Ten Ways To Read Better (Or How To Improve Your Reading)

Did you know I haven’t finished a book in a month? Well, almost a month, but it feels like ages. Sometimes life gets in the way, or you just simply can’t find the time or the mood to read, or because 2015 is a #ReadWomen year, you want to read more! No matter the reason, I’ve encountered people who simply wanted to start reading on a daily basis, and people who wished to devote more time to their reading but couldn’t find it. So, after much thinking, here are some tips that always bring me closer to my books:

How to read more

1. Make reading a priority: Promise yourself you will go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual, and just sit in bed with a good book. It’s time to read, so just read. I know this is hard, because we all have very busy and chaotic lives, but think of reading as nourishing to both your mind and body. You will feel more relaxed and happier after you read.

2. Keep all your devices off: Internet access and TV are evil to reading routines, so keep all your devices off and focus only on the book in your hands. This comes from someone to who binge-watching CSI is a weekly routine, but sometimes you need – you have to – turn everything off and go back to paper. Paper is almost always better.

3. Try it for at least 30 minutes: Research suggests that only after 30 minutes devoted to reading, not only can you start falling back in love with reading, but you can also create a daily habit that you will eventually need.

4. Read what you like: This may sound obvious, but maybe you’re a sci-fi lover, or you prefer YA novels, or comics, it’s totally fine! Make peace with your reading tastes and embrace them. I love newly published crime fiction, and for society it always feels less than other genres – especially so-called ‘The Classics’ – so don’t let society tell you there is right reading and wrong reading. There. is. not.

5. Create a cozy, warm environment: I like reading in my bed, with two lamps on and fairy lights rather than with the main light turned on. Find what relaxes you. Some people like to sip tea while reading, while others prefer eating. I am an advocate for fluffy blankets and cushions because I don’t fall asleep with a book in my hands, but to each her own!

6. Keep track of what you read: Taking notes, or just simply noting down the titles will help you realise that you’re actually doing some reading and – most importantly some thinking.

7. Don’t worry about quantity, worry about quality: If you’re up to a challenge with yourself, that’s fine, but make reading something you can look forward to even after the most stressful and terrible of days instead of just another task to tick off your To-Do list. Make sure your reading time is high quality (and a priority!)

8. Find people who are also interested in books: I never feel like reading as much as when I’m on Twitter and my friends are sharing their love for a book they’re reading or an upcoming release. Human beings are social animals, and even though reading is partly a lonely activity, you can talk and share everything with other people and keep each other inspired.

9. Take a book with you, always: I commute a lot, so you can always find a book in my handbag, ready for the journey. You never know when you’ll find yourself alone during the day, and is there any better company than a book?

10. There is a reason: Remember how it felt to read a book when you were 10, or that summer ages ago you devoured a book in two days. If you are a book collector, like me, you can stick a post-it to your books and write the reasons why you bought it/requested it. You are clever, there must be a reason why that book is taking up space in your bedroom. Just try to remember it.

22 thoughts on “Ten Ways To Read Better (Or How To Improve Your Reading)

    1. Thank you, Susan. There are days when I can contain myself, but when it gets really bad, I just turn everything off, and I’m usually too lazy to turn it up again for a quick look at Twitter or Instagram.

    1. Doesn’t it? I have a notebook and I write the titles of everything I read there since 2010. Not only can I see what I’ve read, but how my reading has improved as I got to know myself and my reading tastes more.

  1. Love this list, lots of good advice. I especially agree with number 4, always read what you like never what you feel you have to like.

    1. Thank you, Alice. After a Literature degree, all I can say is that planned reading doesn’t work for me at all. Yesterday I finished a book and I had no idea what to read next, but I knew right away as I looked at my pile.

  2. I think I often fall prey to not sticking out the 30 minutes in my major reading slumps, but I definitely can see the validity in that research. I know that once I hang on for a little while I tend to get much more invested and have a better reading experience overall.

    1. Well, this reading slump had a personal tiny trouble as a component, so I tried not to be too hard on myself. Usually, when I don’t feel like reading I know I’m about to either get sick or will have to work really, really hard the following days, so I tend to go with the flow. But once everything’s over, sticking to 30 minutes does really help to get you back on track (unless you have some little furry thing, with a ball, staring at you, beady eyes and all!).

  3. No finished books in a month? Oh dear. I hope you’re still finding ways to read/will be able to say you’ve finished something soon! But excellent tips–I really should practice #1, but find it so hard to actually put into practice. Maybe I’ll start small–15 minutes?

    1. I finished it yesterday, Amanda. Yay!!! I was just… not on the mood for reading anything. But I’m feeling much better, and even started a new book last night.

  4. Great post! There is always time for reading if you make it a priority. At the moment, my reading time is after Giles has gone to bed. I aim for an hour a day, but often I’m nodding off after 30 mins πŸ˜›

    1. Well, one of my deepest fears is that if I become a mother I’ll stop reading, because I don’t know how you do it all. I think 30 minutes is already a lot taking into account you’re in charge of a toddler all day!

  5. Great tips, Elena! The boyfriend actually just started doing #1. He wants to start reading, and that’s the only way he can really find time to do it every day.

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