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How to Read More Books

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Mental Health | 0 comments

To me, books = life. How to read more books has never been a problem for me – bookworm-ism is just apparently in my DNA.

This makes me uniquely useful to write this post because i’ve picked up on lots of tools, resources, habits, and mindset shifts along the way in my life as a bookworm to help others become bookworms too!

(Speaking of writing this post, I’m literally currently writing it live from the Boston Public Library. Talk about meta/on brand…)

When I was little, i’d beg my mom/dad to bring me to the library constantly. I’d rent 4 or 5 books at a time, read them in a day, and beg to go back to get more. Honestly not much has changed since then, haha! 

I’m OBSESSED with books. I’m usually reading literally 3 books minimum at a time. 

Books have always been like a healing salve to me that I never want to live without. From a young age i’ve understood that reading books can help us in ways other hobbies/coping skills just can’t. 

In a very tangible way, non-fiction books have helped me:

  • Understand, appreciate, and celebrate my mixed race family
  • Process my parent’s divorce
  • Become more comfortable with my sexuality as a pansexual person
  • Learn about my alcoholism
  • Learn how to open and run a successful business
  • Train my brain to see the good in f*cked up situations
  • Heal from an eating disorder
  • And MUCH more

On a lighter note (whoops haha, vulnerability hangover!), fiction books have helped me escape in healthy ways, be creative, cry, laugh, romanticize, fantasize, wish, dream, hope, and discover. 

I’m humbled by all the ways books can truly change us and the world we live in for the better.

No matter where you fall on the reading spectrum, this post is to help you read more books, period. With a little mindset shifting, habit re-training, tools and resources, my hope is that this post helps you end this year having read more books than you did last year. 

And if you’re wondering what does reading more books have to do with body image/relationship with food? It’s 3 fold:

  1. Too much time spent on social media = increased obsession with food and negative body image/comparing to others so reading = a good, healthy alternative to scrolling
  2. Lots of great books on developing a healthier relationship with food/your body that will blow your mind right open
  3. Having hobbies, like reading, gives you a better sense of self/purpose/passion in life vs. obsessing over your body/food

So… Wanna know to read more? First, let’s think about your “why”!

Think about your why

We prioritize and pay attention to the things we do because we’ve decided they’re important for one reason or another. Connecting to our why on anything is extremely important so that we can prioritize it the way we want to. 

So, why do you want to read more books? Here are some ideas…

  • You want to learn more about _____ topic
  • Because books give you power
  • Books help you fantasize or escape in a healthy way
  • To help turn your brain on or off for a bit
  • Tap into your creative side
  • Be a better sibling, partner, employee, employer, leader, student, person (self-help genre)
  • To make the world a better place

Your mind will surely think of TONS of excuses to why you can’t read more books. I’m in grad school and run a busy full time practice by myself, and have 85,000 other things going on but I sure as hell will always find time to prioritize personal reading because it’s important to me for lots of reasons – aka my why(s).

Time disclaimer…

When people say they wish they read more, I ask them why they don’t. Most often, they say they don’t have time. I ask “how many hours a day do you spend on social media?” and they often say THREE HOURS OR MORE! 

If you have time to scroll social media, you have time to read in place of said scrolling social media, k? Can you tell I have a love/hate relationship with social media?! I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at “them”. It’s ruining humanity, but I digress. 

[Brief tangent… Back in October 2021 I deleted Facebook and Instagram with the intent of never coming back. Well, spoiler alert I’m back but showing up in a way different mindset than before. If you’re curious about breaking up with social media, check out my post all about it here.)

Speaking of social media, let’s use it to our advantage at least! Here are 14 book instagram accounts to follow for book suggestions, reviews, and inspiration to read more books!

Maybe you have 45 kids and work 10 jobs and are a single parent and legit don’t have time, that’s valid. But if you’re reading this post, I assume you WANT to read more so let’s prioritize it then. 

So what’s your why? Say it out loud to yourself. 

“I want to read more because ______.” Write it on a sticky note, put it on the fridge to remind you of why you’re setting this intention. 

Choose what you WANT to read, not what you feel like you “should” read.

This is a big one. Time is a very valuable resource. If you’re gonna set an intention to read more amongst your busy ass life, let’s please not settle for books that you’re reading just because it’s “popular” or what you feel you “should” read. No, no, no. 

You’re gonna be bored, unenthused, and it’s not going to light your passion for reading up like we want to. Instead of just following the pack, think about what you WANT to read!

There are SO MANY OPTIONS including drama, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, poetry, biographies, self-help, sci-fi and WAY more. Just writing out this list is getting me excited haha!

Check out this dive into 21 of the most popular book genres explained, on Oprah.com.

Allow yourself to have a DNF (did not finish) list

Part of finding what you like to read is learning what you don’t like to read. Ever get halfway through a book and you’re still not into it? WHY DO WE KEEP READING IT THEN?! I did it too! For years I was finishing books I had absolutely no interest in.

Maybe the plot or characters didn’t develop the way I thought. Sometimes it was a self-help book that wasn’t being very helpful. Yet I forced myself to finish them anyways as a weird kind of self-punishment I guess? Idk.. STOP DOING THAT! 

If you don’t like it by the first half, you’re probably not gonna like it by the end. Just my guess based on finishing a lot of books I hated by the half. I don’t see it as quitting anymore. 

Would you keep dating someone you were having horrible dates with? Of course not. That would keep you from the person/people you’re meant to actually be with. That’s how I view my DNF list.

They’re books that didn’t take the cake to make room for other more amazing books that ended up changing my life. 

Remember, time is valuable and limited! Don’t waste it reading shit books you hate. 

Limit distractions while reading

Our #1 distraction these days is obviously social media and our phones. If my phone is next to me, my brain has literally been hardwired to check it. So I put it in the other room when I read.

You can put yours in a box, under the bed, or anywhere out of sight out of mind so you can focus on reading. Trust me, your brain will thank you for the break from your phone! 

Another huge distraction is… KIDS of course! We have a few options here. 

Option 1: If they’re napping, that’s some reading time for you!

Option 2: Give them a book to read at the same time you’re reading yours – this strengthens their “reading is important” muscle and your own. It’s also a way of spending quality time together and getting your reading in at the same time! 

Make it extra special by heading to a park, or the beach with a picnic and your books.

Option 3: Before they even wake up, or after they go to bed. Case in point, read as part of your morning and night routine – described further below!

Read as part of your morning and night routine

My old morning routine 8+ years ago included kicking a rando out of my bed, chugging as much gatorade as I could find to cure my alcohol-induced dry mouth, finding my car where only God knows I left it the night before, and spending the next few hours apologizing to whoever was mad at me from my antics.

(Spoiler alert – I’m sober now 8 years.) So no judgement from me about whatever your morning routine includes!

Now, my friends tease me about my lengthy morning routine which actually isn’t all that lengthy compared to some of these “influencers” I see on Instagram with their green juices and such. But I digress.

Reading is a part of my morning and night routine because of my “why” behind it. In the morning, I read something spiritual/mindset/self-help related because it helps me get into a good headspace. 

It’s MUCH better than checking my phone once my eyes open and getting 17 cases of “their lives are better than mine” comparison-itis. So I get up, brush my teeth, pour my coffee, and get back into bed to read. It’s heavenly and helps me start my day on a good note. 

At night, instead of scrolling the doom-filled internet, I read something fiction or fun to help me wind down from the day. Even if it’s just 3-5 pages morning and night, you’ll breeze through books faster than before because it’s a DAILY habit you’re creating! 

Take your book/e-reader with you wherever you go

On the train, waiting in a long line, at the DMV, doctor’s office, waiting rooms, etc. are great places to read vs. scrolling the latest doomsday or comparison-itis inducing posts on Instagram, Facebook or the even more addicting (and problematic) TikTok!

Download the Kindle app for your phone (you can get library books for FREE straight to your kindle – more info below.) So that instead of scrolling social media while waiting for the train, at the doctor’s office, etc you can get some pages in!

Listen to your books vs. reading them

My sister has 5 kids under the age of 14. Yikes, I know, but they’re amazing of course! Somehow even with 5 kids she reads even more books than me honestly! Her secret? Audiobooks! She does a lot of driving to and from school for dropoff/pickup, sports, dance lessons, singing classes, etc. which is her #1 space for listening to her audiobooks.

She also listens while cleaning up after the kids are in bed, and while they’re doing their homework after school, and any other time she can fit it in.

If you have a commute for work, or you take a daily walk, these are also great times to pop your headphones in and listen to a book. Libby is an app described below where you can get FREE audiobooks right from your library!

Use Goodreads

This free app helps you organize all your books. Ones you’ve read, want to read, DNF (did not finish), currently reading, and whatever other lists you want to keep!

I like to use it to search for other books related to ones i’ve read and liked. You can see reviews for books you may be interested in and see what other people have to say about them. 

I’m always using my Goodreads app to remember specific books I recommend to other people since it has a record of (mostly) all the books i’ve read. 

Use Your Local Library

If you haven’t figured out by now, I read a shit ton of books. If I had to buy them all, i’d NEVER be able to keep up with this hobby of mine because I wouldn’t be able to afford it!

I reserve buying books for ones I can’t get at the library, or ones I think i’m going to want to read again and again. 

The library has almost always had whatever book i’m searching for either physical copy, audiobook, or e-book. 

Wait… audio and e-books for free from the library?! Yes! Check out Libby below for more info!

Use Libby for Free e-Books and Audiobooks

Libby is, quite simply, the shit. It’s a free app that allows you to rent e-books and audiobooks straight from your library. It’s SO easy to use and there are thousands of available titles at all times. 

I use Libby for both audiobooks and e-books. What I love about the e-books through Libby is I can deliver the books directly to my Kindle. That means I can read them on the Kindle app on my phone, or directly on my kindle. 

Learn more about and download Libby here

Join a Book Group

Get some friends/family together and make a book club! This is a great way to make reading social, fun, and serve as a more invigorating way of getting together with friends then just going to a bar/restaurant (which is also fun sometimes!) 

Books, snacks, wine (for those who drink!), friends, and great conversation. What else can you ask for?!

Learn how to start a book club here!

So that’s it! I hope this post was super helpful in getting you on a fast track to read more books.

Comment below with the last book you read that truly changed your life! Or any reading tips you have for others. We’d all love to hear from you!

Blog Lexy Penney Nutritionist Boston Intuitive Eating

Hi, I’m Lexy!

I’m a Registered Dietitian, yoga teacher, & body image coach.

I help women make peace with food and built trust with their bodies so they can live the lives they desire and deserve.

Hop on my email list for your weekly dose of food freedom, body liberation and self-care!

Lexy Penney Nutritionist Boston Intuitive Eating

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