There aren’t many ways to unwind before bed better than with a good book. Whether you’re an avid reader or not, books offer readers several health benefits. The hardest part of reading, however, is fitting it into your busy schedule. Even if you have some downtime, there are so many distractions. Then you have that show you need to catch up on! How could you possibly read a book? Trust us, it’s possible.
Working It Into Your Schedule
The easiest time to fit reading into your schedule is at the beginning or end of your day. If you’re a morning person, get your day started with a book over coffee. As we’ve mentioned before, reading is perfect to lull you asleep at night. Reading a physical book or an e-reader with the blue light filter turned on relaxes you. Many sleep experts believe setting a pre-sleep ritual signals to your body that it’s bedtime. Reading is one of the top ways of doing this.
How much you read can depends entirely on your schedule. You don’t need to read for hours in order to finish more books this year. Reading in 20-page spurts can add up to 30 books in a year. This amount is achievable in the morning or evening, and you can read more if you’re able.
You can get even more reading in if you follow Steven King’s advice. Basically, fit reading in whenever you get the chance. Standing in line for a movie? You’ve got time to read. Waiting for the movie to start? You’ve got time to read. Riding the bus back home after the movie? You better believe that’s a chance to read. Even if you’re just reading a few pages here and there, it’ll add up. Again, the trick is to make time to read, not just read when the mood strikes you.
Join a Book Club
Want a way to find more books, an excuse to read them, and a way to enjoy them more? Join a local book club! Many bookstores will allow groups to host events, while others will meet in homes or coffee shops. The group will pick out a book that they’ll read separately. Before meetings, members read to a certain part of the book and discuss it during the meetings. This is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and discover some fascinating new books!
There are several ways to find local book clubs. Asking around at these locations may give you some promising leads. Websites like Meetup.com, Reader’s Circle, or My-Bookclub can also help you locate nearby groups. If you’re not in the mood to leave the house, there are many online book clubs you can join.
Oprah’s Book Club is one of the largest in the country, where Oprah Winfrey will select a new book each month. Goodreads, a book search and discussion site, has tons of groups that you can join. Other online book clubs include the Wired book club, the Andrew Luck Book Club, and Our Shared Shelf.
Now that you’ve joined a book club or started reading more often, there are a few other ways to help you read more this year. For example, when you sit down to read, make sure there are no distractions. Turn off the TV and silence your cell phone. If you’re just starting to read regularly, these other forms of entertainment may be very tempting. This is also one advantage of a physical book over an e-reader which is especially effective if you’re reading before bed. The fewer distractions, the more relaxing your bedtime read will be.
When you begin reading more often, one of the most important skills to acquire is the ability to quit. There is a sense that once you start a book, you should soldier on until it’s done. Reading in that way can actually slow you down as a reader and turns the activity into a chore, not entertainment. If a book simply isn’t clicking for you, there’s nothing wrong with putting it aside and trying something new. After all, you can always come back to it later.
There are plenty of markers people use to determine how much of a book they’ll read. Whether it’s 50 pages in or 5, the important marker is when reading the book feels like something you have to do and not something you want to do. Once you hit that “do I have to?” wall, quit that book and find something you want to read.
If you haven’t joined a group, one way to help you choose a new book and lessen the chance of not liking it is to follow a curated list. You can find these online at places like Amazon or Goodreads. These lists quickly give you a new option and show you something similar to what you just finished.
You can keep the story going, even on the road, by picking up the audio version of the book. You can listen to an audiobook in the car or going for a run or while doing something you wouldn’t normally be able to read during.
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With so many avenues for entertainment to choose from, reading has too often fallen to the bottom of the list. Despite this, there are many reasons why reading is great. By following these tips, you’ll gain a hobby, an escape, and, in some cases, new friends. With that in mind, crack a book today. Happy reading!