Most book lovers want to read more books. It’s not all about the numbers, but when there are hundreds of books floating around social media – from the ones that have been published for years and are earnestly loved by many book bloggers to the ones just about to be published – it’s difficult to not want to read all the books. This creates a never-ending list of books that you need to be reading. There’s no way you can read all of the books that are published every year, and what about all the ones you didn’t read the year before, and the year before that? And everyone around is reading 20 books a month or reaching 365 books a year and you’ve just finished your 2nd book and it’s the 23rd of the month and now you feel like a fake book lover. What do you do?
1. Don’t Stress
Don’t let the pressure of book media get to you. Someone is always going to have read more than you, and there are always going to be more books than you can ever hope to read. If you let that worry you, you’re more likely to hit a reading slump because “what’s the point?“. Reading is first and foremost something you do because you love it, not so you can proudly announce you’ve read 30 books this month. If you have, that’s great and definitely be proud of that achievement, but it is more important to enjoy the process of reading.
2. Create a Possibility Pile, Not a TBR
Now, I did not come up with the name ‘Possibility Pile’ – I definitely saw the term used elsewhere and then it starting circulating on bookstagram like wildfire (if it was you that came up with it do let me know) – but I love the term far more than I love monthly TBRs. A TBR is a to-do list, whilst a Possibility Pile is a opportunity to chose some of the books you’d like to read in a given month, without the adding pressure of feeling a need to read them all in that time. It makes your TBR a little less overwhelming than choosing between all the unread books on your bookshelves, but doesn’t limit you to a strict pile of 10 books from which you cannot deviate.
About halfway through the month I start to think about what books I might like to read in the following month, and put together a rough list. It makes me really excited for the next month of reading, and it makes me want to read more than if I just spent the month staring at my piles (yes, plural) of unread books or getting stressed because I am only halfway through my TBR for the month by Jan 29th.
3. Vary your Books
This depends on your personal preferences, but if you read multiple genres through multiple mediums (physical, audiobook, graphic novel), make sure you have a mix of these to read each month. If you have a list of ten 500 page classics, you probably won’t get through those that quickly, and it won’t motivate you to read (unless you just adore long classics, in which case carry on!). I love a mix of genres – historical fiction, contemporary, thrillers and romance – and I also love audiobooks as well as physical books, and have recently got into graphic novels. If you can have an audiobook, a physical book and a poetry collection on the go at the same time, or even in succession, you are far more likely to finish more books that just trudging through a very similar reading list.
I also really like to alternate between short and long reads. If I’ve just read a 400 page novel, I tend to then opt for something shorter. And if I’ve just read a really light, cheesy romance, I’ll then go onto something a little darker or more serious. This just helps keep me motivated to read, and stops my reading feeling repetitive.
4. Have a Reading Routine
I am an ultra-planner, so I have everything I am going to do in a day mapped out from beginning to end. If it’s uni work, my part-time job, writing a blog post, seeing friends, reading, shopping or anything in between, it’s in my planner. I have set times where I almost always make time for reading, and it just means that I don’t get to Saturday and realise I haven’t read all week. Usually, I read during breakfast as I’m always up before my housemates, and also just before I go to bed. For how long depends on what I’ve been doing that day, how much work I have or if, say, I’ve been having a movie night with friends. It doesn’t happen every night, but I have a routine that almost certainly guarantees I’ll fit in some reading during the day.
5. Read What you Want to Read
This sounds like a really obvious one to end with, as it would be pretty silly to read books you don’t want to, surely? But actually, especially if you spend a lot of time in the book community, it’s surprisingly easy to get swept up in the hype of a book and buy it just because everyone else loves it, and convince yourself that you’ll love it too. I don’t like horror. I don’t like horror films, and I don’t like the idea of horror books – even though I’ve never read one. But when I see horror books on bookstagram that are getting tons of 5 star reviews, I become tempted. I have to remind myself that I wouldn’t actually want to read it, and wouldn’t have picked it up in a book shop.
Similarly, if you’re someone that has the option of receiving an ARC, it can be so easy to say yes because you’re just thrilled that a publishing house or an author want you to review their book, or you think oo, free book yes please. It doesn’t matter that it’s not your usual thing; you’ll enjoy it. But reading things you’re just not that interested in can easily put you in a reading slump, and you possibly won’t even realise you’re doing it until you have 5 horror ARCs to read in a month and you don’t even like horror! (Don’t worry, I haven’t actually done this – yet).
So, these are my 5 main tips for reading more books. I am by no means someone that reads hundreds of books in a year, and if you’re aiming to do that you probably need someone else’s blog post! But, I have really increased the number of books I get through on a monthly basis, and baring these things in mind has definitely helped!
And the most important tip: whether you read 1 book a month or 30, if you love reading, you are a book lover.
What would be your tip for reading more books? Do you have a similar blog post? I’d love to check it out.