How to Read Better

It's resolution season and the time of year good intentions for more reading are made. Book lists from the past 365 days can make even the most seasoned of readers feel like they're slacking. But like most things, reading is better when practiced with quality over quantity. Here are some ideas to make reading feel less like a resolution and more like the delight it should be.

Read the right books

It’s common that in conversation, friends will reveal that they simply don’t like reading, end of discussion. While this can be the case, I usually figure they’re just reading the wrong books. A good recommendation is priceless. I’m lucky my best friend works at an iconic bookstore, but for those less fortunate, Instagram is a great place to start. Really! Try following authors, podcast-ers, friends you admire and see what they’re reading. Chances are you’ll like it, too. Some of my favorite books, especially poetry, have come from conversations with independent bookstore booksellers. It’s their job to know what releases would fit your reading style and to recommend unexpected backstock. So don't be afraid to ask and know that the best books are usually surprises anyway. 

Get social

For some readers, this looks like a monthly book club and for others it's more like a quick email after completing a novel. Whatever form it takes, books are best enjoyed shared. And talking books turns out to be one of my favorite conversations. My aunt and I write letters updating each other on our latest reads, with a quick synopsis and whether we think the other would enjoy. Ruby usually hands me books she knows I'll love, waiting for a proper debrief until after I finish. In fifth grade, I was in a lunch hour book club that usually included a mom dropping off Chinese take out for the lot of us while we dove into Christian literature that ALWAYS involved an Amish community. The key is finding what works and letting it hold you accountable while it inspires you. 

Making time to read

It's wishful thinking to assume reading is always a fun, page-turning adventure. Some of my most beloved picks took me fifty pages to get into or even a few tries entirely. The truth is that reading is a practice. When I'm early in a huge, wintery novel, I make note to read fifty pages in my planner every day. This encourages me to take time to make some tea, settle in, and give the book the space to win me over. Other times, making time to read looks like dropping by my favorite bookstore in my neighborhood then to a coffee shop and losing myself in whatever caught my eye. Being intentional is important for all of life, reading included. 

Digging into backstock

Any reader knows the beauty of a good personal library. My issue is allowing my 'to be read' stack surpass my already marked up piles. Browsing my own shelves for my next read has been a great way to become more familiar with the books I own. Many of them are classics I bought for a great cover, honestly. I've talked about seasonal reading before, saying that winter is my ideal season for those looming novels in my shelves. Take time to see what reading it working for you, guilt free. There are weeks I am on a strict Real Simple backstock only reading diet and others I spend hours before bed in the world of Hemingway. Take stock of what you have and read what feels right.

Here's to a new year filled with brilliant books and blissful reading. xx