Source: Delmaine Donson / Getty
About a quarter of Americans don’t read books, according to Pew Research Center. Several factors seem to correlate with poor reading time, including household income and gender (men are most likely not to have read a book in the past year). The US time use survey conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most Americans spend just over 15 minutes a day reading something for personal enjoyment. But reading should not only be seen as a pleasure or a luxury. Research has shown that there are real mental and physical benefits to reading. A study of the National Library of Medicine shows that reading increases the capacity for empathy. Further research on Neurology.org shows that those who read regularly are less likely to develop plaque in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
These books that collect dust on your shelf don’t have to be just for decoration – they are tools for your overall well-being. But we understand: in today’s society, it can be difficult to find the time or the motivation to sit down and read a book. More attracts our attention in a dozen directions today than was the case with our grandparents or great-grandparents. So, on International Literacy Day, here are some tips to help you love reading again.
Source: Grace Cary / Getty
1) Create a reading corner
One thing that might keep you from getting back to reading could be the simple fact that you don’t have a comfortable, quiet place to do it. As with everything from sleeping to working from home, it’s hard to do something if you don’t have a dedicated space for it. This is especially difficult if other members of your household don’t recognize and respect it when you read. Create a reading nook. Get into a very comfortable chair – try a recliner, as perfectly aligning your spine and raising your legs can encourage you to stay put for hours. Get a good reading light so you don’t strain your eyes to see the text. Add a comfy pillow and blanket so you don’t have to get up to adjust the temperature if you’re cold.
Source: Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty
2) Create a club
If you are a social butterfly or a true extrovert, reading can be especially difficult because it is a lonely activity. However, you can probably – like most extroverts – be motivated by the promise of social activity at the end of the task. So start a book club. You can expect to know that if you read up, you can have a fun evening of wine, cheese and book with friends and have an interesting conversation about reading. But, you can’t intervene in the conversation if you haven’t read! Be sure to add members that you will be very happy to see and talk to each week.
Source: Nastasic / Getty
3) find books that will improve your life
If you are a goal oriented person who enjoys consuming information that will improve your life then maybe reading is difficult for you because you are not that keen on novels. We understand this. A novel about a sultry affair involving BDSM doesn’t really enrich the mind. So maybe you need some life changing books. You can check out psychology books that cover how the mind works and help you develop new psychological perspectives, states of mind, and tools to tackle everything from your career goals to your mental health issues. Knowing that when you are done with these books your life could be better could really encourage you to read.
Source: Grace Cary / Getty
4) Read the book a favorite movie is based on
It can be a lot of fun reading a book that a favorite TV show or movie is based on. And there are plenty of them today. It’s like working backwards. Some people read all the books before seeing the movie, but if you’ve seen the movie before, that’s okay. It can be fascinating to see how the source material differs from the movie or series. Sometimes you will find interesting elements of a character or scene that were not part of the rendering on screen. These can give you a whole new way of seeing history. Then it can be fun to revisit how the screen looks with this new understanding.
Source: MediaNews Group / Reading Eagle via Getty Images / Getty
5) Hide in a library
If you can’t get your family or roommates to leave you alone while you read at home, you can always sneak into a library. Or, maybe a bookstore. Do a little exploring and find a classic bookstore or library in your town where you can snuggle up in a corner for hours without a break. Turn off your phone (this is usually required in libraries, anyway). Being physically removed from your normal surroundings and surrounded by piles of books and that good book smell can also take you mentally. You will be amazed at how much you lose track of time while reading in a library corner.
Source: Grace Cary / Getty
6) just make a day
For some, it is difficult to start a task if you are overwhelmed by the end goal. So don’t stress about finishing the book. Don’t think it’s 300 pages. Just do 10 pages a day. Hey, you can start with five pages a day. Assign yourself what is reasonable for your schedule. Before you know it, reading time won’t be a task but actually the thing you can’t wait to do. You to have to read when your other tasks are done. You might start to see that it’s very relaxing because when you read it means you’re not doing the dishes or responding to emails.
Source: Nancy Brown / Getty
7) read in the bath
For some, it’s about creating an environment where nothing can get in the way of your reading. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably learned this trick: when mom is in the bath, no one can disturb her. There is an understanding in the house that it is your personal care time. And people generally understand that asking you to do something means asking you to get out of the tub, so they ask the parent who is not in the tub instead. Grab your book, get yourself a cute little tub basket to keep it dry, add a glass of wine and some candles, and soak in lukewarm water and a good read.
Source: blackCAT / Getty
8) wrap your book
Your book can be your savior in stressful or even just plain boring situations. Keep it in your purse or backpack. You will start to notice at all those times of your day that you want to get away from it all in a book, like when you are sitting in your dentist’s lobby, waiting for your visit. Or when you are sitting in your child’s parking lot, waiting to pick it up. How about when you are just waiting for the laundry to finish? A book turns those moments that seem like wasted time into pleasant escapes from reality. You might not find the time to read at home, but you can probably find the time to read away from home.