1. Listen to audiobooks in the car.
Yes, it counts! It can be more difficult to catch every detail when listening to a book, so you may not want to listen to the same books you hold in your hand and read. For example, I might not listen to a book full of facts, maps, and appendices that I want to flip back and forth to. However, I love listening to humor books and memoirs during my commute, and for me, it makes for a better car ride than listening to the Top 40 again. There are two great ways to get audiobooks through the library – check out books on CD or download our apps: OverDrive, Libby, and Hoopla. You can download eAudiobooks to your smart phone while connected to your WiFi at home, and use an auxiliary cord or Bluetooth setting to connect your phone to your car.
2. Listen while you exercise.
Like listening to books while you drive, listening while you do other daily tasks can be a great way to multitask. The possibilities here are almost endless – you can listen while cooking, taking a bath, folding laundry, or gardening. Another great time to listen to audiobooks is while taking walks or going to the gym. EVPL, again, has some wonderful and user-friendly apps. Staff at any location are happy to help you get these on your smart device. We also have Playaways available for checkout. These are small, portable devices that hold one story, have a spot to plug in headphones, and function similarly to an MP3 device.
3. Challenge yourself!
Do you have a competitive streak, or are you someone who likes to set and accomplish goals? Setting a reading goal for the year has become a popular New Year’s resolution — it’s the only one I still choose to set for myself. Maybe you’d like to read 52 books this year, one a week. Or maybe you read 10 last year, and your goal is to read at least one more than that in 2019. If you have a friend you can bring into this equation, your goal can be to read more than the other, and keep each other informed each time you finish a new book. A challenge can be a great way to stay motivated.
4. Just read!
Does the book you want to read have a cover or plot you think of as embarrassing? Is it written for a different age group? Does it include illustrations? Who cares! Not everything we read needs to be a literary classic — we should enjoy what we read! That’s not to say that we should never challenge ourselves, read new, diverse perspectives, or explore different genres. But when we read books we are enjoying, we read more than when we are slowly trying to push ourselves through a work we have no real interest in. Try to remove the “guilt” from guilty pleasure reading and let yourself pick up books you find interesting, regardless of the genre or style. (Similarly, don’t be scared to put down a book 50 pages in if it’s not grabbing you. As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea.)
5. Read out loud to a child or partner before bed.
When we turn reading into an experience we share with others, it can be more enjoyable and easier to accomplish. Reading short stories or picture books aloud can be a great bonding exercise. On days when we may not feel like reading, they may push us for just one more chapter. We also may feel we are neglecting people in our lives when we fall into a good book for hours at a time. Reading aloud allows us to enjoy these stories with others.
6. Stay up to date on new and upcoming books.
This is a great way to find books you really want to read. It’s fun to be excited for an upcoming release! And staying informed about new releases makes it easier to find early reviews and weed out books you might not be interested in before you take it home. I’ve never been great about not judging a book by its cover (and this has led to a lot of disappointment in the past when I grab a beautiful but definitely-not-for-me book without doing my research.) I recommend using websites like Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and BookRiot to keep up to date on new releases. Our library branches have copies of the monthly magazine BookPage that are free to take and contain great information on new releases of all genres. Many magazines and news outlets also have sections where they review and highlight upcoming books. Our website also contains several lists that can be useful for finding new and upcoming books. I find all these resources really helpful in narrowing down my book search.
7. Find people to talk with about books.
Having a sense of community when it comes to reading makes the task all the more fun. Reading with others at home can be fun (see #5), but this isn’t always possible or easy for several reasons. There are many ways to share the joys of reading with others. EVPL hosts numerous book clubs: a Harry Potter book discussion, a group for Christian fiction, an LGBTQ+ book group for teens, and many more that you can find on our website or in our program guides. My personal favorite way to share and discuss books is the website Goodreads; here you can find discussion forums, book reviews, and curated lists, while also keeping up with what your friends are reading, as they go. You can talk to a family member, friend, or librarian about what you’re reading as well. Sometimes books are too good not to be shared.