As a mom of three, part-time tutor, writer, and pastor’s wife, I have realized that if I wait around for some extra leisure time to read, I’ll never crack a book. However, when I approach reading as a necessity instead of a luxury, and prioritize my time accordingly, I can read at least two to three books a month and my life has been greatly enriched in the process. If you’d like to incorporate more reading into your life, might I offer you a few tips that have been helpful to me?
Decide Why You Want to Read
There are countless reasons: studies show reading fiction increases empathy and compassion; reading biographies can inspire and inform; book clubs are a great way to bond with neighbors and reading popular books can help spark conversations with others; reading classics can help us understand some of the factors that shaped western thought and fill in the gaps that we might have missed in our education; reading about other cultures (and from the perspective of other cultures) is one of the best paths to understanding; reading about our faith sparks growth; reading real books helps us limit our time on social media and our phones; reading in front of our children encourages them to be readers, reading with them is a great way to bond, and reading what they read can provide a springboard for a variety of conversations. Plus, reading can be refreshing, relaxing, and a whole lot of fun.
Decide What You Will Read
Initially, choosing books is not as easy as it might seem. You can start by rereading a book that you liked in the past (really good books are even better the second time), reading other books by that same author or books that author recommends, or checking Amazon to see suggestions based on that book. You might also ask a trusted friend with similar taste to recommend a book; sites like Goodreads show you what your friends are reading as well as track your own books and offer suggestions based on what you’ve already read. You might want to pick a particular genre as your guide: missionary biographies, historical fiction, classics (you can look up high school syllabi as a guide), or memoirs.
Decide When You Will Read
You might be surprised by how much reading you can get done in just fifteen minutes and you might also be surprised by how many fifteen minute segments you have scattered throughout your day. I often read before bed, in the carpool line, while waiting for various appointments or lessons, at lunch, and whenever I travel. I always carry a book in my purse or car because you never know when you will find yourself waiting (a friend is running late, a rehearsal goes long, etc.). Listening to audio books while driving, exercising, or cooking is also a great way to get some “reading” in. Reading aloud to my children has also been a wonderful way to read more books. Now that they are in school, I normally read to them while they’re having an after school snack or whenever we go on a long trip. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that they still enjoy this practice even though the oldest is in middle school and I’ve discovered some incredible children’s classics that I missed growing up.
Like so many rewarding things in life, making space in your life for reading takes a little planning, but I think you’ll find its well worth the sacrifice. I hope the books you find take you to new places, introduce you to new people, make you laugh and cry, and build bridges to those around you. Enjoy the adventure!
Erika Castiglione teaches English as a Second Language in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband, her daughter, and her two sons. She graduated from Auburn University and has also lived in China, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Her debut young adult novel The Hopper-Hill Family is a story of loss, rediscovery, and the beauty and complexity of familial love. http://www.thehopperhillfamily.com. You can find Erika's book reviews at http://msbookstop.com