This past year, I set a lofty goal of 50 books for the year, imagining it could be a good challenge to read a book a week. No, I don’t get to read while working. (Whenever someone discovers I work at a library and tries to tell me what a dream job it must be to sit at a desk and read in the quiet all day, I politely ask them when was the last time they used a library.) While I wasn’t reading at work, the nature of my work made reading a priority for me. I haven’t always been the most enthusiastic reader. Throughout childhood, reading was a fun escape from this world into new ones. In college, reading continued to open my eyes to new lessons but in all honesty it could be a chore. It took some practice to rebuild the habit of reading and find joy from it. In 2018, I read a whopping 75 books and loved them! I never thought it would be possible for me to rediscover my inner child who couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.

For the person who is trying to find their way back to reading or for the ambitious reader who wants to hike up their Goodreads tally, here are some tips based on my experience as a reader and library staff member:

Stack of books with the spines out, showing titles.
A stack of a few of the books I read this year, available at the Rock Hill Library

All reading is reading.

There are people (with no expert authority to say so) that will totally dismiss reading comics, graphic novels, YA books, or even audiobooks. With the power vested in me as a local library staff person, I want you to disregard this forever! Do you love a YA novel? Do you enjoy re-reading a book you read in middle school? Do you love comics? Do like to read think-pieces online? Do you listen to books on your commute? Congratulations, you are a reader! Your reading is valid, and all types of reading – from magazines to comics to textbooks – help work those reading muscles.

Read what you want.

See above. Whatever you want to read is valid. If you need recommendations about what to read next, you can always ask a librarian for help. You can also browse expert read-alike recommendations on Novelist Plus or check out crowd-sourced reading lists and reviews on Goodreads.

Pick up a few books at a time.

I’m going to dive right into this 500+ page non-fiction book I picked up, right? I often go through discouraging ruts of “but I said I’d read this next…” My quick fix: try a couple of books at once, and one of them is bound to grab my attention. If I’m making significant progress reading something, I am more likely to be encouraged to tackle something a little drier or tougher or just longer.

Try starting short.

Remember that 500+ page book I was talking about? It’s still absolutely untouched. If you’ve been in a reading dry spell, make your goal achievable. My current book club criteria is 200 pages or less. We’ve accepted we’re wildly busy. If it’s short, we don’t feel so intimidated. You’ll feel so accomplished after you read any book, so there’s no shame in searching for shorter reads!

Yes, you are allowed to quit that book.

I am giving you permission to put that book down if you just aren’t loving it. Move on. I was so disheartened to set down a short story collection I had had on my to-read list for months, but after three renewals, my attention was elsewhere. Reading was becoming a chore again. I was bored, and that’s OKAY. I gave it a fair shot, and it was time to move on for now. I can always revisit the book later. Don’t beat yourself up. Keep searching for the next gripping read.

Find the best HOW for you.

As much as what you read can affect your enjoyment of reading, so can how you read. There’s nighttime readers, early-bird readers, whenever-I-get-five-minutes readers. Do you prefer to read on your phone, on paper, on an e-reader? How about listening? Experiment with different ways of reading and you may just find a method that works great for you.

Find community.

Like setting any goal, there’s power in accountability. Join a library book club (Rock Hill meets the first Saturday of the month!) or grab a group of friends to start your own. We can request book club kits for you!

May your new year be filled with books, dear bookworm! Share what you’re reading with us and if you have a reading resolution in the comments!

Post & Photo by Allie 

View my 2018 reading list here