Whatever the reason, there often comes a time in our lives when reading takes a back seat to, you know, everything else. Maybe your crazy schedule leaves you no time to go to the library, let alone relax with a good book. Maybe Twitter has ruined your ability to read anything longer than 140 characters. Maybe you were so traumatized by the endless assigned readings in college that you can’t remember what it’s like to read for fun (seriously, I didn’t voluntarily pick up a book for at least a year after graduation). We’re celebrating Rad Reads Week here at The Frisky, which just happens to be the perfect time to rediscover the magic of a good book. Wondering how to get back in the habit? Check out our 10 tips, after the jump!
1. Don’t be ashamed to start with totally mainstream page-turners. Whether it’s The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or the latest Nicholas Sparks romance, these mega-sellers are popular for a reason (because they’re awesome and easy to read) and reading them will help you feel plugged into a pop culture phenomenon. Don’t jump right into a 1,000 page Churchill biography (unless you’re into that sort of thing)–ease yourself into your new habit with something unabashedly entertaining. A few more good bets? The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, any Sookie Stackhouse novels, The Great Gatsby, and anything by David Sedaris.
2. Make it a habit. Just like any new habit, it takes a little work to make reading a regular part of your life. Keep a book on your nightstand and start with, say, 10 minutes a night. Hold yourself to it for a week. It probably won’t be long until you’re pushing your bedtime back to read a few extra pages.
3. Start a book club with your friends. Nothing like peer pressure to enforce your new habit. Plus, every time you finish a book, you’ll be rewarded with snacks and gossip. Score!
4. Create a fun routine around reading. Try reading in a bubble bath with a glass of red wine, or create a comfy reading corner in your house and don’t let anyone bother you when you’re there. Soon reading will feel like a luxurious reward instead of a grueling homework assignment.
5. Try a few genres to see what you like. No worries if mainstream fiction’s not your thing. Check out a nonfiction book about a subject you’re dying to learn more about, scandalous biographies about the rich and famous, graphic novels, poetry compilations, or personal essays.
6. Explore the book store. Even when I’m not in a reading mood, put me in a bookstore for 15 minutes and I’ll walk out with a stack of new books I can’t wait to read. Spend a Saturday afternoon exploring the shelves and you’re bound to find some fantastic new reading material.
7. Ask your friends for recommendations. The benefits of this strategy are twofold: 1) you’ll get personalized recommendations from the people who know you best; and 2) you’ll have someone to debrief the book with afterwards.
8. Try audiobooks. Hey, it still counts as reading, and if you’re super busy or have a multitasking addiction, this might be the best way to bring books into your life, because you can “read” while you exercise, drive to work, run errands, or clean your living room. Life dream status, yeah?
9. Keep a paperback in your purse. You’d be surprised at how many opportunities there are to read throughout the day, especially if you train yourself to crack open a book instead of browsing Facebook on your phone. Lunch breaks and public transportation are perfect times to immerse yourself in a good book.
10. Be patient with yourself. Any activity takes awhile to become a habit, and you might start (and quit) reading a few duds before you find a book that really draws you in. Just keep at it, and remember the wise words of the “Reading Rainbow” theme song: “Take a look, it’s in a book.”