4 ways to read more books

Some of us may be familiar with the experience of buying books only to leave them on the bedside table, waiting to be finished. With all the distractions in our world today, it can indeed be hard to commit our attention and dive into the pages properly.

Some practical tips can help you make reading a part of your everyday life with little to no effort. Here are some of the ideas you can try to help you read more and become a consistent page-turner.

1. Always keep a book nearby

The idea is to make reading the easiest, most practical choice you can make. Whether you are chilling in the living room or winding down in the bedroom, place some reading material within your sight. Install your bookshelf at a spot you frequent around the home. Sneak a book or an e-reader into your bag whenever you go out, so that you can enjoy that novel you’ve been meaning to complete instead of scrolling through your social media feed on your commute. If you enjoy audiobooks, invest in a speaker or other device that can keep you on track as you do your activities.

It’s also helpful to make your environment more reading-friendly. Identify potential distractions – which may include a TV or mobile phone – and keep them at bay wherever possible.

2. Prepare a reading list

Create a list of books you are interested in and load up, so that you have a new read ready every time you are done with an old one.

Don’t know what to read? Check out online reviews on Goodreads or online bookshops such as Amazon to find recommendations. Alternatively, visit your local bookstore and consult the “staff picks” or the best-seller section. You can also sift through celebrities’ lists – try Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey or Reese Witherspoon.

3. Keep things dynamic

Your bookshelf might feel like a fixed part of your home, an object of history that should not be tampered with. However, a new perspective can help you boost your reading rate.

Author of The Happiness Equation Neil Pasricha recommends thinking of your shelf as a “dynamic organism” that is continuously “moving” and “changing”. His method is to add five new books and remove three to four of the old ones every once in a while. This way, you can start to view the shelf as an everlasting source of new stimulation instead of a static object that you could just walk past by.

Keeping your collection dynamic doesn’t have to be expensive – try a book swap with family members or friends, or borrow some reads from the local library. Your local area might also have a book sharing initiative, where you can take and leave books from a designated shared spot with your neighbours and community members.

4. Lean into your taste

There are moments when you want to like a book, but can’t really get into it no matter how much you try. If reading that copy of Ulysses or Infinite Jest feels more like a chore than a leisure, don’t feel guilty about ditching them. You may return to said books in the future and find them a lot more engrossing.

Otherwise, you can try powering through these books to learn more about your reading preferences. Try building up your endurance by setting a goal – for example, reading 30 pages or three chapters in one sitting. If you still find yourself disliking the books, think about what makes them unappealing to you: is it the prose style, the setting, the themes or the genre? From there, you can find other titles that align more closely with what you enjoy.

It is good to challenge yourself with books that are out of your usual digs – but if the goal is to become a consistent reader, start by trusting your taste.

Do you have any tips to read more? 

This article originally appeared on Over60.