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Happy New Year! I love the feeling of a fresh start that comes with the beginning of a new year. No matter what happened in the last year and what we accomplished (or didn’t), it’s a great time to reflect on how we can be better and set our intentions and goals for the next year.

How about resolving to read more this year? Aside from providing hours of entertainment, reading books can also relieve stress, keep your mind sharp, and even make you more empathetic.

Here are some tips for incorporating more reading into your life this year:

  1. “The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as long swallows.” This idea from Stephen King’s memoir On Writing really stuck with me. I realized that even if you don’t always have hours to spend reading, there are always free moments that could be spent reading if you learn to recognize them and take advantage of them. Think of all the time you normally spend browsing Facebook, Twitter, etc. while standing in lines, sitting in waiting rooms, sitting on a bus or train, lying in bed before going to sleep, etc. Start carrying a book with you, and during those brief moments, read instead. A little bit of reading here and there adds up.
  2. Reread your favorites. Rereads are my favorite way to get out of a slump, because rereading a book I love helps remind me why I love reading in the first place. I also love revisiting old favorites because matter how many times I’ve read a book, I always find something new in it and every reading experience is different in some way.
  3. Commit to reading every day. Whether you read three hundred pages or just three pages, try to read something every single day.
  4. Invest in an e-reader. Of course, nothing can replace the feeling of holding a printed book, but e-readers can make reading much more convenient. They are generally lighter and smaller than a physical book, so they are easier to carry around, and they allow you to carry an entire library with you everywhere, as well as purchase and download new books instantly. Check out the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite here or the Barnes & Noble NOOK here.
  5. Audiobooks. Audiobooks really changed the game for me. Since I started listening to them, I’ve doubled the number of books I’ve read. You can listen while driving, running, walking, cooking, and cleaning. I also love to listen to audio versions of books I’ve already read since I don’t have to focus as much to keep up with what’s going on, and having a narrator acting out the different characters adds a new element to a familiar story. I have an Audible membership and I love it. You can sign up for a free trial here.
  6. Switch it up. This approach is not for everyone, but I often read a few different books at a time, usually in a variety of genres. That way, depending on what I’m in the mood for, I have a lot of options I can choose from.
  7. Talk about it. Tell others about what you’re reading, and find out what they’re reading. In 2015, I created an Instagram account to share the books I’m reading and I discovered a whole community of readers who were doing the same thing (aka the “bookstagram” community). Not only have I enjoyed sharing what I’m reading with others, but seeing what other people are reading and how much they are reading really inspires me to read more and to branch out more with my reading choices. Goodreads is another great site for posting and reading reviews and interacting with other readers. If a social media book community is not for you, try joining a book club or even just asking the people you know, “What are you reading?” or “What was the last great book you read?” Finding others who like the same kinds of books as you means you’ll always have someone to get recommendations from, talk about a shared favorite book with, or even swap books with.
  8. Make a list. Keep an ongoing list of books you want to read to prevent getting overwhelmed by all the books out there. Just don’t let your list get too long! I often use Goodreads to keep track of books I want to read, books I’m currently reading, and books I’ve read. You can also set a goal for how many books you want to read each year and keep track of your progress throughout the year.
  9. Find good deals. Reading a lot doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a lot of ways to read a lot of books for free or for very little money. You can borrow books for free from your local library, or if you have an e-reader or tablet, you can subscribe to Book Bub to get alerts on ebook discounts. Amazon also offers one free book per month with Prime, as well as their Kindle Unlimited program which provides access to over a million titles for around $10 a month. At Barnes and Noble, you can get discounts every time you shop as well as free shipping for online orders with a membership. For audiobooks, check out Audible.
  10. Read what you like. Don’t read bestsellers or classics just because they are bestsellers or classics. Read what interests you and what gets you excited about reading. And don’t feel like you have to finish every book you start. If you aren’t enjoying a book, stop reading it and read something else instead.  Life is too short to suffer through a bad book.

Getting into the habit of reading requires a little practice and dedication, but reading more can be extremely rewarding, relaxing, inspiring, and just plain fun.

Hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled 2017!


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