So you’re still sorting through your resolutions for the new year, one of which is to read more. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. Here are a few tips to help you read more in 2017.
▪ Don’t try to read when you get into bed for the night. Admit it. You’re just going to fall asleep. You’re not 21 anymore (note: if you are 21, you can still do this even if you get home at 4 in the morning). Instead, set aside an hour earlier in the evening for reading, preferably in a non-reclining position. You can still watch a little TV afterward and the pressure will be off.
▪ Step away from your phone. Like everyone, I am engaged in an intense, ongoing, frequently lurid romance with my phone. Those notification beeps are a siren song that lure me away from books, dinner, even direct human contact. But be strong! Put your phone in another room while you read or at least out of arm’s reach.
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▪ On your days off, schedule some time to read. First thing in the morning with a cup of coffee works for me. Your mileage may vary. But pick an hour and stick to it.
▪ If a book doesn’t grab you, give up. I have been told my 25-page rule is too hasty, so let’s make it 50 pages. If a book hasn’t grabbed you 50 pages in, move along and feel no guilt. It’s the author’s responsibility to reel you in, not yours to finish something you don’t like. I’m still bitter about the time I wasted on Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch” only to abandon it 200 pages in.
▪ When you’re tackling a big book, set aside a couple of hours to get into it. Finally tackling that Ron Chernow Hamilton biography? Great. Get off to a good start and don’t try to read in short spurts until you’re hooked.
▪ Don’t be afraid of genres. Sure, we all want to say we just polished off Proust in the original French, but let’s be honest: The latest Michael Connelly is probably a lot more fun to read (and it’ll take less time, too). Don’t feel guilty about enjoying thrillers or crime novels or sci fi or romance or horror or westerns or erotica or — well, anything.
▪ Keep a list of what you read. You can do it via Goodreads or keep your own online log or — if you’re really analog — get a nice journal and write down all the titles you’ve finished. It’s a weirdly effective incentive.
▪ Speaking of Goodreads, join an online reading challenge. If you’re aiming for more specific goals sign up on Goodreads or check out sites like popsugar.com for new ways to challenge yourself.
▪ Try audiobooks. Nothing makes a commute better or a driver calmer than listening to an interesting book in traffic. Trust me. I drive on the Palmetto daily, and I haven’t killed anyone yet.
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