thumbs.