Are you goal-motivated? Try setting up a Goodreads 2024 Reading Challenge! Making an account on Goodreads is free and easy. An account also allows you to connect with friends and fellow readers to see what everyone else is reading, gain book recommendations, enter free book giveaways, and compete in the yearly reading competition! When you sign up for the challenge, simply enter the number of books you want to read by the end of the year, then log your reading progress as you start and finish books. You also have the ability to rate books and write reviews. Goodreads will help to keep you motivated by telling you how many books you need to read each month to complete your goal and the percentage of your reading goal you have completed. The Goodreads 2023 Reading Challenge had over 7,575,000 participants, with an average of 43 books pledged per person. I especially love seeing when I am ahead of schedule, and this will be my fifth consecutive year participating!
Who doesn’t like FREE things? Your local public library is an excellent resource for obtaining free books in a variety of formats and genres. Here in Pima County, you need to show proof of a Pima County residence, such as bringing in a piece of mail with your address and name, to obtain a library card at the front desk of a public library. The displays of new books can be a great way to get reading inspiration. Pima County Library also offers a collection of literacy reads and large print books. With shelves packed with books, it will be nearly impossible to resist grabbing everything that stands out to you, which will help you meet those reading goals in no time!
Do you have a busy lifestyle? Try listening to audiobooks on the go. Commute: listen to an audiobook. Your morning run: listen to an audiobook. Cooking dinner: listen to an audiobook. Make it a habit to have an audiobook downloaded before you leave the house so you can tune in wherever your day may take you. My favorite places to listen to free audiobooks include Hoopla and OverDrive, which I log into with my public library card. The number of audiobooks available is endless, with something for every listener!
As a psychology major, I know firsthand that creating a reading routine that fits with your lifestyle can be one of the best ways to read every day and, in turn, read more. I recommend objectively considering everything you do in your day and carving out a specific time when you can relax and dig into a new book. I personally read every night before bed. This process helps me decompress before trying to fall asleep. If you are having a hard time finding free space in your schedule, try swapping out other activities, such as scrolling through social media or watching TV, for reading. To stay motivated, make reading time something that you look forward to each day by creating a comfortable and distraction-free area you can read in.
Raise your hand if you have ever fallen into a reading slump. I usually find myself unmotivated to stick to my reading routine and goals when I find myself picking up the same types of books over and over again. When this happens, you are either selecting the wrong book or choosing the right book at the wrong time. Variety is one of the keys to reading, and rotating between your favorite genres can help keep you wanting to read. I recommend always reading two books at the same time that are very distinct so you don’t get them confused. This way, you can select the book that fits better with the day’s mood and stay on track.
The same old thing will get boring fast. Don’t be afraid to walk on the wild side and step into a new genre. If you always gravitate toward the romance section, don’t be scared to try a mystery. You may even surprise yourself and discover a whole new world of books. But more importantly, don’t restrict the kind of books you read. There is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” book. If you are reading books that appeal to you, it will be much easier to read more because you will want to read. Life is too short to deny yourself the books you want to read.
Just say no. Sometimes, a book is like a first date, and it just doesn’t work out. I live by the 100-page rule. If you hate the main character or writing style by page 100, the book is most likely not worth your time. There are so many books out there, and finding the right ones to read can feel a lot like matchmaking. If it doesn’t work out, simply turn to a different book and keep reading. You owe it to yourself to not keep going out with a lemon.
Access to millions of books right at the tips of your fingertips is a magical and powerful experience. An e-reader can be your ticket to having a variety of books always on hand anywhere you are without having to visit the library or take up space in your crowded room with a stack of books. One of my favorite things about e-readers is you can instantly see your percentage of the book completed and can bookmark pages to refer back to later. Oftentimes, e-readers will also offer recommendations based on the past books you’ve read. Plus, no papercuts!
Need someone to hold you accountable to finishing a book or want fellow readers to discuss with? Book clubs can be a great way to meet other readers, talk about books you love, and keep everyone turning the pages. If your friends are also readers, try checking out a book club kit from your local library and establish a regular meeting time. Here in Pima County, the library offers a variety of book clubs in different branches across Tucson for different reading levels and ages. The University of Arizona has its very own book club, UA Bookworms! Up in Oro Valley, Stacks Book Club is a local bookstore café that hosts a variety of events and book clubs in a stylish setting.
If you are interested in learning more about Stacks, check out our interview with Crispin Jeffrey-Franco, co-owner of Stacks Book Club, here.
Pine Reads Review posts a new review, blog, or interview every day that supports diverse and debut children’s, middle grade, and young adult authors! Search our website for ideas if you ever are in need of something good to read. We recently brought back our bi-monthly podcast, Turn the Page!, which is available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, and more! Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter/X, and Facebook to stay up to date.
Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer & Editor