A graphic illustration of a woman who stands holding a book, while 5 other books fly around her in a circle. Image courtesy of Dzianis Vasilyeu via Vecteezy

The year was 2020 and I looked up from my phone, realizing I had been scrolling mindlessly on Instagram for over an hour.

It was my first experience working from home and I found that I had more time on my hands than ever before.

Why was I wasting it on social media? Why not read a book?

I started reading in the morning and during breaks at work. I rented audiobooks from the library. I went from barely reading any books to reading over 80 a year, and I’ve only increased my annual book consumption since then!

You, too, can expand your reading habit with just a few tweaks to your life.

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What Should You Read?

A graphic illustration of a man surrounded by several dozen books. Image courtesy of Dzianis Vasilyeu via Vecteezy

If you’re not sure what to read, start with genres you like and go from there.

What did you read as a kid? Re-read your childhood favorites! 🐲

Do you love a particular movie or TV show? See if it's based on a book. 🎬

Do you like biographies? Try historical fiction. 📜

Do you like comics? Read a graphic novel. 💥

Do you like reading books with a female protagonist? Check out Reese's Book Club. 🕵️‍♀️

Do you idolize a celebrity? See if they’ve written a memoir. 🎭

Is a book you like part of a series? Read the rest of the series. 📚

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For recommendations, check out:

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  • Your local library

  • Libby, Hoopla, Sora, or Overdrive (may require a library card — these apps allow you to rent eBooks for your Kindle, phone, or other eReader, or audiobooks you can listen to on your phone)

Where Should You Read?

A graphic illustration of a woman holding a stack of almost 20 books. Image courtesy of Elada Vasilyeva via Vecteezy

Where you read depends on how you read.

  • Physical books: read at home, at a café, at a park, or in the waiting room at the dentist's office. If you have kids or take care of kids, read at their games and events! 

  • Kindle or other eReader: same as physical books. Check if you need Wi-Fi to access your book list. If you don't have access to a library, search for eBooks at Project Gutenberg.

  • Audiobooks: Listen while you commute, go for a walk, run errands, do chores, or do crafts. Purchase through sites like Audible and Scribd or rent through Libby.

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When Should You Read?

Man holds book up to his face, reading. Behind him are shelves of books. Image courtesy of Elada Vasilyeva via Vecteezy

Read anytime!

Read before work or school. I've found that this is a calming way to start the day and a good way to continue my reading habit. Get up a few minutes earlier than normal or just read while you eat breakfast or drink your coffee/tea. 

Read before bed. Make reading part of your bedtime routine! As an easy visual reminder, keep a book on your bedside table. 

Be ready to read! Bring a book or Kindle in your bag or car. Personally, I always keep my Bluetooth headphones with me so I can listen to an audiobook when I have time to spare. Flaticon Icon


Patrick is a student who catches an early bus to school. When could he find time to read? Select all that apply:

How Should You Read?

A graphic illustration of a woman ready on a cozy chair with a cat. Next to the chair is a standing lamp and a pile of books. Image courtesy of Dzianis Vasilyeu via Vecteezy

It doesn’t matter how you read. It all counts.

Read a physical book or a digital book, or listen to an audiobook.

Read a book a day or a book a month.

Skim, speed read, or take notes while you read.

Read to a child, read to your dog, read to your plants, read with a book club, or read silently to yourself.

No one is keeping score.

To make reading a special activity, designate a cozy place, gather soft pillows and blankets, and prepare a mug of tea or coffee. Turn on a bright lamp. Light a candle.

You're the hero on this journey, so you decide what the path looks like! Flaticon Icon

Why Should You Read?

A graphic illustration of a girl reading a book. She is sitting on a stack of 6 giant books. Image courtesy of drawlab via Freepik

If you're reading to learn a skill or enhance your career, set a goal of how much time you'll read each day.

If you’re reading for fun, try to avoid putting too much structure or pressure on yourself.You can make goals to read a certain number of minutes each day or a certain number of books each year. If it starts to feel like work, then change your goals.

Either way, it's fun to track the books you read in Goodreads or in a notebook and then look back at what you read in previous years!

I read for fun, so I intentionally underestimate my reading goal. 

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Noelle babysits a toddler 2 nights a week and has to study the other 3 nights of the week. She also works at a café on weekends and visits the gym several times a week. How can Noelle find time to read for fun? Select all that apply:

Budget-Friendly Reading Tips

A graphic illustration of 3 people at a table, each of whom is reading a book. Image courtesy of Dzianis Vasilyeu via Vecteezy

Develop a reading habit whether you buy books or not. Think about your resources (money and space).

  • If you want a personal library but have a limited budget, buy second-hand at thrift stores, yard sales, used book stores, library book sales, and sites like Thrift Books and Abe Books.

  • If you have the money for a personal library, go for it! Invest in sturdy shelves and start collecting. Flaticon Icon

Looking for free resources?

To save money, check out books from the library!

  • Pick up physical books, magazines, newspapers, or movies at your library.

  • Check out eBooks and audiobooks through Libby, Hoopla, and Overdrive without leaving the house.

If you don't have access to a library, search the following free online libraries:

Alternatively, arrange a book swap with friends. Flaticon Icon

Take Action

A graphic illustration of a woman reading a book while lying on the ground. Her hair is spread out among the grass and flower Image courtesy of Dzianis Vasilyeu via Vecteezy

There’s no right or wrong way to be a reader.

You decide how you cultivate your love of reading.Before long, your TBR (to-be-read) list will grow and you will forget that you ever thought you had no time for reading.

May your TBR list be long and your heart be full of stories!

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Check out more Bytes about reading:


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