US President Harry S. Truman once famously said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” In our hyper-connected, always-digital world, the ability to read and process information is becoming more critical than ever.
As a nation, we are reading less, as evidenced by the decline in newspaper readership, book sales, library use, and literary awards.
Despite this worrying trend, many people set ambitious goals for themselves each year regarding books. For example, they might say they want to read 52 books this year instead of the typical three or four.
However, often these people fail to reach their goals because they try to take on too much at once. So rather than setting yourself up for failure by trying to read an entire book a week, you should focus on more achievable tasks that will still allow you to read more books than you usually would.
Here are seven simple tricks that will help you get through more books in a year.
1. Choose One Book to Read Each Month
While it may seem impossible, if you were to try to read just one book each month, then by the end of the year, you would have read 12 books.
Even if you can’t find a book that grabs your attention, you can always go back to one of the classics or pick up something off the latest New York Times Best Seller List!
2. Set Aside Time Every Day and Keep a Book by Your Nightstand
A great way to ensure that you read every day is to set aside a specific time to read.
Perhaps, before bed or during your lunch break at work are ideal times for reading. The key is to make sure that the book you choose is within reach, so you don’t have an excuse not to pick it up and start reading.
3. Keep a List of Books You Want to Read and Update It Often
One of the best ways to ensure that you read more books is by keeping track of them. Try using an old-fashioned paper notebook or even a spreadsheet to keep track of the books you want to read.
With this list on hand, you can choose what to read next and feel accomplished as you add finished books to the list!
4. Read a Book Via Audiobook Once a Month
If you commute to work or have lengthy commutes in general, listening to an audiobook might be the best way to read more books. Rather than playing music or podcasts as you drive, try listening to a book instead. You’ll notice that your commute never feels so long!
5. Join a Book Club
If you can’t commit to reading one book a month or even every other month, then join a book club! Most clubs meet once a month and read any number of books. Some groups might meet monthly and only read short stories, while others might meet bi-monthly to discuss entire novels.
6. Break Larger Books Into Smaller, Readable Pieces
If you have a long book that you want to read, but don’t think you can finish it in one sitting, then break it down into smaller pieces. For example, if you are reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and don’t think you can make it through the entire 1,000 pages in a single year, then take on a section of the book each month.
7. Read for 10 Minutes, Pause, and Come Back Later
If you want to finish a long book or even several books in a year, start by reading one small chapter a day. Read for 10 minutes, put the book down, and come back to it later. For people who may not find time during their days to read an entire book at once, this is a great way to get started with your reading goals!
With these seven tips, you should be able to read several books this year. By simply reading a chapter here and there, you will soon find yourself finished with the book you’ve been trying to read all along!