I like to read. I do it a lot. If you’d like to read more in 2023, here are some tips:
Join Your Local Library
When you’re starting to build a reading habit, accessibility is key. Reading can become an extremely expensive hobby if you’re buying $25ish books once a week but by joining your local library, you can borrow books, audiobooks, and physical books to your heart’s (or borrowing limit’s) content for free.
Technical Note: I’m a member of three libraries in New York; New York, Brooklyn, and Queens. I use each library’s app and another app called Libby to reserve the books I’m interested in. When they’re ready, I get a notification to either pick up a physical copy at a branch or borrow a digital copy from the comfort of my phone.
I’m also a huge advocate for supporting bookstores so when I’ve found a library book I enjoyed, I’ll buy my own copy so I can read it again later. My favorite bookstores in New York are Book Club Bar, Topos Bookstore and Cafe, and Books Are Magic. Further afield, I adore Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle WA, A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland CA, and Woodbine Books in Kildare, Ireland.
Listen to Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a fantastic way to bring more books into your life: you can listen while on a walk! Or doing the dishes! Or standing in line at TSA, praying that your AirPods actually work and the family behind you can’t also hear the faerie smut you’re listening to!
However, it can take some time to get your brain used to reading this way. I started by listening to memoirs because they felt a lot like listening to podcasts (something my brain was already trained to do). Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Year Book by Seth Rogen are both great audiobook listens because Amy and Seth read the books themselves, and also have actors and friends join in to add some extra flavor. Since then, I’ve worked my way up to listening to fiction audiobooks but still find literary fiction and fantasy much easier to understand and enjoy when reading traditionally.
Technical Note: I use two apps to listen to audiobooks: Libby and SimplyE. Both are connected to my New York Public Library account so I can search for, reserve, borrow, and listen to (free!) audiobooks any time I want.
Use an E-Reader
While setting aside time in your day for reading is fantastic (more on that later), I think it’s equally important to always have a book on hand so you can read in snatched pockets of time, like on the train on the way to work or while in your trendy dentist’s waiting room. Enter: the e-reader. It’s portable, allows you to access a new book as soon as you’ve finished your last one, and feels like the perfect stepping stone when you’re on a journey of replacing phone time with reading time.
Technical Note: I got a Kobo Clara for my birthday this year and highly recommend it because it integrates with my library. Essentially, I use the Libby app on my phone to borrow a book from the New York Public Library, then press the sync button on my Kobo to make it available there! If you’re tossing up between the Kobo and the Kindle, I’d choose the Kobo for this reason.
Set Aside Reading Time
I, like many people, simply fall asleep if I read in bed at night, so I like to flip things around and read first thing in the morning. Is there anything better than pouring a mug of tea and enjoying a quiet half hour with a book before anyone else wakes up? Not for me, but maybe you’re a lunchtime reader! Or a whole Sunday reader! You do you!
Find Fellow Bookworms
I started sharing the books I’ve finished on my Instagram Stories back in 2018 and without doing that, I’m not sure if reading would’ve become such a huge part of my life over the past five years. Knowing that I’d made a public commitment and having friends message me about the books I read to chat through their thoughts or recommend others has helped me become fully immersed in the world of reading. If Instagram Stories don’t sound like your thing, tracking your progress and reviews on Goodreads, listening to a podcast with book club episodes, or even starting your own reading group can be a great way to stay motivated.
To wrap up, I’d like to add that I personally don’t think reading is any more virtuous than watching TV or playing video games or crafting ceramic salt and pepper shakers. If you don’t have an interest in reading and would prefer to do those, go ahead! Just make sure to mail me a couple of those alligator shakers when you’re done.