How to Read More and Better

By Tuesday, June 23, 2015 , ,

I love books, as you probably know, and so I love talking books. Frequently, in conversations about reading, I run across people who say they wish they read more, but there never seems to be time, they just are really slow readers, or something else always gets in the way of it. Or there are others who legitimately don't enjoy it as much and struggle to read more so they can feel up to par with other people who love it. All of these answers are reasonable to a certain extent, but they do make my book-loving self very sad. So here are my humble suggestions for how to read more, or to just do reading well. 
Understand that reading more doesn’t mean you have to devour all the works of Dickens and Shakespeare in two weeks. If you struggle to read regularly or to stay engaged in a book, pick something easy and work from there. I think The Chronicles of Narnia are a great starting point for struggling readers. None of them are very long, and they’re all children’s stories. Yes, they’re chock-full of valuable symbolism and brilliant storytelling, but good old Jack Lewis was all about children’s fairytales, and it shows in these treasures. They’re simply written, easy to follow, and very engaging. Check out some of my other favorite children’s books here.


As much as I love to read, I’m as guilty as anyone else of spending inordinate amounts of time staring at my phone instead of reading. So I’ve started to try to catch myself in those moments and open a book instead. Know you’ll be in a waiting room for a little while? Have a book on you. Lull arises in the day’s activities? Pull out that book instead of checking Instagram for the fourteenth time in an hour. It’s a habit to develop, but if you have a book with you, it becomes easier to do.


Don’t let those words scare you. I know some people may not work well with deadlines, but it can be helpful to set goals for your reading, even if they’re loose. First, I like to keep a list. I have a running list in my phone of books I want to read, and they’re divided into categories based on how to obtain them, which helps me plan accordingly. Some I already own, some I know I’m going to buy, and some I’ll need to borrow from a friend or find at the library. Then, decide what your time frame is for finishing a certain number of books or even just one, and then divide up the reading by chapters a day, pages a day, or whatever else can work for you. Be realistic, but stick to it. For example, a few weeks ago, I had grand plans of reading two more books this month, but the first one, which I’m currently reading, is 550 pages, so I soon realized I could cut myself some slack. Now, I’m making it my goal to simply finish this one and start a new one by the month’s end.


Pick things of different genres to keep yourself interested, and well-rounded at that. The book I’m currently reading is set in Nazi Germany, and though there’s another on my list that also takes place in that time period, I’ll be reading something else before I start that one. It’s good to give yourself varied material – challenge your mind and think deeply, but there’s also nothing wrong with a simple or fluffy beach read. Go for both and everything in between!


Though this can’t replace actually reading, audiobooks and radio dramas are fabulous supplements. I’ve rediscovered my love for both in recent months. There are some great audiobook apps that let you download books for free, and it’s turned into one of my favorite things for the car. Radio dramas – audio-only movies, essentially – are also great for the car. Both options require nothing but simply your listening ear and a quiet place. Even if you’ve only got a few minutes’ drive, you can get through a lot if you play a little every day. Another option I’ve found that I enjoy is reading aloud with a friend. If you’re struggling, grab a friend and read through a book together by reading aloud to one another. So relaxing with a bit of accountability and friendship-bonding thrown in. There’s really nothing like a good story to bring people together, I think.

These are my current audio-story project. All seven Narnia chronicles translated to audio drama, and they are glorious, my friends!
Specific book suggestions for the remainder of the summer are coming soon! Hit me up if you want to read aloud or talk more on this. I can talk about books for hours!

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