How to Read Even More in 2019
by Janna Jesson
At the end of every year, we tell ourselves we’re going to do better in the coming year and read even more than we have in the past. While this is an excellent goal to have, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. And if we get too caught up in how intimidating this task can be, we may end up giving up and feeling disappointed. Luckily, this year The Strand Book Store has a few tips on how to expand your reading so you can start your best-read year off right!
1. Set your intention — and write it down!
Decide you want to read more this year. By simply making the decision, you’re telling yourself that you intend on following through with reading more. Take it one step further by writing this goal down. There’s something about putting a pen to paper that makes things more legit for our brains. Even better, put the statement somewhere visible so you can see it throughout the year.
2. Create a reasonable goal
Although we would all like to read every single new release out this year, it’s an impossible task! Set a goal that you can achieve, and be honest with yourself about it. By setting realistic expectations, you are less likely to be disappointed at the end of the year and more likely to be proud of your accomplishments!
3. Figure out when you have free time
One problem with trying to find more time to do something is that there is no more time in the day! You have to work with what you have. In order to do this, you need to think about the times you have in the day when you’re doing things you don’t need to be doing. This requires a bit of self-awareness and self-observation. For example, you might find that on your lunch break, or on the train, or right before bed, you typically zone out on your phone. Replace that phone time with time reading a book!
4. Understand what type of reader you are
If you’re going to be reading more often, you need to figure out what type of reader you are and accept it! Maybe you are a slow reader. Instead of feeling bummed out about this, spend time figuring out what books are easiest for you to digest or which ones are worth the long haul. If you are someone who likes to read multiple books at the same time, learn to accommodate yourself by bringing a few books along with you for your commute.
5. Find ways to read in any environment
Sometimes, the only times you can find to read are times when there’s a lot going on around you, like when you’re on the subway or in a bustling cafe. Try testing different things in each environment to figure out how you can best get focused. A few that have worked for us: Drag a Strand bookmark directly under each sentence so you can focus on the sentence you’re reading. Wear earphones if you’re reading in a noisy environment, but instead of listening to music, listen to a White Noise track on repeat on your preferred music platform.
6. Mix up your formats
While some people are cool with reading physical books for the rest of their lives (and we love you for it), some of us need to change things up. You might be the type of person who could more easily get through a book if you switched between book formats with the same book! Whaaaaat? Yes, some of you could read chapters 1–5 with the book in your hands but then need to take a break and let a beautiful voice guide you through chapters 6–10. Then, maybe an e-book on your phone is what’s gonna help you get through the rest of the book. Give switching back and forth a try, and it just might work for you!
7. Keep track of the books you read
Remember when we said how important it is for our brains to write stuff down? Whether you keep a bullet journal or have an account on Goodreads, you should keep track of your accomplishments as you read. If you don’t keep track of the books you’ve read, it’s going to be a lot harder to see your success and buy yourself a congratulatory cupcake at the end of 2019.
8. Make peace with your phone
Either learn how to put your phone down, or make your phone a tool for you to read more. Although we prefer holding a physical book in front of us, we won’t judge you if you download some apps to help you read more books. There are apps that let you download e-books and audiobooks, so you can read straight from your phone and stop zoning out on Twitter. By the way *gasp* reading on your phone is still reading! Even if you’re not reading a book. Though you should read a book. Books are very good. Please buy them from us.
9. Put down the books you don’t like!
Some of you will hate us for saying this, but don’t waste your precious and limited time here on earth with a book you don’t like! Life is short, and that book might not get any better. If you’re miserable reading a book, give it 50 or so pages then move on. If moving on hurts too much, find a new book to soften the transition— and maybe even find a new home for the book you put down by reselling it to Strand or giving it to a friend!
10. Read with friends
Yes, you can drag your friends along with you in your 2019 reading endeavors. If you read a book at the same time as your friends, you’ll have so much more to talk about when you hang out. You can also be accountability buddies for one another and make sure the other person is reading by regularly checking in with them. Take it to the next level by finding a book club online, or make one with your friend and/or family. Enter our Book Club Giveaway here.
11. Give yourself credit, even if you fail
Realize that sometimes we make goals and fall short of them. That’s okay, keep it moving, and be proud of the progress that you have made. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to start over or pick up where you left off if you messed up. Take this time to re-evaluate your goals and see if they were realistic enough to begin with. If not, adjust and keep going!
12. Shop at Strand
The best way to make sure you’re reading books is to have them, amiright? Make sure you’re getting your books from Strand or a local indie bookstore in your area! You’ll get the books you need and support your community at the same time. Plus, at many of these places (including Strand), you can get great deals on used books and not break the bank with your resolution to read more in 2019. Shop Strand’s online inventory here!