Do you know what bookworms don’t have enough of? Well, money because we spend it all on books. But also: we don’t have enough time to read!
We stack books in precarious towers with full intent to read them all, but then time escapes us while our To Be Read pile (TBR) grows ever taller. Luckily, there are ways we can make time for reading.
In this post, we’ll explore 15 simple hacks for how to read more books.
How to Read More Books
Reading for pure enjoyment has been on a sad decline for a while now, with reports saying 24% of Americans haven’t read at all for pleasure this last year.
Life gets busy; books don’t get prioritized. Of course, readers are not mythical entities yet: Pew Research Center states the average American is still likely to read around 12 books a year.
But with over a million books being published each year, the undeniable fact is: we need to find more time to read.
I read 200 books per year and have been steadily hitting this goal since 2014
My #1 way to keep hitting these huge reading counts is genuinely to prioritize it.
Instead of watching TV, I choose to read.
Instead of weekends out, I prefer the cozy comfort of tea, a soft blanket, and an excellent novel. (Peak shy-introvert move here too, I must admit.)
And reading isn’t just a joy and pleasure, it sharpens your mind and improves your empathy and ability to view the world from new perspectives.
Social studies have been done to conclude things like reading Harry Potter turns children into empathetic and perceiving adults.
It’s not just healthy to read, it’s crucial for building a generation of intelligent people who will strive to make the world a better place.
Books teach you to think for yourself, analyze, challenge the status quo and stand up for the downtrodden.
They are quiet teachers and heartfelt friends.
Naturally, I’m not saying to never go out with friends, but we need to look at where we’re choosing to channel our free time into and if you can move books higher up on your priority list.
You also, like me, might be a voracious reader but still feel your TBR is casting you salty looks because you struggle to fit more reading time into your busy lifestyle.
But stop panicking! I am here to help.
15 Simple Hacks to Read More Books
Here are 15 simple hacks for bookworms on how to fit more reading time into your day.
1. Include Reading In Your Daily Routine
The truth is, most people don’t “have enough time” for anything. I technically do not have time to look at memes on twitter, but somehow I fit it in. (Hey no judgment; the meme life is important too!)
If you really want something, you learn to prioritize it — like making a purposeful healthy meal in the evening or setting your alarm before going to sleep.
Chase down 15-20 minutes and set it apart, untouchable and sacred, as your reading-time. Turn it into a habit.
If you’re passionate about getting exercise each week, don’t forget that reading is strengthening the muscles of your brain. Super valid and important.
2. Identify Your Reading Blocks
Even if you give reading a solid place in your routine, things can still crop up to set you back.
A big one for many people is picking up a book in the evening but falling asleep while reading. Do this too often and your brain will start associating reading with sleeping.
Wave goodbye to your productive reading hour.
So try mixing things up!
- Read for a few minutes in the mornings to break that “read = sleep” association.
- Don’t read in bed.
- Make sure you have adequate lighting to avoid eye strain (book lights are perfect for this!)
- If you struggle to focus because of a noisy environment, put on headphones with gentle white noise playing.
- If holding a physical book is difficult and causes wrist pain, try finding the perfect e-reader to keep books accessible for you.
The important thing is to identify what makes reading uncomfortable for you, or what turns it into a chore.
Eliminate these issues and turn reading into a safe place.
3. Use Audiobooks
There are so many times we could be reading but instead, we’re stuck doing mindless tasks that require our hands. The solution? Audiobooks!
Put your headphones in and listen to your chosen story while traveling, exercising, shopping, waiting in lines, cleaning, etc.
An added bonus is that physical action mixed with auditory input means you have a better chance of remembering and engaging with what you’re listening to!
Plus you don’t accidentally skim and you can’t peak at the end (oh I see you, I know you’ve been tempted).
You’ll be amazed at how fast a book flies by when you listen for 30 minutes during your daily commute.
You can also find audiobooks narrated by famous people (Lin Manuel Miranda narrates Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of the Universe!) or discover ones with full-cast narrations and sound effects, turning it into a movie-like experience.
4. Not Enjoying It? Quit Reading That Book!
There is no shame in putting aside a book that isn’t working for you.
“It might get better!” your inner self whines softly, but be honest with yourself. Will it?
If a certain book makes you grind your teeth, set it aside and pick up something else. It’s too easy to neglect reading when you’re not enjoying it.
5. Read What Makes You Happy
This seems obvious! But it’s unfortunately common for people to gravitate toward reading books that they “think they should be reading.”
That classic, or this bestseller, or that literary novel everyone talks about. Look, read them if you want.
But if they don’t make your heart beat faster or maybe even fill you with a deep sense of tired dread, then perhaps try exploring new genres and options.
Try an action-adventure, or a romance novel, or a fast-paced Young Adult story, or a comedy.
Has it won zero awards? Who cares.
Read what you love. There is no need for book elitism.
You’ll also be surprised when trying new genres… you might discover a new favorite.
6. Always Bring A Book
If you love eBooks then make sure you have an eReading app on your phone! There: you’ve got a whole library in your pocket.
If you prefer physical books, put one in your bag every time you go out.
You never know when you’ll have a spare 10 minutes that could be filled with another chapter.
7. Engage In Challenges
There’s nothing like being a little competitive to get you motivated to read more. Try focusing your reading intentions by setting a specific yearly reading goal!
You can sign up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge and pledge to read any number of books you like.
8. Find a Reading Buddy
Think of it like a miniature book club, just you and a friend or two.
When you have someone keeping you accountable for getting through a set amount of chapters per day, it can help you stay on track.
Not to mention, reading doesn’t have to be a lonely activity! Buddy-reading promotes discussion and gathering other perspectives.
And you can fangirl, or alternately rant, over characters and plot twists.
My friend and I frequently read books together, despite being half a continent apart, and we’ll be texting each other updates as we go.
The discussion also helps me to absorb the story better and analyze the content… and also inspires my competitive streak so I end up reading twice as fast to “finish first.” Shh… Don’t tell my friend!
9. Reorganize Your Down Time
How much Netflix do you watch? Do you scroll aimlessly on Twitter for a guiltily long time?
I’m not saying stop doing these things altogether, because life is best when all your pleasures are balanced, but if you really want to read more, try purposefully reorganizing where you put your time.
Instead of rewatching Stranger Things for the twelfth time, read a book. Ten minutes on Twitter, then ten minutes with your book.
Discipline yourself to reach for a book first.
10. Read Multiple Books
I don’t know about you, but I love having a different book for every occasion.
If I’m going out? I have an eBook ready to go. If I’m setting off for a walk, I grab my headphones and audiobook.
If I’m cozying up in a patch of sunlight on my bed, I’ve got a physical book with that delightful new-page smell ready to crack open.
Reading multiple books at once can stop you stalling if you’re not in the mood for one of your current reads.
If you’re worried about confusing the plots, try reading books that are vastly different.
A light-hearted rom-com vs a thick epic fantasy, for instance.
11. Share Your Opinions On Books
Another way to keep your on track with reading goals is to share your opinions in the form of reviews.
You can use any social media platform for this or even start a blog.
I’m a huge fan of leaving Goodreads reviews since it feels like one giant book club; a whole community of bookworms discussing a novel and sharing views.
Not to mention you can always find someone who has the same opinion as you and it’s often exciting to see your views validated or articulated.
Leaving reviews is also super helpful for authors. It publicizes them and boosts their sales.
So if you adore your favorite author and want to support them more: write a review!
Share it on retail sites, or Instagram, or Goodreads or your blog. Talking about a book while you read also helps promote discussion and keeps you motivated.
12. Read Smaller Books
Quality vs quantity is a valid opinion and I won’t argue against it! But if you’re picking up your 3rd novel that’s 1,000 pages and a deep sort of reading fatigue is settling into your bones, try choosing a few reads that are shorter.
Finishing books fast can kick-start you into feeling productive and speedy, which in turn encourages you to read more books. We want positive book experiences to motivate us to read more!
So make a purposeful decision to try books that aren’t always energy-intensive to absorb.
13. Utilize Your Spare Minutes
Everyone’s day is full of wasted minutes. Usually, it happens when we’re waiting on a person or waiting between activities or jobs.
So why not squeeze a few chapters into these spaces?
Remember tip #6 and how you should take a book wherever you go?
Pull it out and read! It shouldn’t be a big deal to be reading through a chapter while you wait for your coffee to be made.
After all, everyone else is comfortably on their phones. (And you can read on your phone too!)
All these spare snatched seconds, even if it’s just ten minutes here or there, add up and before you know it, you’ve finished off another book.
14. Have A TBR List or Pile Ready To Go
I personally have a To-Be-Read pile that could wrap around Mars a few times (courtesy of being a book blogger and blessed by publishers, as well as being an incurable library addict who maxes out their card at every opportunity — not sorry!).
I always have a new book to reach for as soon as I finish an old one. This helps keep your momentum going.
If you get caught in a space of “Oh…I have nothing to read,” you’re going to lose time waiting to go to the bookstore or library.
Buying eBooks is handy for instant download, but you still need to know what to get. So research and compile future reading suggestions.
Cruise book review sites.
Find a list and work your way through it.
See our list of 50 LGBT books for teens!
15. Buy A New Book
I mean, wow, do insatiable bookworms even need encouragement to buy yet another book?!
There is nothing as satisfying as tucking a new book under your arm and being desperate to get home and start reading.
(Except, as we know from this list, you can totally start reading as you walk out of the bookstore. Utilize those spare minutes! Just don’t crash into a wall.)
Keeping your reading pile fresh and bolstered with new options is a foolproof way to keep your motivation to read high. We all like new things, shiny things.
I’m a collector and enjoy the act of arranging books on my shelves almost as much as reading them, and my excitement to crack open my next read always mounts when I get a new book.
About the Author
CG Drews is a YA book blogger with the goal to read every book in existence. She’s aiming for immortality for this. When not reading, she writes novels and blogs at paperfury.com.