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“To read more” is always a common New Year’s resolution How To Turn Your New Year Resolution Into A Success Story How To Turn Your New Year Resolution Into A Success Story Do resolutions last beyond January? It might be impossible to stick to your goal one hundred percent, but with the tips here, you can do a pretty good job of it. Read More .

There are a lot of great benefits to reading — it can help you escape and de-stress, learn new things, connect with people, make you think in new ways, and gain insight into the world. But spending more time reading isn’t always an easy prospect.

Here are 10 strategies to do it this year.

Make It Important

This is crucial — if it’s not important to you, you’re not going to do it. We’re all busy, and finding time to read isn’t just going to magically happen. You have to make time for reading because you love to do it. If “read more” is one of your goals for the year 5 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Goals 5 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Goals Goal setting is a great way to cut down on procrastination and boost productivity. If you don’t have goals, you don’t have direction. Without direction, it’s easy for you to feel lost and confused. Fortunately,... Read More , write it down and make sure others know about it.

Goodreads has a great “reading challenge” feature that lets you choose the number of books you’d like to read this year and track your progress. Think of how many books you read last year, add a few, and set your goal. Shared goals on this social site for books An Unofficial Guide to Goodreads for Readers and Writers An Unofficial Guide to Goodreads for Readers and Writers I am digital marketer who works in traditional publishing, and I am also a writer. And though I am not self-published, I have two words for those who are: Goodreads STAT. Read More can be motivating.

Goodreads

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You can always find an online community How To Find An Online Community To Support Your New Year Resolutions How To Find An Online Community To Support Your New Year Resolutions You've made a great resolution, and you're ready to stick to it in 2015 . . . now what? Set yourself up for success by finding an online community to help meet your goals this... Read More that will help support your goal — whether it’s as impersonal as Reddit or as intimate as your spouse making sure you are reading from time to time.

Set A Time To Read

A few things are true of most of the people I know who read a lot, and one of those things is that they read before they go to sleep. You could spend the 30 or 60 minutes before going to sleep checking Facebook on your phone, or you could spend it reading a book!

reading-time

It doesn’t have to be before bed, though — some people read in the morning, some people read after work, some people spend several hours on Saturday and Sunday plowing through their current book. The point here is to be consistent whenever possible. Getting into a pattern will help you keep up your reading habit How To Form A New Habit When It Seems Too Hard To Keep Going How To Form A New Habit When It Seems Too Hard To Keep Going Habits don't form overnight. Every year, we make these resolutions that call for major changes. If you want a new habit, you need to be ready for pitfalls and how to overcome them. Read More . Find a time that works for you and try to stick with it.

Read Everywhere

This is another thing that committed readers often do — they don’t just read when they’re in their easy chair. They read on the bus, while they’re in line at the DMV, on their lunch break at work, and at the gym between sets. A few minutes here and there really adds up over a week!

Carrying a book with you at all times is easy when you’re reading smaller books, but e-readers What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? Read More make it a cinch to carry hundreds of books in your pocket. Fill up your Kindle or Nook with a bunch of books that you want to read, and you’ll be set to read wherever you find yourself. Keeping the Kindle app New Kindle For iOS Features Make It A Serious eReader For Studying New Kindle For iOS Features Make It A Serious eReader For Studying The latest update adds features to the iOS version of Amazon's Kindle e-reader that makes it more useful than Apple's own iBooks for reading eBooks and PDFs. Read More on your phone, tablet, and computer will enable you to read when you’re not expecting to.

Make Reading Social

We generally think of reading as a solitary activity, but there are a number of things that you can do to make it social. You could join a book club or an online discussion group. You can encourage your friends to read the same books so you can all talk about them. There are plenty of communities on Reddit for book lovers, and Goodreads is a great place to find other people reading the same books as you are.

reading-together

My MakeUseOf colleague, Mihir only reads books that are recommended by friends and trusted book reviewers The 7 Best Book Review Podcasts & Shows To Discover New Books The 7 Best Book Review Podcasts & Shows To Discover New Books Read More  — he knows that they have similar taste in books, and he’s confident in their recommendations. He says it keeps him from wasting him on bestsellers that probably wouldn’t appeal to him. Seek out people with similar taste and see what they’re reading!

Take Part In Fun Reading Challenges

One of the ways that you can make reading social is to take part in a reading challenge with another person or a group (though you can easily do them by yourself). One of the great things about reading challenges is that they encourage you to read books that you might not have otherwise picked up.

Reading Challenge

For example, this reading challenge on Pinterest includes “a book with a number in the title,” “a book set in the future,” “a book with magic,” “a book your mom loves,” and “a play.” There are tons of reading challenges out there — just search for “reading challenge 2015” on Google or Pinterest and see what comes up. You might end up enjoying something you wouldn’t have picked up on your own.

Read Books That Are Useful To You

This applies mostly to non-fiction 5 Non-Fiction Books Every Technology Geek Must Read 5 Non-Fiction Books Every Technology Geek Must Read You can learn a lot about consumer technology and its effect on society by reading blogs, but online sources have a tendency to follow the latest fad instead of providing exhaustive research of a topic.... Read More , a genre that’s often neglected when discussing strategies for reading more. Everyone has issues and topics that they’re interested in, whether they’re self-improvement, current events, history, business management, math, physics, cultural theory, agile development, or learning new skills. There are books for all of these.

programming-books

Saikat says that he often reads books that spur him to move outside his comfort zone, as this is something that he tries to do on a regular basis. These books encourage him to step outside of the box in different ways that he may not have thought of otherwise. Think the issues that you’d like to know more about and seek them out in books.

Don’t Finish Books You’re Not Into

This is a strategy that some people disagree with, but a lot of people find it useful. If you’re not enjoying or getting anything out of a book, you can just put it down and move on to something else. Many people find this difficult, but others say it’s a huge help in reading more.

If you’re not enjoying a book, it’s going to be much more difficult to pick it up and keep reading. You’re more likely to find something else to do instead of read. By quitting before you get too far into the book, you can start one that interests you and blaze through pages that you enjoy. Some people say that you should give a book 50 pages, but you can use whatever works for you. You can always go back and try to read it again later — some books that I wasn’t able to finish the first time have gone on to become favorites.

Reread Old Favorites

Another one that some people will disagree, but one that helps me a lot. Some of my favorite books—Dune, The Passage, Dracula — I’ve read two or three times. I know that there’s a whole world of books out there and that I want to read as many of those books as possible, but there’s something really comforting in going back to an old favorite.

pulp-classic-book-covers

I don’t have a system for when I go back to a book that I’ve already read, but occasionally I’ll feel the desire to reread a classic that I absolutely love. There’s no reason not to do this — if you get that feeling, embrace it. You can always discover new things about your favorite books, especially if you weren’t totally engaged with it the first time you read it.

Save Certain Books For Vacation

Another tip from Mihir. Some books are best read when you’re on vacation, whether you’re at the beach, the top of a mountain, or in an urban resort. Mihir says that crime and thriller novels can keep him engaged on regular days, but that biographies and autobiographies are best kept for when he’s on vacation.

Keep your favorite genre of book safely aside for the right time to get into it or conquer it when you can dedicate yourself totally. Picking your books beforehand is a great way to make sure you have a great one ready to go.

Read Different Formats

If your goal is to read more, you probably have books in mind, but don’t forget that there are other kinds of reading that can be fun, educational, and very rewarding as well. Magazines Find Great Free Magazines for Your iPad Find Great Free Magazines for Your iPad Digital editions emerged at a time when the Internet had already made a sufficient dent in the print industry’s funds, but a little too late to stem the flow of free information from new entirely... Read More , newspapers, blogs, and longform articles Too Long But Do Read: 6 Places To Go To For Some Of The Best Reading On The Web Too Long But Do Read: 6 Places To Go To For Some Of The Best Reading On The Web TLDR is now an accepted part of Internet slang. Too Long Didn't Read is symptomatic of our attention spans…or rather lack of it. But there's a subtle shift that's happening beneath the layers of the... Read More , all have something to offer. Choosing the right one might be difficult, but with a bit of searching you should be able to find something that you’re excited about reading.

woman-reading-magazine

Next time you think about signing on to Facebook for a few minutes or checking your work email in the evening, try reading something instead. Here are 8 great places to find things worth reading 8 Great Places To Find Articles Worth Reading On The Web 8 Great Places To Find Articles Worth Reading On The Web The Internet is arguably the best news morgue on the planet right now. And apart from that great collection of old articles, thousands of new ones are added every day. Find the good ones. Read More to get you started. You could even read longform articles on your Kindle How to Read Great Long-Form Articles on Your Kindle With Delivereads How to Read Great Long-Form Articles on Your Kindle With Delivereads I love my Kindle. Being able to read an endless variety of books on one slim device with a paper-like display makes me feel like I’m actually living in the future. But sometimes, a book... Read More !

Get Reading!

These 10 tips should give you plenty of ideas for where to get started on your goal of reading more 5 Tips To Read More Books Every Year 5 Tips To Read More Books Every Year There are just so many amazing books out there. To never have finished at least some is a regret waiting to be felt. Forestall it by reading more and reading smart with the following tips. Read More this year. Whether you’re setting out to read a certain number of books (my goal for the year is 30 — there, now it’s out in the universe) or just to spend a bit more time learning online, you have the tools you need. Now, find the motivation How to Kill Motivation Sucking Vampires & Finish What You Start How to Kill Motivation Sucking Vampires & Finish What You Start Life projects that are stalled? Yes, we all have them. The story is always the same. We start with an idea but never see it through. Break the brittle obstacles and persevere with these tips. Read More . Get out there and do it!

Are you planning on reading more this year? What strategies will you use? What do you recommend to others who want to read more? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credits: books (edited), Vintage books and clock on wooden table, happy young couple relaxing via Shutterstock; Michael Coté, Cory Doctorow via flickr; Woman lying on a bench via Shutterstock.

  1. Jackson
    January 20, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Great article, Dann. I can't agree more with #2. Especially with a hectic schedule, you HAVE to set time aside to read. Otherwise it just won't happen.

    I'm seriously considering #7 mainly because I'm currently reading a book that's not that easy to digest. A part of me is tempted to swap it for another book, but I'm slightly OCD in the sense that I have to finish what I started. I guess I'll just plough through.

    • Dann Albright
      January 20, 2015 at 11:45 am

      I definitely understand not wanting to quit a book in the middle. That was the only thing that made me finish Moby Dick. But I've found that if I'm not into something, I get over the guilt of not finishing it pretty quickly once I've gotten into something that I really enjoy. You can always set a book aside and read another, then come back to it and see if you're more into it in a week or two. That might be a good solution!

  2. Harry
    January 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Audiobooks, audiobooks, audiobooks! I'm permanently listening to one any time I wander round the house or drive or cook or do anything mundane.

    • Dann Albright
      January 20, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Yes, that's definitely a great way to get through more stories! I've never been much a fan of audiobooks myself, but I'll have to give them a shot again. I think I might like non-fiction more than fiction audiobooks, but I haven't tried any audiobook in several years. Have you ever used the Kindle read-aloud feature? I'm not sure if that would be a good way to continue on a book that I've been reading when I'm on the go.

    • Harry
      January 20, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      The matching thing? I haven't cause you have to buy both the audiobook and the eBook. I'm happy to separate the two.

    • Dann Albright
      January 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      I just looked it up, and some Kindles have the ability to do text-to-speech. That's what I was thinking of. I would imagine it doesn't sound great, though.

  3. Donald Wheeler
    January 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Two or three times? I have favorites that I reread annually, and some that I have probably read at least two dozen times ... I think that one of the best things about an old favorite is that you can launch yourself into imagination in just a few sentences.

    • Dann Albright
      January 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      You bring up a great point here—some books you'll just never tire of. Which ones have you read two dozen times? I'd love to know; I don't think I've ever read anything more than three times, possibly four or five for my favorite short stories.

    • Donald Wheeler
      January 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Three spring to mind
      The Hobbit - one of the printings from the 70s (I think), with paper thin pages - wore through it and am on my third copy
      The Chronicles of Prydain - I am not sure if I have read all five that often, but I have read the series at least 15-20 times
      Code Complete - annual reading. Wore through two copies of this
      At the Mountains of Madness, Penguin classic edition - mostly just the eponymous story and a couple others but at least a couple time a year

    • Dann Albright
      January 20, 2015 at 11:43 am

      I can definitely understand reading The Hobbit multiple times—that's a really fun story. I'm familiar with the others, though—I'll have to check them out! If you've read a series 15 or more times, seems like I should at least give it a shot.

  4. Hildy J
    January 19, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    One more suggestion - do it for free.

    Check your local library's e-book and e-zine collections.

    • Dann Albright
      January 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Yes, that's a great idea! I need to do that more often. It would require getting over my compulsion to own as many books as possible . . . but it would also save me money. Definitely worth giving it a shot!

    • Dann Albright
      January 20, 2015 at 11:41 am

      I just remembered another tip related to this—there are always a lot of Kindle books on sale for $1. It makes it easy to keep my Kindle stocked up so I always have a next book to read. There's nothing from the best seller lists there, but the book I'm reading now from one of those sales is actually quite good!

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