books, reading

Five Top Tips for Reading More Books

sb-five_top_tips_for_reading_more_books-pinterest

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. 😉

life

Life Advice: You’re Ready Now

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There’s almost no such thing as ready. There’s only now. And you may as well do it now.

This advice from Hugh Laurie is the type of thing I like to be reminded of occasionally, so I thought I’d remind you too. Do the things you dream of, say the words you imagine, and be the person you aim to be. And if you need a little more to inspire you, here.

Quote from Hugh Laurie sings the blues (Time Out).

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 DoSomething.org’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.

pop culture, technology & web

Wintertime Tip: Up Your Netflix Game

Watch TV All Day gif

You’ve got Netflix, right? I know I’m not the only one who watches something on there basically every day. I should really offer to pay them more based solely on the number of times I’ve re-watched Buffy. It’s pretty straight-forward and easy to figure out, but there are a few adjustments that might make your viewing experience even better.

First, make sure you’re rating everything you can. That’s pretty obvious and I still forget to do it sometimes, but it really will make a difference and your recommendations will seriously improve. Once you’ve got your ratings situation down, up your game and try out some of the options listed below.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Netflix Experience:

  1. Add IMDB & Rotten Tomatoes ratings to your account with Chrome extension, Netflix Enhancer. In addition to ratings, it’ll link you to the matching page on each site for quickly checking out reviews.
  2. Make sure you’re really watching in HD! Click Your Account, then Playback Settings, then High. Done! (Ah, that’s better!)
  3. Change your subtitle settings if the default yellow ones just aren’t working out. Click Your Account, then Subtitle appearance, then change the color, font, and size to whatever works best for you or what you’re watching at the moment.
  4. Turn your smartphone or tablet into a remote control. If your Playstation & mobile device are both logged into the same WiFi network, many of them (including iPhone and iPad) will let you select something to watch then give you the option to watch through your PS3 or PS4, instead of just on your tiny screen. And if you have a Roku, they have an app that’ll let you play & pause, at least.
  5. Watch with faraway friends using rabb.it. Fire up a room, invite someone to join, and start watching. It’ll play on both ends, so you can watch together and be at the same spot in the video. (They can do more than Netflix too: there’s Hulu, HBOGo, YouTube videos, and more.)
  6. Delete stuff from your history. Go ahead and remove every trace of that time your niece watched Dora the Explorer on your profile constantly and totally ruined your recommendations. (Just me?) Click on Your Account, then Viewing activity, then hit the X next to anything you want to erase. While you’re adjusting settings, add a “Guest” profile for next time, too.
  7. Stop scrolling incessantly through your queue! Get a better grasp of what’s new and/or popular on InstantWatcher, and see what’s going away soon.

Now that your Netflix account is handled, what’re you going to watch?! Might I suggest Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls Religion Lifestyle gif

…or Friday Night Lights, because:

FNL coach taylor wink gif

THAT WINK, Y’ALL.