A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
It hurts my heart when someone tells me they don’t like to read or that they don’t have the time to read. Even though it makes me sad, there’s a part of me that can relate. I’ve gone through long stretches, mostly in college and post-college, when I didn’t read and I almost lost the joy I find in reading. Now I can’t imagine life without a pile of books! Still, there are times when I feel like I’m in a reading rut and nothing seems to interest me. Like any routine, it’s hard to start again. Even knowing where to start can be a challenge since there are so many book options out there.
Once you start again, though, the routine and pleasure will come back. I recently encouraged a friend to read a book, after a long break from not reading. She listed some reasons why she was too busy to read and that was the end of the conversation. I heard back from her a few days later. She decided to pick up a book that had been lying around her house collecting dust and she flew right through it.
When I think about my non-reading years, I so wish I could have that time back. My to-be read pile is enormous and I feel sadness at all the years I wasted not reading. I could have made a bigger dent in my reading pile by now! All the things I was missing! The fun stories, the encouragement, the adventure, the humor!
If you’re thinking about getting back on the reading bandwagon, I’ve pulled ideas from my own life, things that helped me when I was in a reading funk, that I hope will get you back on track.
Start with a Book You Already Love
Recently I was going through a reading funk and needed something to jolt me out of it. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been slowly making my way through the “Anne of Green Gables” series and have loved each one. So when my most recent reading funk hit, I decided to pick up the next book in the Anne of Green Gables series, “Anne of the Island.” I was immediately pulled into the story and finished the book in a couple of days. It was exactly the recharge I needed to get excited about reading again.
Ask the Experts
Try wandering around the library or bookstore one day. The library is a no-risk option for trying out books without having to buy them, but sometimes – especially when you’re not sure what you want to read – the display tables and “employee picks” at the bookstore can be a big help to get started. Librarians are very helpful and eager too. Don’t be afraid to ask them for ideas. The librarians at my local library sit at a table with a big sign that says, “Please interrupt me!” Join Goodreads to see what your friends are reading, read a book blog (hi!) or ask friends for recommendations. I also highly recommend the podcast, What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel. I guarantee your reading list will explode!
Find the Time
Now that you have stack of books, the most obvious hindrance is finding the time to read. I know a lot of people who enjoy “binge-reading”: ignoring everything and reading non-stop until the book is finished. But that’s not always a realistic option, since usually there’s still real life to deal with. Most of my reading is done in fifteen-minute spurts of time. Sure, I’m not finishing books every day, or even every week, but I’m making progress on books. The biggest thing for me was turning off the TV at night and sitting down to read instead. Now I almost always read before bed.
Make it Convenient
Not only do I keep books piled around my house, I also try to keep a book in my purse or car for those in-between waiting times – during kids practices, carpool lines, etc. Trust me, the updates on Facebook can wait. I’ve also started listening to audio books while driving around town or while I’m doing chores in the house.
Start or Join a Book Club
I would not read nearly as much as I do without my book club. Several years ago, I really wanted to start a book club. I love discussing books with other people and I knew I needed the accountability to read more books. I asked around and got a long list of reasons and excuses of why people couldn’t join. A couple of years later, I was out to dinner with a group of friends and we decided to pop into a bookstore before heading home (I think we were hoping the babysitters would get the kids to bed before we arrived home) and, as we were browsing around, we decided to start a reading club. I’m happy to report that our book club has been going strong for five years and it brings me so much joy! I’ve been challenged to read books that I would have never pick up on my own but that I really enjoyed. Other than actually learning to read, it’s probably the best thing I’ve done for my reading life.
I hope these tips and ideas will inspire you to get out of your reading rut or to read more! If you have any additional ideas, please share them in the comments below!