I’m a little bit obsessed with stories. I guess you already know that, seeing as I write it every chance I get: every story matters.

And so it should really be of no surprise, how my love of stories connects with my deep love for a good book. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a book-lover. Yeah, I was that girl who showed up to the dinner table with a book in her hand. Sometimes I read straight through the meal. Listen, I make no apologies.

You can always find the time to open up a new world.

Maybe you’re like me with your nose always in a book. Maybe you’re more like many of my good friends and could go years without cracking open the spine of a book.

But here’s the thing: You need to read. You need to get those stories deep inside you, letting them wedge their way into who you are. You’ve got to open a book so you can soak in the words that you’ll find inside. Because stories? They change lives. But you’re going to have to open the book and begin.

I’ve read 32 books in 2015 and we’re only in July. And yes, I was in college and working part-time until May. If I could find the time in between working, classes, homework and starting a Virtual Assistant business, then trust me… you can too. No excuses, people. No excuses. You can always find the time to open up a new world. {<– Click here to tweet}

If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are 6 tips that work for me.

6 ways to read more books every month

1. Download books to your phone (or Kindle/Nook).

Nothing compares to the smell of a new book or the feeling of turning the paper-thin pages, but a Kindle (or Nook, etc) or the free Kindle app (for phone or computer) make it so easy to read a few pages when you find yourself with fringe hours or “extra” unexpected time — like when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or in the school pick-up line or in between classes. It isn’t practical to always carry a paperback with you throughout the day, but how often are you apart from your phone?

Of the 32 books I’ve read this year, 11 of them are from my Kindle app. Most of that reading happened in small, unexpected pockets of time. But if you know you’ll have a short break every week, you can set that time aside to read another few pages. Somehow, it’s like giving yourself a gift. Every Wednesday from January-May, I had a twenty-five minute break between class and grabbing lunch with a friend. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to read another chapter. Multiple books were started and finished on those Wednesday mornings.

P.S. Kindle Unlimited is currently free. You’ll receive unlimited access to over 1 million titles, unlimited access to audiobooks, and can browse popular (brand new) magazines. Click here for a free month (or two months for $0.99) and see if it’s worth it! It’s really easy to cancel, if not.

Updated to add: I now have (and really like!) the Kindle Paperwhite (waterproof). I reach for it all the time in my daily life, but I appreciate it most when I’m traveling (so many titles in one space, and no more saving room in the suitcase for books).

2. Join a book club.

Online. In person. Whatev.

3. Highlight, underline, and star the heck out of those pages.

There’s a decent chance that if you read a book and absolutely love it, you’ll read it again down the road. But if you only somewhat like the book, are you truly ever going to read the entire thing again? Doubtful. So how do you retain the parts you loved, the ideas that grabbed you, the words that moved you?

It’s so simple. Highlight them! Or underline. Or put little stars or brackets around paragraphs. It will not only be easy to find what you loved when you look back at the book later, but it will encourage you to keep reading. The more I underline a book, the more I love it and want to turn the next page. And then when you finish, you’ll easily be able to look back and see what moved you.

4. Connect with authors online.

This makes book-reading so much more fun! Tweet a quote from the book and tag the author. Comment on an Instagram post related to their book and let them know what you’ve enjoyed so far. Most of the time I receive a response and this often builds a more personal connection in my mind next time I read their words, as they aren’t just “that author out there somewhere” but a real person. (This is always true, but can be easy to forget.)

5. Sign up to receive advance access to upcoming books.

I’ve been a member of NetGalley for several years and it’s one of the ways I’m able to read books before they come out. (Keep in mind that if you sign up and download a book, you’re agreeing to write a review on NetGalley.) There’s something really fun about reading a manuscript before it’s widely available, which might keep you turning the pages more so than a title on your nightstand.

6. Purchase an audio book and listen as you drive to work or run errands.

This one is self-explanatory, but much like reading a page or two on your Kindle (or Kindle app) when you find yourself with an unexpected few minutes in your day, this is one way to utilize time that can’t otherwise involve a book. Reading while driving is a terrible idea… but an audiobook coming through your speakers? Perfect! If you commute to work — or even just listen to a book on your way to and from the grocery store — you’ll read more books every month/year as time goes on. If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, you’ll love Audible! (If you have Amazon Prime but you aren’t using Audible, you actually already have TWO free books in your account.)


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