This blog post was co-written with H&H Marketing Assistant (and fellow bookworm) KellyAnne Tang
My love affair with reading started in the 1st grade. I was just 6 years old and had entered a friendly bookworm competition with my classmates. It was the teacher’s fun way of encouraging us to read and our parents were required to sign off on every book that we documented. After a full school year, I had read 250 books (albeit lots of small Little Golden Books) and won a pretty sweet trophy that’s still sitting on a shelf in my dad’s house. I guess you can say I’ve been a voracious reader ever since.
Fiction has always been my category of choice and I grew up passionately reading all of those fan fav series like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult (that woman has some seriously incredible novels!) but I also have a healthy love of classics like “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen and mysteries like “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie.
Call it adulthood but over the past few years the number of books I would read each year started dwindling. So in order to reignite my love for this hobby, I decided to challenge myself to read 2 books a month this year and document it on GoodReads.
Reading is just one hobby that I’ve previously mentioned can add a bit more health and happiness into your life (see 49 other ways in THIS POST). If you’re looking to rediscover your own inner bookworm, my H&H marketing assistant, KellyAnne, has a ton of great tips for you to try!
Here are some of her recs:
Participate in a Fun Reading Challenge
If you always have trouble deciding what book to read, there are tons of great reading challenges out there that can provide a little structure. They also offer a great opportunity to branch out of your usual literary comfort zones and bubbles. Here are a few that sounded really interesting!
Track Your Reading
Just like many other habits, keeping track of the books you read can help keep you motivated. Even just writing down the titles you’ve read in a note on your phone can give you that little feeling of satisfaction that will keep you wanting more. Also, if you tend to forget what you read the next day, it might also be fun to try writing reviews so you can absorb what you read.
Start or Join a (Virtual) Book Club
Everything is more fun with friends! Gather the fellow bookworms in your life and start your own book club. Check out these tips from Oprah if you’re not sure how to start. There are also already a bunch of online book clubs that you can join as well! Not only will you read more with a community, but you’ll get more out of your reading when you discuss it with others.
It’s Okay To Read Multiple Books at Once
Until recently, I was a strict believer in reading one book at a time. I thought that was the best way to really focus on what I was reading, but that’s also how I often ended up with one book sitting untouched on my nightstand for months on end.
Once I started reading multiple books at once, I began feeling so much more engaged. It eliminates the indecision I usually faced when picking my next read. Choosing between nonfiction and fiction always felt like choosing between savory and sweet at brunch.
Now I keep a variety of books lined up, usually a nonfiction, a novel, an audiobook for walking, and maybe a collection of short stories or poetry. I like that I always have options depending on my mood, how much time I have, and how much energy I have. When I just have ten minutes to spare or I feel tired, I can read a poem or a short story. Give it a try! It might totally change your reading experience like it did mine.
Set a Tiny Goal
This tip is inspired by a “Life Kit” podcast episode on the benefits of tiny habits, which you should definitely give a listen if you have 12 minutes to spare. This idea doesn’t just go for reading. Setting tiny goals can be the key to starting all kinds of new habits. In this case, try setting a tiny reading goal for yourself of reading a page a day, maybe even just a paragraph. You can always read more if you want to, but starting small will help you develop the habit in the beginning.
Try Creating a Reading Ritual
Make reading time something that you really look forward to by making it feel special. Brew yourself a cup of tea, cozy up with your favorite blanket, or light your favorite candle. If you make reading really enjoyable, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
If You’re Not into a Book, Let It Go
This is a super important tip. You do NOT have to finish every book. If you’re a few chapters in and aren’t feeling it, it is 100% okay to put it down. If you’re looking for permission, I’m giving it to you right now. Life’s too short to read books you don’t like.
I hope these tips are helpful and we’d love to hear your suggestions or just what you’re reading right now!
PSA: If you’re able to, don’t forget to support your local bookstores! Some of my favorites include McNally Jackson and Greenlight Books. You can also look for secondhand books on ThriftBooks, or access tons of free books through libraries, using apps like Libby.