Put down the phone, pick up a book.
It breaks my book-loving heart to say this, but I could probably count the number of books I read in 2015 on one hand, maybe just a couple of fingers. Somehow I just fell out of the habit, and rather than reading before bed each night or on a lazy weekend afternoon, more often than not I’d find myself mindlessly scrolling through my phone. I’m embarrassed to admit that, but confessing to the problem is the first step, right? When 2016 loomed large, I made a commitment to myself to pick up — and finish — more books this year, as many books as I could, to make up for lost time. My first step? A library card. No more senseless Amazon orders or flip-flopping over whether a title was worth the investment or not. The second? Finding the time. As my schedule gets busier and free time feels at an all-time low, it’s easy to convince myself that there just isn’t the time for an indulgence such as reading. But really, it’s the same time that would have been used to watch a movie or — again — look at the phone.. it’s not that hard to come by. I believe that, now more than ever, it’s important to carve out time for ourselves to do what we love, to set aside school and career and commitments, even if only for a few minutes…an hour…a Sunday morning. To explore a world or a perspective different than our own and in doing so, expand our mind and understanding of the universe around us. This is why I love books and why I’ve committed to reading more of them this year. I’m getting out more, in a different and entirely introverted sense of the phrase.
If you’ve also felt their absence, today I’m sharing five ways to bring books back into your life. Read on, then please be sure to add your own in the comments!
Read everywhere: And I mean everywhere. If you take the train, read on the train. Lunch break? Step away from that sad desk lunch and find a quiet corner. Waiting for water to boil? (I’m a tea and coffee drinker — I feel like I spend half my life waiting for water to boil) Instead of scrolling through your phone… Read. Your. Book. Paperbacks are more portable (and flexible), so you might consider choosing older books that have been released on paperback or just using a larger bag to accommodate your habit. Once summer rolls around, there’s nothing quite so relaxing as reading on the beach or in the park surrounded by nature.
Indulge yourself: Maybe you love historical fiction, maybe it’s mysteries, maybe you can’t get enough YA werewolf romance novels…no judgement. The point is, while it’s great to explore titles that fall outside of your preferred genre, you should also own it when it comes to your favorite subject matter. Don’t hide that bodice-ripper behind Leaves of Grass…you’ll be much more apt to read more frequently if you’re reading things you actually enjoy.
Turn off your phone: Instagram might be my biggest pitfall. Scrolling through my phone while in bed used to be an awful habit of mine, and one that I knew prevented me from getting truly restful sleep. After picking up my library card, I now keep a fresh stack of books on my bedside table, ready and waiting to take the place of the dreaded phone when night falls. I now get better sleep, thanks to the absence of my phone’s blue light tricking my brain into thinking it’s daytime, and I’m finishing those books faster than I normally would have.
Join a book club: Whether it’s online or IRL, a book club can help keep you accountable for turning those pages. Gather a small group of friends and commit to reading the same book, meeting for coffee once a week to discuss, or follow along with the FP Book Club and join in the online discussion of each month’s book (check back in March for the next title).
Revisit old favorites: Remember all of that required reading from high school/college? As much as the assignment to read them may have felt painful at the time, those were actually really great books. Forget what you may have gleaned from CliffsNotes for that last minute report and dive back in to the world of Literature of the Insane, Gothic Lit, American Lit, and any other Lit class you may have skimmed in an effort to just get through it. While you’re at it, look into other titles by the same authors — you might find just find a new favorite.
+ What are your tips for picking up more books this year? Please share!
The books we can’t stop reading