We all know it – reading is one of the best workouts for our brain. It can increase our memory, improve our attention span, expand our vocabulary and writing skills, among other hosts of benefits.
Admittedly, I’m one of those people who buy a load of books but end up guilty not finishing the books I start. And I’m sure there are many people out there who are on the same predicament.
So I spoke to avid readers to gain some tips on how to increase the number of books we read this year:
1. Look for book subscriptions
Beth Greer, owner of Ivy & Bee Interiors, recommends that we can our eyes peeled off for book subscriptions: ‘I have seen a lot more places offering book subscriptions this year, especially as gift ideas for friends or family. The main places I’ve seen them are websites such as Not on the High Street, Etsy, and recommended in magazines.’ There are also bookstagram accounts that can help you with your reading goals like Mbawa Books.
2. Don’t force yourself
Avid reader Anna Wilson says that forcing yourself to read is not counterproductive: ‘Don’t be afraid to stop reading a book if it’s not grabbing you. In 2019, I read hardly anything because I was halfway through a book I just didn’t love. So in 2020, I made it my resolution to not finish books if I don’t love them and it was a game-changer for me.’
3. Read something light
To engage in reading, it doesn’t have to be heavy content. Hannah Louis Paksin shares her experience: ‘I speak to lots of clients who due to depression and anxiety struggle to concentrate. I encourage people to pick up loved childhood books, and ones aimed at younger readers. Shorter chapters, easier storyline, less heavy content. Usually highly effective to get them back into reading. Things like Roald Dahl. Plus the stories are fun and great for escapism.’
4. Opt for something relatable
Helen Garlick, author of No Place to Lie, detects a big interest in real-life stories and memoirs – readers want to keep it real. ‘We all love it when we find something relateable in what we read; as we see the protagonist going through their own hero’s journey, we are helped on our own,’ Helen explains.
5. Write your own life story
Rutger Bruining, founder of the world’s leading biography writing service, StoryTerrace – which is turning peoples’ life stories into beautiful books for future generations to enjoy – shares: ‘In order to improve your writing, it can be useful to learn from other writers whose work you admire. The more you read, the more likely you will learn good writing practices, and it will help you to discover the tone you want to use and the themes you want to explore in your book.’
6. Hang out with book lovers
Sarah Wheeler, a leadership and mindset coach, recommends joining a book club. Sarah says: ‘It provides structure, accountability, community, and encourages you to read things you wouldn’t normally read. Good ones to try include Rebel Book Club and Shelf Help – both have online meetings at the moment.’
7. Look beyond novels
Melanie Denyer underscores the importance of choosing a specific genre. She says: ‘Don’t be afraid to look beyond novels and into flash fiction and short stories. There are some very talented writers getting a range of stories out in shorter form, and this is just as valid as reading novels.’
8. Read more that one book at a time
If you really one to increase the number you read, it simple: read more books at a time. Maddi Cook, owner of Ritual Salon shares: ‘I have one by the bed that I read before sleep and for 10 minutes in the morning, one audiobook which I listen to while driving and getting ready, doing chores etc. Then if something requires more work and reflection, I read that in the day so it doesn’t keep me awake at night.’
Having a strategy can also help when it comes to reading, say Marilyn Devonish, CEO of TranceFromations. ‘Many people I know, both students and entrepreneurs alike are not short of strategy, where they fall short is having physical, mental, and emotional strategy for reading.’
10. Carve out some time to read
‘Whether it is your commute, your lunch break, or before you go to bed. Can’t find the time? Actively realise when you are scrolling. Mindlessly watching TV. Change that habit with a reading one,’ says Sarah Bryer, the owner and coach of Show Girl Coaching.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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