As a book nerd, I feel like I should have known this much earlier but I just found out that March is National Reading Month! Whaaaaaat?! YAAASS! And it get’s better! October is National Book Month! I’m telling you guys, my bookish heart is dancing so much at the thought of 2 months to celebrate reading books (and they happen in my two favorite seasons!)
Anyway, not only is it National Reading Month, March 2nd is also National Read Across America Day. It’s a day to celebrate reading – particularly for children. You can find out more about it on the NEA website.
I so completely believe in this! I would not be the person I am today if my parents didn’t encourage my love of reading from a young age.
So in honor of this awesome reading month, I’ve got a list of ways to read more and enjoy more reading in your life. Whether you’re a fellow book lover or you need some ideas to get started, I hope this list has you wondering what you’ll read next!
1. Make a reading list
If you don’t already keep a TBR or have a list of books you’d like to read this month, then this, my dear, is the place to start! It may include a title you’ve been meaning to dive into but never made the time or even a re-read of a childhood favorite! Whether it’s 1 book or 15, settle on a manageable number and put your list somewhere where you won’t lose track of it. Goodreads is especially great for this! You need an account if you don’t have one yet. Seriously. You’re already online, get on Goodreads.com and make you an account and come right back. I’ll be here!
2. Set an appointment (and take advantage of stollen moments)
Now that you’ve got a Goodreads account, let’s talk about time.
Sometimes things just don’t get done because we don’t make it an appointment in our lives. If it’s 15 minutes in the morning or 20 before bed, set an appointment with yourself to just read.
And for those days when appointments just aren’t realistic, take advantage of stolen moments. These days, you don’t have to carry a book with you to read one (unless you’re like me and you just like to!) You can read e-books on your phone or tablet. Instead of scrolling through FB or Instagram, read while in the checkout line. Instead of picking up a magazine in the waiting room, catch up on a few pages. Think about where you can replace something with a few minutes of extra reading time and you’ll be surprised how it adds up!
3. Browse at your local library or bookstore
Pick a time when you can go to your library or bookstore and browse. You don’t have to be looking for anything in particular – just browse. Try a section you wouldn’t normally go. You never know what kinds of interesting topics and titles you might find! You might meet your next favorite book!
4. Lose yourself in a good audiobook
I’ve been an audiobook reader for a lot of years and it is the #1 way to get books in when you’re short on time! You can get them from your library (physical copies or through OverDrive) or from a service like Audible (my favorite!). Listen on your commute to work or while you’re doing chores or even getting ready for bed (like a bedtime story!). Again, those stolen moments add up and you can get through a book in no time!
5. Get your kiddos (and/or spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend) involved
Like I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged in my reading life as a child and some of my sweetest memories is my mother reading to my brother and me. If you’re a parent, don’t miss the chance to instill a love of books into your children. Help them find subjects they’re really interested in and engage them in conversation about what they’re learning. Reading is so good for developing minds and imaginations. You’ll never regret making the investment.
But what if you’re like me and don’t have kiddos? Then get your spouse (or boyfriend/girlfriend or platonic pal) involved! You don’t have to read the same book but you could! You don’t have to challenge each other to read the same amount of books, but you could! Do whatever you want but take the opportunity to talk books and encourage each other to read!
6. Set the mood
Okay, so let’s say you’ve got a chunk of time to spend on a book. Take advantage of the luxury and set the mood. Quiet piano music? Or maybe something or thematic if your read is more dramatic? Comfy clothes. A candle or essential oil diffuser? A comfy seat. A bubble bath? Maybe a snack? (Just be careful about mixing the last 2 with a library book. You don’t want any accidents!)
Seriously, if you find yourself with the treat of time, go as all out as you can and relish the moment!
7. Don’t Torture Yourself
You don’t have to finish a book if you don’t like it. And you don’t have to feel guilty about dropping a read halfway through.
On that note, I will say that if you are having a hard time getting into the book, give it some time. Put the book down and try something else. In a couple days, weeks, or even months, you might find that it was just bad timing and you get along just fine on a second or even a third try.
It may also be that the way you’re reading it isn’t right either. Maybe you need to listen to it instead of reading it on a page. I often switch methods if I’m not engaging right away. This is especially true of books that may be a bit above my education level. I might be interested in the subject matter or challenging myself to read smarter than I am but it’s too difficult to get into on paper. Have someone else read it to you. Don’t torture yourself, but don’t give up right away either!
But if you’re just not liking the subject matter or it’s not clicking no matter what you try, then ditch it and move on. Life is too short and there are too many other books to read!
8. Learn Something New
And about reading above my education level. I’m a big believer in reading well and broadly. I’m also a believer in reading to learn. One of the worst things you can do is only reading at your intelligence level. Your brain is an incredible muscle! The more you challenge it, the stronger it becomes! Be too smart to read only at your comfort level.
Pick topics you’d like to learn more about. Read reviews of books by authors you’ve never read before. I believe you’re only going to be as smart as you read, so challenge yourself to grow and mature in your reading life!
9. Share the book love
I love recommending books to other people! If you don’t already, keep a list of books that you read and notes about what you liked about it. When you’re in conversation with someone and you have the chance, you’ll be able to give good, solid recommendations!
Books are meant to be shared because good, rich conversations and experiences come from well rounded ideas and opinions. Part of how we form those ideas and opinions comes from reading well. So share the book love!
As a bookworm, I don’t need a special month to keep me reading. However, I will definitely use March as an excuse to make an extra effort to get those pages in. I’d love to know what you might be reading this month and how you may be making changes to read more!