Are you looking for ways you can read more books in 2021? Many people started reading more as a result of having to quarantine, and this may have brought you to the realization that you haven’t been reading as much as you would like to. Challenge yourself to read more in the New Year and to continue reading even after things return to normal. Continue reading below for 13 ways you can read more books in 2021!
It’s (almost) that time again: As the holidays approach, we’re reminded to set goals for the year ahead. Read, read, read! If you’re looking to fall in love with your next page-turner, we’ve put together some useful tips to both read more and get added enjoyment out of books in the year ahead.
Read before you fall asleep.
Skip out on that late-night scroll through your Twitter feed and go old school. Read a bedtime story to lull yourself to sleep. If you do this frequently enough, it can become a part of your nighttime routine. “I hear a lot from people that say they’re too tired before they go to bed to read, and I always ask them, ‘What do you do before you tuck in?'” says Sarah Gelman, the editorial director of Amazon Books. “They’ll say, ‘I look at Instagram, I check emails.’ I really think people need to put their phones away and pick up books or their e-readers. Even if you read the book for five minutes and fall asleep with it on your face—which has definitely happened to me—you have read it for five more minutes than you would have otherwise, and it just becomes a habit.”
And, maybe even when you wake up in the morning.
If your schedule allows, instead of perusing your emails or immediately beginning the day’s to-do list, take a moment for yourself and dedicate anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for reading. And yes, you can stay in bed.
Always have a book on deck.
Whether you’re commuting to the office or on your way to a girls’ getaway, have a dedicated space in your bag for your next read. This way, whenever you find yourself with some unexpected downtime, reading will always be an option.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” book.
You should never let embarrassment for liking a particular type of novel stop you from picking out a book. “There’s a reason why ‘guilty pleasure’ books are popular,” Gelman says. “It’s because they’re good. They have a compelling story and they’re fast to read. People have to let go of this stigma of ‘what I should be reading’ versus ‘what I want to read.’ Just read what you enjoy. It’s so freeing.”
Think about your TV time as reading time.
This mental trick will hopefully urge you to see the value in sitting down with a good book. Those three hours you’d usually spend bingeing The Crown? Maybe use at least half of that time to finally try out Oprah’s latest book club pick, Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste. “A traditional 30 minute show is like 22 minutes if you fast forward through commercials, and an hour show is 42 minutes,” Gelman says. She likes to spend those 22 or 42 minutes reading, explaining that time tends to go slower when she’s engaged in a titillating text.
Participate in a reading challenge.
Devoting time to a challenge is a way to compete against yourself while still working toward your reading goals. You can keep it simple with Goodreads and choose a specific number of books to read per year, as the site allows you to easily track your progress. Bookish also offers a reading challenge, though the terms are a bit more complex. In an effort to keep participant’s selections diverse, their 2020 terms set a goal of 42 books, sending readers on a literary scavenger hunt. A couple of fun examples? One request was that you find a story dedicated to social justice, while another urges you to find a National Book Award winner.
Check out “best lists.”
Selecting a book from the endless array can be overwhelming. To narrow down the field, peruse reading lists from the institutions that make it their business to find the best of the best. The New York Times bestsellers list is a tried and true test of a good book to read. And Goodreads’ 2020 “Best Books” are being chosen by millions of bibliophiles as we speak. And, of course, we can’t forget our own trusted O book editors, who have curated tons of meticulous collections that span across genres.
Join a local book club.
Not only will you have fellow book lovers holding you accountable to read more, but you’ll also be a part of a new community that makes finishing a book a priority. Not to mention the discussions about the book can expand your mind and perspective. While it may seem impossible to find the right group, the American Library Association’s “Book Club Central” offers plenty of resources to get started, including heading to your nearest library to consult the reference desk for information about local book clubs. Another place to check out is an independent bookstore, where active clubs tend to seek out new members who also enjoy reading. If you prefer to stay home, Goodreads allows readers to join a virtual group through various discussion boards based on genre, from young adult to romance novels.
Read some poetry.
Whether you dig into a whole poetry book or read renowned love poems online, poetry can be a compelling break from traditional fiction and nonfiction reads that tend to dominate the bestsellers lists. “Poetry is short and digestible, yes,” says O’s assistant books editor Michelle Hart, “but reading poetry is also a great way to get the creative part of your brain working.”
Invest in an e-reader.
While devoted book worms everywhere will likely always debate e-readers vs physical books, there’s no denying that devices like Kindles can make it easier to read on demand. According to Statista, 335.7 million e-books were sold in the U.S. in 2019. The hassle of taking a trip to the bookstore is gone when you have a tablet that acts as a personal mobile library. And an e-reader stores thousands of books—new and old—that cross various genres, with prices starting as low as 99 cents. All you have to do to start reading is tap on a screen.
Take your time and set reading goals.
Oftentimes after purchasing a new book, the thought of even attempting to finish a multi-chapter novel can be intimidating. But remember, reading is not a race. You can finish a story as fast or as slow as you wish. To maintain your preferred pace, in addition to keeping yourself accountable, create personal goals. This could look like 20 pages a day, two chapters a week, or finishing the book by the end of the month. Whatever works for your schedule is attainable.
Explore different genres.
It’s totally okay if you can’t get through the year’s trendiest memoir or if you’re finding that classic novels never seem to catch your attention. There are a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres (adventure, thrillers, biographies, short stories, graphic novels) for you to try out in order to discover what truly keeps your attention.
Designate a cozy reading space.
Sometimes it’s all about the atmosphere. Designate a space in your home as your official reading nook, and make it as cozy as possible in order to associate reading with comfort and relaxation. It’s as simple as slipping on your softest slippers and lighting your most cherished candle to set the mood.