Do you have fond memories of curling up with a good book as a kid and reading for hours? Classroom read-a-thons designated a “special day” for reading, a truly special treat in the not so distant past. In our youth, entire days could be lost wandering a Barnes and Noble or library.
Fast forward to today, and you likely have a bookshelf full of books that you may have started, but never got beyond the first chapter. In our fast-paced smartphone world, human’s attention span is, in fact, declining. And the demands of adulthood may mean that the last thing we think we have time for is to read a book.
However, thanks to technology, there are innovative ways to increase the total number of books consumed, redefining the way we read. Here are some tips to help you rewrite your relationship with books.
Listen to audiobooks
Reading a book is an active task; you cannot do anything else while you are reading. However, listening to an audiobook is more passive, so audiobooks allow you to multitask while you take in the book. You can drive, cook, clean or exercise while an audiobook keeps you company. Some people are visual learners, while others may be auditory learners. If you are more of an auditory learner, you may be delighted to discover that listening to audiobooks makes a major difference for improving your information retention.
One great way to access audiobooks is to become a member of Audible. For a $15 monthly subscription fee, you’ll be able to download a new audio book every month, and there are over 500,000 books!
However, who doesn’t love free access to books?! Did you know that you can likely check out audiobooks from your local library? The Libby App has a modern interface and mirrors Audible’s functionality. You may have to wait while a library hold is placed on your desired audiobook, and after a few weeks, it will be “returned” to the library. So, be sure to begin listening to your book as soon as you are notified that it has arrived on your phone.
One other pro-tip – consider listening to your audiobooks on 1.5x speed. The rapid narration pace can be divisive, some people love it and others hate it. However, if you adjust to faster narration speeds, you’ll finish your books faster and have more time to get onto the next.
Read eBooks on your phone
If you have seen The Social Dilemma, you know that our hopeless addiction to social media apps on our smartphones is doing significant damage to society. Many people are trying to intentionally find ways to reduce or eliminate the time they spend on social media.
Let’s be realistic though – sometimes, you are sitting in a waiting room, and you just want to look to your phone for a little entertainment and distraction. Consider deleting your social media apps and instead fill that screentime reading eBooks.
Libby, the app we love for free audiobooks, can also open up a world of access to free eBooks. You can also download the Kindle app for your phone and read downloaded eBooks on-the-go.
Make it social
Lastly, a great way to ensure that you read more is to have social accountability set up. Goodreads allows you to track the books you want to read, are currently reading, and have completed. You can write reviews of the books you’ve completed and be informed by fellow readers’ reviews before starting a new book.
Sync Goodreads up with your contact list to see what books your friends are reading. You can also set up a reading challenge to complete a certain number of books in a specific time frame and if you are competitive, you may discover that your friends’ reading challenge success is enough to motivate you to complete the books you’ve begun.
And of course, we can’t forget the good ole fashioned book club! In a world where people are feeling increased social isolation, a book club offers something truly special. Acting as a modern-day thought salon, book club conversations can spark meaningful dialogue and deepen relationships. They provide a network of friends who you know you’ll get to connect with on a regular cadence. Book clubs also offer accountability to ensure you complete the books you began.
In a world of quick moving TikTok videos and countless short tweets, perhaps an eloquently written book savored slowly with a group of dear friends can offer far more than any social media app ever could.