Yesterday, a good friend e-mailed me asking about my reading habits.
She thinks the fact that I read 50 books last year is astounding.
Funny, I think it’s a pathetic number.
This friend asked for tips on how she (a slacker reader)
can reach her goal this year of 20 books.
Of course I have some suggestions,
but let me begin with a disclaimer.
Reading is my thing.
Some of you have exercise, housekeeping, or crafting.
I could ask you the same…
how the heck did you run a marathon, wash your windows 5 times, or sew 85 million bags?
I do exercise, house-keep and even have a sparse crafty moment from time to time,
but not as much as most of you, I promise.
Some of you may have exercise, housekeeping, crafting, AND reading, but I guarantee you have other issues and the rest of us don’t need to hear from you unless you are gonna admit it.
So, the first and most important answer is love yourself for who you are.
You may not read as much as me, but I don’t look as good as you…you get the drift.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. 
One of my strengths is reading, and it may be your weakness.
But, just know we are both (commendably) working towards perfection in our own areas.
That being said, here are a few suggestions for those of you who are working on making reading a strength.
First of all, reading is lifestyle at our house.
Every night before bed, you can see every single member of my family looking like this:

Funny, I had drafted these photos to write about long before my friend’s inquiry.
Our bedtime allows for a half an hour of reading every night and that goes for LG and I also.
Second, take a book with you wherever you go.
You will be surprised how all that time standing in lines or hanging out on the sidelines will add up.
Most of my family members have a book in hand if they know they are going somewhere with a potential for boredom. Reference this old post about Sophia at the soccer field.
Third, read what you like. If you are trying to challenge yourself to read more, don’t start with The Scarlett Letter. Read what you like. You will find yourself reading more when it’s easy to be drawn into the storyline. I personally only challenge myself with “more difficult or out of my preferred genre” a couple of times a year or if I am getting paid. 
Fourth, use your downtime for putting your nose in a book. I will admit to using a lot of my Christmas break sitting on the couch reading. And summer is the best time to really crank out half of your yearly goal.If you read only at the pool next summer, I guarantee you will be able to finish a book a week.
Fifth, make a weekly stop to the library habit. You will be happy with how much a good librarian can help you find something that you will enjoy reading.
Sixth, books on tape, are man’s best friend. Whenever we go on a long trip, we always make sure we have books on tape. LG even figured out how to play books from his kindle over our FM transmitter. Awesome stuff.
Seven, read together. Get into a bookclub that will help you stay focused. Or read aloud as a family together. Right now, our family is reading the Little House on the Prairie series. It has been so fun to read and discuss how we are similar to the Ingalls family. (They lost their dog on their trek west too).

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  1. Love those tips. I totally agree with you about reading being a lifestyle. (bytheway, you've totally reminded me that I still haven't retired my 2011 list from my sidebar yet! I need to do that soon)

  2. Some great ideas, Ali. I really enjoy reading and when I start, i have a REALLY hard time putting the book down until it is done. We have cold cereal for every meal and my kids know that theycan get away with a lot (like perler beads all over the living room floor) while I have my nose in a book. I go in spurts and will read two or three in a few days and then not any for a few months.

  3. I read well over 100 books per year and my family is a family of readers. It's a cultural thing, like you said: our kids grew up seeing their parents read and they started reading. We read to them when they were little and we discuss books at dinner time. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, we talk on the telephone about the great books we have read. Christmas gifts to each other more often than not include books.

  4. These are great tips Alice! I read in spurts — a bunch of books in a row, then if I take a short break it is hard to get back in the habit. But I am always happier when I'm reading a good book. (However, if it's TOO good, I tend to want to ignore everything else!)

  5. Such good advice! Having a kindle on your phone is a great way to read more. Books affect my mood significantly. And reading a great book makes it very hard for me to pick up another book right away because it is never as good as what I just read.
    Speaking of; You must, must, must read The Invisible Bridge. If you read it I will read the first Harry Potter.
    My small group and I are reading the 5 love languages thanks to your raves over this book. My language is acts of service and words of affirmation. What are yours?
    Love you Alice!!

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