We all have busy lives with work, family and friends, and many other things using up our precious time but I have always believed that we make time for the things we really want to do. So how can we make more time for reading?
Here are my top tips:
- Set yourself a target – it could be to read a book a month or to read for ½ hour every day.
- Use Goodreads.com to keep a list of the books you want to read and to track what you have finished reading – it’s also a good site to see what other readers think of books you have chosen.
- When you go to bed, leave your phone, tablet or any other mobile device in another room – aside from disturbing your sleep, you really don’t need to check your emails or social media again after 10 pm! Read a book for a while instead – and that can be a physical book or on a device like a Kindle that is not back-lit.
- If you commute by train – take a book with you to read rather than checking your phone.
- If you commute by car – try audio books, there are a lot more available nowadays.
- In fact, wherever you go, take a book with you. You never know when you might have time to read another chapter or two while you wait for an appointment.
- Get book recommendations from friends, family and colleagues – there are always new authors to be discovered and classics to be enjoyed again.
- Join a book club either online or local to where you live.
- Find the right book – J.K. Rowling is quoted as saying “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book yet.” There are so many books out there – we can’t possibly read them all, but find a genre you like and then search within that: Romance, Family Saga, Historical, Crime, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi, Dystopian … the list goes on. And then there are non-fiction books too on any subject you care to mention.
- Above all, enjoy your reading. If you are not loving a particular book you don’t have to finish it! It may well be something you come back to at another time but if not, time is too precious to waste on a book you are not enjoying.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
One of my all-time favourite books, and the one I have re-read most often, is Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier was writing psychological thrillers long before they were a thing. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” The famous opening line is all it takes to transport me to the gothic and haunting setting for this book. 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of its publication. It is deservedly a modern classic which has never been out of print.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
“If you could change the past, would you?” Rowan Coleman is a gifted author with a wonderful talent for making you care deeply about her characters. In essence, this is a story of love set in 2007 and the summer of 1977 in Brooklyn. It is atmospheric, descriptive, magical, compelling and, for a while at least, you can believe that anything is possible.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Before it was released, this title was cleverly marketed in social media with #WTFthatending. I read it within a day, so eager was I to find out what that ending was. The story starts ostensibly as a love triangle but transforms into a superb suspense thriller. I defy anyone to guess the ending if they haven’t read it before. WTF indeed. It has since been made into a Netflix series, but the book is better (just saying!).
Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary
Someone Else’s Skin was the deserved winner of the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year in 2015. It is the first in a series of books by Sarah Hilary featuring DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake. Marnie has a harrowing back story so it is worth reading them in order for that, though each book does stand alone. Sarah Hilary has an incredible knack for delving into very difficult topics – domestic abuse in this book – with empathy and an understanding of how hard it must be for the police to deal with. There are violent scenes but nothing is gratuitous. Police procedurals don’t get any better than this.
The other books in the series are: No Other Darkness, Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing, Come and Find Me, and Never Be Broken.
The One by John Marrs
A DNA test to find your perfect partner? Would you? What if you were already with someone? This book follows five people who have taken the test to find their soul mate. Twists and turns aplenty as their journeys continue along the emotional roller-coasters. It’s a clever premise for a book that poses some real moral and ethical questions with drama and brilliant plotting. No spoilers here – you’ll just have to read it for yourself. This book was also made into a Netflix series but, again, the book is better.
Do you want to read more? Which of my tips do you think you’ll be using to achieve that?
Are you inspired by any of the fiction suggestions? Do let me know what you are reading. I’m always on the look-out for book recommendations to feed my Tsundoku* habit.
* Tsundoku – the art of buying more books even though you have lots of books as yet unread with the intention of reading them all eventually. (It is a thing, honest!)