Reading. The most enriching activity an individual can perform – if you do not include cooking or frolicking through a field of freshly grown sunflowers. As a bibliophile, I find that my mind is constantly overcome with thoughts about how I can read more, despite my best attempts to focus on how to flip an omelet or find the closest sunflower field in my area. Here are five tips on how to maximize the number of books you read.
1. Listen to Audiobooks
Chores, exercise and other responsibilities are pesky interferences for your reading goals. Audiobooks help to alleviate that. You can listen to audiobooks while you go for a jog, clean dishes or work on trimming the plants in your spice garden. Audiobooks also let you test the waters on a new genre or author.
2. Stop Reading a Book If You Don’t Enjoy It
This tip is for completionists and those who feel guilty for putting down a book that everyone else seems to enjoy. Like a meal that you do not enjoy eating, it is okay to leave it unfinished. The purpose of a book is to give the reader happiness or useful information. If at some point the story takes a turn for the worse, move on to another book with a more pleasing plot. Spending time on these books can be a painful experience, and they can detract from the time you spend on better books. Quitting on books you do not enjoy is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t, you could burnout from reading, resulting in lost reading time.
3. Take Breaks
Reading is very time-consuming activity—that’s why taking breaks is a necessity. If you find that you are having trouble completing a book, then you should take a break. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Play a video game. Anything to distance yourself from reading for a little while will do you a lot of good. Burnout is real for readers. It is not just for workaholics and automobiles. Don’t feel worried about the time you take to avoid burnout. You will gain far more mental endurance taking a break than you would if you decided to push through another three books.
4. Diversify Your Reading Selection
As the old saying goes, “Variety is the spice of life.” Readers have plenty of genres to choose from: adventure, drama, romance, science fiction, horror, comedy and classics just to name several. If you find you gravitate toward science fiction, then try reading a fantasy or horror novel every once in a while. Do not be afraid to branch out from your areas of interest. You may find a wonderful new perspective on your favorite genre.
5. Create A Routine
Creating a routine for your book reading will help keep you focused and maximize your reading potential. Once you finish eating your breakfast, set aside time for 30 minutes of reading. Before you allow the sweet embrace of sleep at the end of the day, start reading and make an effort to do so for 30 minutes. The most important point is consistency. Once you have established your routine, stick to it. This will permit you to maintain that strong reading ethic for a long period of time.
If you need help maximizing your reading, take time to look through the large collection of e-books and audiobooks that the Orange County Library System offers through apps like hoopla, OverDrive, RBdigital and cloudLibrary. And in case you were wondering, flip an omelet when the edges are white and the center has begun to solidify. The closest sunflower field is in Mims, Florida, but only go out to it once the quarantine is over. Happy reading!