How to Read More?
It’s that time of the year when the question on everyone’s lips is ‘what are your new year’s resolutions?’ My stock response is usually to eat less and exercise more-I seldom manage either! This year though, I have a definite target that I am determined to meet. I want to read more. The question is how to read more?
As a book lover, I do tend to read a reasonable amount anyway, but this year I really struggled to meet my Goodreads target of 50 books and I have been burning the midnight oil to squeeze the last few texts into 2017. This has been a shame as it has detracted from the actual enjoyment of reading; a librarian not enjoying her reading needs drastic action!
Ways to Read More
In 2018 I am hoping to reignite my passion for reading for sheer enjoyment. I also hope to encourage others to read more too. (With kids I'd read aloud with them, but I can't do that with grown ups.) This is an utterly selfish act as I am hoping it will spur me on in my own reading aims! As the host of our next book club meeting, (see our proud members below), I am planning to persuade the group to take a New Years’ book club pledge to meet more frequently and to read more books. Book clubs are not only about drinking wine! In addition, I would like to set up a book challenge. This might be something along the lines of agreeing to read all of the man-booker shortlisted titles and run a sweep-stake on which will win! The idea is that this will stimulate book based chat and if I am the one to set up the challenge, then I will also have to set a good example and complete it!
From this moment on, I’m also going to shift my mindset and persuade myself that it is ok to stop reading a book if I am not enjoying it! Over the last few months I have wasted too much time ploughing through texts I have found uninspiring – George Saunders 'Lincoln in the Bardo' springs to mind – sorry to those who enjoyed it! I’m also going to find better times to read. Days are so busy and full that I often don’t get to pick up my book until I get into bed. Whilst I definitely don’t want to stop this habit, as it is a great way to unwind, there is a fairly high chance that I will fall asleep with my book on my face and glasses askew! So in addition, instead of browsing social media during journeys and down time in hospital waiting rooms etc, I plan to make sure that I have a book in my handbag and read it!
There are other suggestions I've recently heard of for increasing reading productivity which I know won’t work for me. I can’t, for example, have several fiction book on the go at once. How can you live in several stories at the same time? Also, I can’t skim read. Those ads that talk about CEOs reading huge numbers of books per year by just pulling out the key information, seem to me to be a very reductive approach to a very wonderful activity. I want to become immersed and escape into the book I've invested in.
When reflecting why I have found it difficult to make time to read this year the answer was easy to find: The hours I’ve spent on social media has sapped away the time I used to spend reading! So it is time to change. If I do keep this resolution then it will be the metaphorical equivalent of making my mind and body fit – perhaps listening to a few audio books whilst walking and swimming will mean that I will make my actual body fit too – a great side effect. This will help me read more.
Reducing Screen Time
To be successful though I’ve some hard habits to break and some great new ones to make. During the time writing this post I’ve noticed that I have picked up my phone several times to check for notifications. A self-intervention is necessary and I am going to have to learn to switch off my phone or put it away! So I'm heading off to make a list of titles that I simply must read in 2018 and to think of more ways to ensure I read more. if you have ideas to share or would like to set a reading target with me then do get in touch. Happy New Year and Happy Reading!