How to read more

2018 was the year I fell in love with reading again.

I’ve devoured entire books over an evening and spent weeks ploughing through others. I’ve started some and left them unfinished. I’ve read library books. I’ve spent £££’s on Amazon and I’ve discovered a lovely book swap at work. Do you like to read? From fiction to travel books, memoirs and life stories, I’ve fallen in love with them all.  I’ve remembered, books taught me what I needed to know. The last few months have interrupted my writing schedule but at least now if I’ve not been writing, I’ve been reading.

When I was younger I remember spending lunchtime after lunchtime trawling the school library for books.  At home, I’d hide ones in draws and behind my bed. In the middle of the night, I’d carefully lift the corner of my curtain and read by the orange dusky light of the street lamps, squinting and straining determined to finish the page, the chapter, the book. But somewhere along the way, I grew up. I had forgotten my oldest of friends. Words are so powerful and I’d let myself overlook their beauty.

This year, I’ve allowed myself to highlight pages, turn corners, write in the margins and cry in coffee shops. This year I’ve gotten library fines and I’ve read until midnight on a Sunday.  It has been incredible. I’ve found my old friend, dusted her cover and we’ve picked up right where we left off. It’s about time we all starting reading again.

“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.” – Louis L’Amour

Reading has so many proven benefits, reducing stress, increasing your memory and concentration capacity, it can aid sleep and even improve your confidence.  But it is so easy not to read. To leave the book on your bedside table, to say “I’ll read tomorrow instead“. Like anything in life, if you want to do something, or make a new habit, you need to make time for it, you need to carve out space.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing”. —Harper Lee

How to read more:

  1. Research! Read book reviews, look at blogs, search Amazon.  Make a huge list of any book the sounds interesting. Start building your ‘to be read‘ list. You need to get excited about books again.
  2. Treat yourself to some brand new books. Buy some from a real bookshop. Walk in and soak up the atmosphere, breathe in the excitement of an unread book.  Go to a lovely second-hand bookshop. Find books that have been preloved with random bookmarks and treasures are hidden inside. Buy even more books. Buy some online and rip open the package when it comes through your letterbox, start reading as soon as it arrives.
  3.  Carve out some time,  just for reading. Every night before bed, a Sunday or even as part of your commute.
  4.  Create a reading ritual.  Monday night after work, I like to cook tea quickly, make my lunch and get ready for the following day, put my pyjamas on, light candles, get cosy in a blanket with a huge cup of tea and start a new book. New week, new book that’s my ritual.
  5. Write down what you’ve learnt from a book. It will make you realise how important reading is and will help you start the next book.
  6. (I never thoughtI’d say this but… )If you don’t like the book. Stop reading and start again.  Life is too short to not read, so read books that set your heart on fire and make you cry in cafes. Read books that make you hold in your breath and read till midnight.

My top 5 books of 2018:

  1. Everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton  – This book is very loud and brash, but when you peel away the layers it’s the most beautiful love letter about female friendship. It’s an ode to the deepest kind of love, friendship love.
  2. This is going to hurt – Adam Kay – I can’t stop thinking about this book. Oh. My. Goodness. It broke my heart. I fell in love with all the staff that work in our NHS. It terrified me and it made me do pelvic floor exercises.
  3.  On Writing – Steven king – for all my writing friends. If you know you know.
  4.  Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird – I read this book before I started making notes on what I’ve read, so I’m upset that the details are fuzzy. I’m going to have to read it again, but with quotes like this,  it stayed with me. It helped me just write, (even if it is just Grandad who reads my blog – hi Grandad).  “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.” – Anne Lamott.
  5.  Wonder – RJ Palacio – such a beautiful story. This is really a kids book, but I think everyone should read it. Choose kind. (Also, the book is way better than the film).

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Send me all your book suggestions and reviews!!

** Heads up – this post includes affiliate links. Don’t worry you won’t pay any more for the books, it just means if you buy the book through clicking on my link I can pay for my coffee addiction.

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