As someone who's failed to achieve their New Year's resolution for the past four years (but in 2019 I will do the splits), I'm closely familiar with the frustration of a target not reached. But if you faltered when it came to last year's pledge to up your yearly reading, there's no need to abandon the goal this year. Here's how to read more books in 2019 — without feeling like you're back in GCSE English.
First, I'm going to be upfront: if you're not into reading, that is just fine, and neither I nor anyone else has the right to shame you or attempt to persuade you otherwise. But if you consider yourself a book lover, but just slipped out of the habit somehow? Best get warming up those page-turning fingers, because this year, readers, you're going to finish every single book on the teetering pile on your dressing table. You're going to stumble into literary Twitter and recognise at least 45 per cent of the books they're talking about. You're going to recommend a book to your friends and they're all going to absolutely worship it. You can read more in 2019, friends, and this is how you're going to do it.
Keep A Reading Journal
This, friends, is what coaxed me away from reading every advice column on the internet (they're my thing!) and towards the ever-mounting pile of books overflowing from my bookshelves. A simple note of what I read, when I read it, and how I felt about it made the little achievement of finishing another book a little more tangible — and it's an extremely convenient resource should I need to recommend a book to someone.
Don't Force Yourself To Finish A Book You Hate
Here's another solid tip from the BBC — if you hate the book, just put it down and move on. Sure, give it a few chapters to prove itself if you're so inclined, but don't consider jettisoning a less than stellar book a failure (even if everyone else seems to adore it). "Reading can feel like a chore if you're just trying to get to the end of the story for the sake of it," the BBC says.
Join A Book Club
There's nothing like an impending deadline to get you cracking open that cover, but there's more to glean from a book club than the simple pressure to finish the group's latest choice. "Hearing other people's interpretations — whether you agree with them or not — will help you think more about your own reading," the BBC says. What's more, you'll be exposed to titles you might not have selected yourself — and if you're a little shy or looking to expand your social circle, it's an ideal way to meet new people without the need for small talk.
Find Your Favourite Bookshop(s)
As a former bookseller, I'm admittedly biased towards brick and mortar bookshops over buying all your books online. But there's something about browsing the shelves of a well-curated store that a few clicks on your laptop can't always replace (though online ordering undeniably has its merits, especially for those who aren't able to go to the shops themselves). If it's feasible, try popping into a few of the bookshops near you: you might find a bookseller's recommendation or an eye-catching display gets you especially excited about plunging into your new purchase.
Don't Set Unachievable Goals
There's nothing like an impossible target to make you abandon an endeavour altogether, and lofty social media book challenges can often lean towards the impractical. As an example, the Financial Times cites the "100-Books Challenge" which frequently floats around Facebook. "Almost no one who takes it on is going to finish happy; to read 100 books a year requires you to finish a book every 3.65 days," the newspaper says. Instead, if you're determined to reach a quantifiable target, choose one that's just a little higher than your current yearly total, the paper suggests.
Ask Your Friends For Recommendations
There's two benefits to this approach. Firstly, if you have no idea where to start, a friend with similar taste (or even someone you follow and admire on Twitter) is likely to direct you towards an enjoyable read. And secondly, you'll get into the habit of talking about books, which is undoubtedly one of the top five topics of conversation across human existence. And as Lifehacker notes, talking about what you're reading is only likely to get you more enthusiastic about it.
Take A Book Everywhere You Go
As Lifehacker points out, you never know when you'll be in an exceptionally tedious queue, or your train will be delayed, or your phone will die halfway through your lunch break. Get into the habit of secreting a book somewhere on your person every time you leave the house, and you'll find yourself reaching for it far more often than you might anticipate. Reluctant to bulk out your bag? Allow me to recommend investing in a handful of titles from the Penguin Modern or Little Black Classics collections.