Read more books in the coming year – A simple guide

Most people would like to read more books, but there can be a multitude of reasons why they never achieve their goal. 

With so many distractions presenting themselves at all times, our attention has been somewhat hijacked. As we navigate our way through an intricate array of algorithmic obstacles, trying to get from one end of the day to the other without losing our minds, the simple task of reading books for pleasure can fall pretty far down the priority list.

The world, as it exists at present, is exhausting. While we use the digital realm for most of our communication, news aggregation and self-expression, most of our reading happens automatically, without thought or focus.

With that in mind, a few adjustments to our daily routines could result in the consumption of far more books than previous years, offering brief and sublime punctuation in between the hectic fray of digital life.

Change the way you view the act of reading.

The internet has undeniably altered how we interpret information and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Fragmentation could hold the key to reading more each day, week and month of the year. One mistake is to try and wait until the end of the day to unwind with a good book. For some, that method still works, but for most of us, by the late evening we have very little left to offer.

We don’t allocate a set time to browse Twitter, Facebook or Reddit, so why do we attempt to do so with books?

Dip in and out during the day. A few pages here and there. It will build up interest in a title as the day progresses and may even take place of idle scrolling through social media, once you get used to it. Using this method will make readers feel as if they’ve achieved more during the day, leading to a greater sense of motivation and general satisfaction.

Always have at least one book within arm’s reach at all times.

A good book is not going to be much use on your bedside locker if you’ve got some down time during your lunch break, or on your commute. The physicality and tangible nature of books can be a great incentive to become involved with them again. Keep a paperback or two with you.

Okay, so you might want to leave behind that copy of Ulysses or Infinite Jest at home until later on (trust me, there’s not much fun to be had lugging those around), but there’s something inexplicably comforting about having a book to turn to when you want to escape the world around you.

Have a few books on the go at any given time.

We don’t read one thing anymore. Our brains are becoming adept at juggling multitudes of complex data, narrative streams and other associated forms of mental gymnastics.

Utilize that in your reading habits. Keep a few titles close by and read whichever one appeals most at any given time throughout the day. Fiction, non-fiction, essays, short stories – think of it the same way you do TV or the internet. Your own private stash of information, to be accessed when and where you choose.

These short bursts of multiple titles will ebb and flow, as your attention gets drawn into one over the other, but it’s a great way to ensure that you’re always getting involved with books, and it will certainly generate further searching, acquisition and reading hours over time.

Read More Books - My Good Planet

Join the library and get an app.

Most public libraries are free and usually offer some form of digital facility. Borrowbox in the UK / IRE and Overdrive in the USA offer online archives of free e-books and audiobooks. The selections can be just as good as some of the subscription based platforms, and it’s a budget friendly way of increasing your own personal reading list.

Audiobooks are a wonderful way to keep the literary flame alive, especially while out walking, jogging or visiting the gym. They make the time go faster and, with the help of a good narrator, can help to guide the listener to the closing chapter of some stories and titles which they may never have otherwise made it through.

See what others are reading.

Many notable figures post end of year reading lists. Seek them out.

Instagram is full of useful hashtags which can be used to search for interesting new and classic books. #bookclub #readersofig #bookish and #bookworm being but a few.

Reddit pages such as r/books and r/literature, as well as the ever-useful r/suggestmeabook can be used to research, discuss and discover a wealth of fantastic titles.

Join a book club – live or online.

Social media can be also be used to join online books clubs. Authors have also been known to run their own via their various accounts or websites. Additionally, many book shops operate book clubs with weekly or monthly meet-ups, which could offer the opportunity to branch out socially, as well as intellectually.

Sign up for Goodreads to chart your progress and make wish lists.

If you’re the kind of person who likes making lists, then Goodreads can be a great way to categorise your reading habits. Make lists of books you’ve read, are currently reading and want to read. Create ratings and reviews if desired, and connect with friends to compare titles, notes and recommendations.

Explore local bookshops.

Nothing will replicate finding that new favourite by chance, or personal recommendation, like browsing through a local new or second hand bookstore. Their relaxing atmospheres and irreplaceable scent is something which can never fail to captivate.

So, there you have it. There are no huge changes required, but with a few tweaks it’s definitely possible to read more books in the upcoming year, and every year beyond. Be sure to let us know if you make any wonderful discoveries, or have any additional hints and tips regarding your own reading habits.

Colin J McCracken
Colin J McCracken

Director and Executive Editor

Colin J McCracken is an Irish editor and writer of both fiction and journalism. Coming from a background in education and film, his passions are split between the environmental and the entertaining. Constantly striving for a more sustainable existence and trying to balance it while simultaneously buying too many books.