In elementary school, I spent recesses reading in a corner while the other children played on the monkey bars. This was in equal parts attributable to the fact that I was an intolerable swot who thought books were more interesting than humans, and to the fact that other children knew how insufferable I was and wisely kept their distance.
Whatever the childhood origins of my love of reading, the love remains as strong as ever, and reading regularly constitutes one of my pitifully few ‘good habits.’ I often converse with friends who ask how they can learn to love reading, or express an interest in reading more. Here are a few tips that work for me! I hope that they help you on your own reading journey so we can discuss amazing books together.
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Reading competes for your attention alongside all other leisure activities, including binge-watching Netflix, talking to friends, and listening to music. To give reading a fighting chance, pick books that make you want to read over all other available options. For example, if you have to choose between a fun murder mystery novel or an episode of Riverdale, you might actually pick the book. If the choice is between War and Peace and an episode of Riverdale, I guarantee you the episode of Riverdale will always win after a tough day at work, especially if you’re not a regular reader. Resist the loud voice of your ego, which dictates that you must read something ‘substantive’ and ‘useful’ like a heavy classic or nonfiction book about curing cancer. If you want to like reading, it must be fun. Duh.
TLDR; If you hate reading, stay far away from meaty prose and heavy topics, at least initially. Reading deserves better than to be something you grudgingly trudge through in the name of self-improvement.
Tip 2: Make Reading Social
Reading masquerades as an isolating exercise, especially in comparison to sports or television, which brand themselves as interests that help you bond with friends. But reading can be social too! Here are two tools I especially like.
- Goodreads — a book nerd’s paradise. With great Facebook integrations, you can see what all your friends are reading, as well as manage virtual bookshelves.
- Book Clubs — if you can’t find one, then start your own! You’d be surprised at how many people around you are also struggling to read and want to make it a more communal effort. You can also find book clubs focused on specific types of reading (i.e., entrepreneurship, nonfiction, historical fiction, etc.)
Tip 3: Try Audio Books
I cannot tell you the number of friends who made major reading breakthroughs upon discovering the magic of audio books. Audio books present a great option for auditory learners, commuters, and folks with poor eyesight. Audible is the leading audio book software available, but I’m sure there are many other options in the market. If you’re considering Audible, definitely scour the internet for the many discount coupons floating around, you shouldn’t have to pay full price right off the bat.
Happy reading! I’m always hunting for my next good read, so would love to hear of any book recommendations you have.