The New Year brings upon a sense of simultaneous hope and shame as we set goals and subsequently don’t follow through with them (because the line ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ is a set up for imminent failure. I see you, Kate Moss.)
So as you make and then scour at your prolific New Years resolution list, mystified by how anyone could do all of these things you set out to do — like climb Mount Everest and win the Pulitzer Prize for your investigative essay on why your dog is actually Winston Churchill reincarnate — fear not about one resolution in particular. Reading more.
Because this resolution you can easily achieve. And it doesn’t mean you have to cut out chocolate or give up on your other lifelong dream of becoming J.Lo’s backup dancer. You, my friend, can have it all. Like that neighbor who works a 9-7, has 2 children, 3 dogs, 1 pet iguana, and a ridiculous set of biceps even Michelle Obama would be jealous of, but still manages to read more books in one week than you did last year. Today I have demystified that modern day heroine. I have shared her beautiful secrets. (Well not all of them, I can’t tell you how to get the biceps.) So as I go try and figure that out, I will leave you with these 7 tips, tricks, and life hacks sure to make you a reader. Like a boss:
1. Listen to audiobooks.
As a book hoarder person through and through (and an admitted, elitist. YES I SAID IT MOM AND NO I DO NOT CARE THAT YOU ENJOY JOHN GRISHAM), I used to scoff at the idea of listening to books. Does it even count as reading?! I asked audiobook users with a mixture of awe and judgement poorly concealed as intrigue. Yes, yes it does. After I stepped off of my high horse, I realized that listening to books, although a different experience than the act of physically holding (and at times cuddling them) is not only a valid form of reading, but a necessary one for like minded multitaskers of this generation. The perks of listening to The Perks of Being a Wallflower while commuting, exercising, or crafting, far outweigh the disadvantages of not being able to express gratitude via physical touch. So come join the dark side. It has books. And it frees up your hands.
2. Get an e-book subscription.
Speaking of the dark side, if you haven’t jumped on the e-book train yet, get on that sister. It’s 2015 now. Yes, e-books don’t smell like real books and they don’t have personality in the shape of folded pages and handwritten notes and all of those things, but their portability and smaller price tag can come in handy for a lady on the go (or a lady with a small apartment sans normal square feet on the Upper West Side). Better yet, a subscription to a service like Scribd or Oyster, allows you to get a ton of e-books for a small amount of dough. So you can spend that extra money saving for a bigger apartment (or at least not one that you are pretty sure is only an impressively well disguised closet).
3. Buy used/sell back.
Buying used books is another advantageous way to keep your pockets full and your brain’s mental capacity fuller. And here’s a two for one tip: used bookstores will usually buy your backs back. They won’t pay you an arm and a leg, but if you are saying goodbye to a book you know you’ll never revisit, a dollar or two is better than the dust it would collect on your already full to capacity shelf.
4. Join/start a book club.
You can find fellow book loving individuals in every city. Websites like readerscircle.org or bookclub.meetup.com will help you. Alternatively, gather your most literate friends and start a book club of your own. That way, you can designate a time and a space to talk discuss fictional characters without them yelling at you to stop talking and pass the Pinot Grigio.
5. Get acquainted with your local library.
Ah, the library. A glorious, yet untapped resource for literature aficionados everywhere. This is an especially important place to visit if you can’t afford to buy all the books you want and don’t have space, but are still adamantly against electronic avenues. If you aren’t ready to go new school, go to the oldest school of all: the library.
6. Always carry a book on you.
The trick is not to read a whole bunch at once, it’s to fit it in when and where you can. Between cat naps, in line at the grocery store, in a coffee shop waiting for a friend. Wherever you go, make sure you have a book on you. Pro tip: if you don’t want anyone to know that you are re-reading Women Are From Mars, Men Are From Venus for the 8th time, go the e-book route. You can even download them on your smartphone or computer if you don’t want to invest in a device just yet.
7. Spend your time wisely.
Unfortunately, time is one of those things you can’t buy…yet (I’m counting on you, 2015.) So for now, replace the time you spend watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey or playing the Kim Kardashian game with reading. In the long run, you will thank yourself. So will your brain. Your brain will then thank itself because it will be smart enough to know how to after all that reading you’ve done. And if that’s not a reason to spend your time wisely, I don’t know what is.