Wednesday, 25 September 2013

10 tips to help you read more

Here are 10 tips to help you read more.

I often have a spat of not reading anything. Last year I read about 6 or 7 books all year and for me that is woeful. I can use my new born son as an excuse but it's still pretty bad. At the start of this year I gave myself the task of reading a book a week. I am still way off target but I've managed to squeeze in some reading where before I would do anything else.

There is no maximum or minimum number of books you should read, as long as you enjoy it. If you fancy adding a book or two to your yearly log then try these for size.

1. Enjoy what you read.
OK, so it may seem simple but if you start reading Umbrella by Will Self and after page 10 you are utterly bamboozled then it's not a crime to stop. Personally I get to about page 50-70 and make my mind up, but I've given up on some so-called classics. I've sometimes later revisited them and completed a few and generally enjoyed them but don't put yourself through it. You'll come out dizzy and with a contempt for books. Reading is supposed to be fun!

2. Use more than a book
Being a bookshop owner I encourage buying books, but I also read on my phone and on my kindle. I use the Aldiko app on my phone to download and read classics. It gives me the opportunity to read anywhere I am. My son used to fall asleep on me and refuse to budge so I decided to use this time to read on my phone as it was the only thing I had on me at the time! I've discovered some fantastic books this way including Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice and Call of the Wild.

3. Read more than one book at a time
To some it may be quite hard but I often have at least 2 books on the go, on different mediums. It helps if the books are different genres rather than having 2 crime thrillers. These can get mixed up and plots transfer from one book to another! At the moment I'm reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (on the Aldiko app), Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (in paperback) and The Secret Garden (audiobook).

4. Use audiobooks
Some may say it's not reading but who cares? The Secret Garden is my very first audiobook and I love it. I put it on when I'm driving and doing chores around the house. If I went to the gym I'd put it on then too. It still counts. I use another free app called Librivox and there are hundreds of free classics to choose from, but try Audible for new books, there are thousands!

5. Read short stories
I've never been one to invest time in short stories. I always thought if I'm going to put effort and time into a book, I want to really give myself to it and spend time with the characters. This is so wrong. A short story can be amazingly nutritious. Depending how short, it can be read in just 20 minutes or so (I'm a slow reader). The Sherlock Holmes stories I'm reading at the moment are all short stories yet still encapsulate the characters, the smells and locations of London just as a novel does.

6. JUST read
The reason I've not hit my goal of a book a week this year is due to the Internet, and probably Twitter in particular. I try to read just before I go to sleep but often think "I'll just check Twitter first" then spend an hour working out my thumb muscle scrolling through. Put that phone down (unless using Aldiko of course!) and maybe even turn it off. Use the time you said you were going to read, to actually read.

7. Schedule more time
As stated I like to read before I go to bed, but I've also scheduled in an hour just to read during the day. It's easier for me as I work from home, but even if it's just 15 minutes before dinner, or in your lunch break, you'll soon see that book you've been meaning to read complete within a week or two.

8. Join a book club
I've started an online book club and it is going amazingly well. We vote on what book to read then we have the whole month to get through it, ending with a discussion on Facebook on the last Sunday of the month. We don't meet anywhere as it's online and each time we do the discussion I use my phone and the Facebook app rather than sit at a PC as it gives me much more freedom. Arguing about whether the book was decent or not is all part of the fun! Book clubs are all over too so if you want to sit, eat cake and chat about them then see if your local book shop of library runs one. Join The Big Comfy Book Club online HERE

9. Give yourself a challenge
If you only read 1 book a year why not make it a New Years Resolution to read more? Maybe there is a film coming out that has been adapted from a book, you could read the book BEFORE the film comes out then brag to your friends "Oh they missed so-and-so out of the film". Read ALL the Man Booker Prize books before the winner is announced. Work towards a goal. At the end treat yourself to a low-calorie carbonated refreshment. Nice.

10. Get up to date with the next big thing.
A lot of people think that Dan Brown is an awful writer, but his books have sold enough that if you line up every one he's sold it would reach a really, really long way. Probably a billion miles long. Forget about the critics, if you like chases and cars exploding and dinosaurs (who doesn't?!) then get in on the action. A million billion people who bought Dan Brown can't be wrong and you can chip in with the conversation around the watercooler or Internet forum about Inferno or Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter. Take a look at the bestselling books this year, this month, this week and see why it's at the top.

I hope this list has inspired you to pick up a few more books and get your read on. You can, incidentally, pick them up from OUR SHOP, with just £1 postage on everything.

Any more tips then let me know and I'll share to the world. Contact me on Twitter @BigComfyBooks, Facebook or comment below.