books, reading

Five Top Tips for Reading More Books


I’m a big reader. I got off track logging my books as I read them in Goodreads this year to prove I met my goal of over 100, but I’m confident I did. No doubt about it, even without the proof, I know I’m well over it. So if you’ve been wishing you’d find a way to read more books, I’ve got the tips for you! (And no, I’m not going to tell you to stop watching television. I love TV too.)

Last year I shared ideas for How to Read More Books in 2016, and I’m back today with five more top tips to help you along the way. I recommend reading the first post for the entry-level ideas to get started, and adding in these next five to level-up your reading habits.

  1. Give yourself a book budget. I don’t mean this as a way to decrease your book spending, but to increase it guilt-free. If you’ve set aside X dollars for books per month, it’s perfectly fine to spend the entire amount on books. It’s not meant for anything else. Buy books and stack them up to tempt you. Or fill out your ebook collection, so you’ll always find one that you’re in the mood to read anytime you browse your virtual bookshelves.
  2. Go to bed early, but don’t actually go to sleep. I go to bed at a laughably early hour very often because I settle in, get cozy, and read fiction. I often read tweets by people making jokes about going to bed early while I’m already in bed, to be honest. Sometimes I’m there so early, I get a few hours of reading in. (My problem is usually making myself stop to actually go to sleep at some point.)
  3. Always keep a book with you. Like Rory Gilmore, a book should be your constant companion. Luckily you don’t have to weigh your bag down like her if you don’t want to. Your phone is a perfectly fine place to store a current read to dive into on-the-go. Choose an app (Kindle, iBooks, etc.) and get a collection of ebooks going there. I like to tweet #bookdeals I find if you’re looking for a new one.
  4. Read non-fiction on your lunch break. I’m not very good at reading non-fiction in bed, so I save it for my daytime reading, which often ends up being my lunch break. I really like to take the time to reset myself for a productive afternoon by stepping away from my computer, so my lunch breaks are often used for exercising or reading (or both at the same time — hey, audiobooks!).
  5. Track, write, share, and take notes! Sure, reading is great on its own, but if you make the whole process a bit more interactive and form habits around it, you’re more likely to do it more often. Keep a list of the books you’ve read this year in your bullet journal or track them on Goodreads. Take notes as you read, or jot down your thoughts when you finish a book. Live tweet your thoughts about a book while reading it, or whip up a cute graphic with a quote from your current read for your Instagram (or #bookstagram, if you will).

No excuses. Start reading.

I’m up for chatting about your recent read anytime. 😉

books, reading

Regency Writer and Gender Roles

“We don’t get many opportunities to be honorable.”

“And that bothers you.”

“I won’t bore you with complaints about being too rich or too privileged. It’s like saying, ‘They’ve given me far too much delicious cake.’”

I’m reading a historical (Regency) romance novel right now that kicks off a series based on a group of women writers, their place in society at the time, and of course, their eventual love matches. I’m not very far into Forever Your Earl yet, but I’m enjoying the heroine’s observations on class, privilege, and gender roles so far, and the banter between her and the Earl is pretty great too.

What I’m telling you is that I’m going to be early just so I can get back to reading and see what happens.

books, reading

How to Read More Books

Before I share a few tips on how to read more books, I’ll explain why I’m writing this at all: When I hear reading statistics about just how few books Americans are reading every year, it makes my book-loving heart hurt. According to a 2013 Pew report (“A Snapshot of Reading in America”), 76% of American adults read at least one book per year, which is actually more than I would’ve guessed. The average number of books read for everyone 18+ is twelve. T-W-E-L-V-E. That’s one per month and includes print, digital, and audio. If you’re a fellow data-nerd, take a peek at the report to see the numbers broken down by sex, race, age, education, income, and community.

Read More Books

If you’re reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume that lack of literacy isn’t holding you back in life. But, it is a problem for some Americans in ways that matter to us all, like this one: Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system & more than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate. (!?!!?!!) For similar stats, check out’s 11 Facts About Literacy in America.

Even if you’re not a kid about to grow up with a reading problem and spend your life struggling to stay afloat, there’s a good chance your life could be much improved if it included a whole lot more reading and books. And as someone who manages to read more than 100 books per year, I’ve got a few tips!

Five Simple Ways to Read More Often

  • Schedule it! Don’t just wait around for a magical, silent, perfect moment to crack open a book. Make it a part of your life and routine. That could mean going to lounge in bed a bit earlier than normal, finding a cozy spot during your lunch break, or keeping a book in your car for those times you end up waiting around somewhere and you’d normally pass the minutes playing on your phone.
  • Combine it with another routine activity! If you spend time each day exercising or commuting to work for a while, read while you do it! If your commute involves you driving yourself, listen to an audiobook. Those count too and some books are even better that way. (I highly recommend Mindy Kaling’s memoir in audio! And in every other format.)
  • Don’t hesitate to drop a dud! If you’ve read the first 50 pages of a book and it’s really not hooking you yet, switch books! It may be the wrong time for that particular book and you can try again another time, or maybe it’s just plain bad and you shouldn’t bother. It happens. Don’t let it ruin your reading flow.
  • Switch it up! Don’t feel like you have to read one book at a time. You might be someone who likes to have a novel and a non-fiction one going at the same time. Or multiple novels. Whatever! I avoid non-fiction at night, but love it earlier in the day. In bed, I’m all novels.
  • Challenge yourself! Set a reading goal! You can pick a number of books to read in this year. Or you can challenge yourself to check items off of a list of types of books to read.

That’s it! Off you to go read more books.


Penguin Teen On Tour in Dallas

Penguin Teen on Tour in Dallas

I went to the Half Price Books flagship store tonight for the Penguin Teen on Tour stop in Dallas with Ally Condie, Jandy Nelson, and Meg Wolitzer. They chatted about their most recent books, the writing process, and books they love to read (and re-read).

Jandy mentioned she spent most of her life writing poetry until she got this advice around age 40:

Meg has mostly written adult books (which sounds more risqué than intended):

When asked how to make your writing exciting:

Meg likes to re-read the parts in a book when you know the author was “doing the Snoopy Dance” to celebrate how great they are:

The book Ally wishes her teen self could’ve read:

Meg’s re-read/favorite:

And the books Jandy would give her teen self:

Meg points out why some books stick with us:

I totally agree! Some books enter your life at just the right time to make an impact on you that lasts a lifetime. This reminded me of how I read The Catcher in the Rye as an angsty teen and totally related to Holden and loved it. But when my husband read it for the first time as an adult, this was his review halfway through (which I saved for posterity because it made me laugh so much): “This guy’s just hating on everything & keeps calling people phonies.” Ha!

books, reading

Reading Rec: Between the World and Me

I’m still reading Ta-Nehisi Coates and my book is full of highlights I want to re-read, share, and remember forever like these:

“The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant ‘government of the people’ but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term ‘people’ to actually mean. In 1863 it did not mean your mother or your grandmother, and it did not mean you and me. Thus America’s problem is not its betrayal of ‘government of the people,’ but the means by which ‘the people’ acquired their names.”

“There is nothing uniquely evil in these destroyers or even in this moment. The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy.”

“You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance — no matter how improved — as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children.”

Between the World and Me is great, sad, an smart all at once. I’m still reading and highly recommend it. I’ll share a lot more on the book later, but I couldn’t resist getting started now, while I’m still reading, learning, absorbing.

pop culture, reading

Mindy Kaling & Fall TV

I love television and checking out new shows every fall is my fave.

“Each fall, the trade papers publish loglines of the upcoming TV pilots… Here are some of the kinds of shows the networks seem to be clamoring for lately…”

A confident workaholic named Marcia or Alex comes home to find her husband cheating on her with his secretary. The discovery always occurs in the middle of the afternoon, and the adultery is always happening in her own bed, in view of photographs of her kids. The rest of the series explores her journey to a new life as a sex-positive fortysomething. She gets a really fun assistant who’s an expert on all the new, slutty dating protocols. Also, everyone on this show spends a lot of time drinking wine while sprawled on couches. And they’re always wearing jeans and are barefoot, sitting with one foot tucked under them.

See Kaling’s piece in The New Yorker, Coming This Fall, for the rest:

  • Boy-Man Must Face the Adult World
  • The Staunch Oval Office Dame
  • Dad! Mom!
  • Hot Serial Killer Who’s Kind of Literary
  • Neurotic Sensitive Guy is Also Super-Unhappy
  • Remake of Gritty Israeli Show About Terrorism/Infidelity/Mental Illness
  • Talkative Chubster Seeks Husband

Book Cover of Mindy Kaling's Why Not MeSpeaking of Mindy Kaling, did you know she has a new book out next month?

Why Not Me? releases September 15 and oops, I’ve pre-ordered it three ways (hardcover, audio, ebook). Listen, y’all, I like to support what I love AND I like options.

The pre-orders were inspired by my multiple beloved copies of Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). (I highly recommend the audiobook!) We’re close enough in age that her pop culture references from growing up and life stages match up with mine so closely that the stories are a delight to laugh along with… sort of like watching Dawson’s Creek when it aired and the kids were my exact same age at the time. Perfection.