Did you read lots as a child but haven’t picked up a book in years? Have you never been a big reader but are looking to get started? Or recently started reading after a long break? If you’re a less experienced reader or looking to get started with reading, the Breaking Into Books series is for you! This is the first post in an ongoing series posted every other Sunday with tips and advice for new readers or readers that have recently returned to books after a long break (like me!). As a fairly new reader myself, I know how intimidating and overwhelming it can be to get started, so here are my top five tips for where to start with reading and how to break into books 📚
Tip #1 – Discover the genre(s) you enjoy
There are millions of books in the world so narrowing your choices down by focusing on specific genres is essential. Fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, historical fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, romance, thriller, graphic novel, adventure… the list of genres goes on. Generally, you should be able to pick a few genres that are of interest to you based on your other interests. Reflect on the films and tv shows that you enjoy, what genre are they in? Also take time to reflect on themes or topics that are important to you and what you want to get from a book. Do you want to educate yourself with facts on real-life topics? If so, non-fiction might be the right genre for you. Do you want to immerse yourself in an entirely new world? If so, fantasy might be the right genre for you.
Do some research into the genres, write down 3-5 genres that interest you and choose one book from each genre to read to get a feel for which one(s) you enjoy. It’s going to involve a lot of trial and error (I’m still feeling out the types of books I love), so be patient and don’t be afraid to give up on a book that you’re not enjoying.
Tip #2 – Establish a reading routine
All readers will struggle with the motivation to read (slumps are an ever threatening presence in all of our lives!), but when you’re a less experienced reader, lack of motivation is even greater. Setting aside specific times in the day/week which are devoted to reading will help you to tackle this. Even if it’s just 30 minutes every day, it’s a relatively small commitment but will enable you to read a good chunk. When I first started reading, I really struggled with motivation and getting into a rhythm with it massively helped. Eventually, reading became a part of my daily routine to the point that it felt weird if I had a day where I didn’t read. Like anything else, it’s about practice. The more you read, the more it will become part of your life and who you are as a person.
Tip #3 – Prioritise quality over quantity
Goodreads challenges and increased participation in book blogging, booktube and bookstagram has created a datafication culture amongst readers. We all want to know how to read more and read faster. But when you’re just starting out with reading and are already struggling with motivation, the pressure to read more can decrease motivation even further. Reading should be about enjoyment and reading one book in a month that you love is more worthwhile than reading 10 books that are just okay.
Tip #4 – Find bookish friends
Reading is generally considered a solitary activity, but making it social completely elevates the experience. Being part of a book club will motivate you to read a book each month and having discussions with others will immerse you more into the reading experience and the books you read. If you don’t know anyone IRL who reads, there are plenty of online book clubs and spaces in the bookish community that you can get involved with. Having a group of bookish friends will give you an outlet for discussing what you’ve been reading and also provide peer support when you’re slogging your way through a tricky book or you’re struggling with motivation.
Tip #5 – Don’t give up!
Reading is a time consuming activity which requires lots of focus and dedication. In this era of technology, distractions are abound and personal circumstances, mood, mental health and work commitments etc. can all impact reading. Our attention spans are limited and particularly when you’re not in the practice of reading, sitting for a long period of time to read can be a challenge (I still struggle with this now). If you have a day or even a month where you don’t read anything, don’t be hard on yourself. Perseverance is key and if you follow Tip #4, hopefully you’ll have have bookish pals to support and encourage you through those times! Above all, reading should be something you do because it enriches, entertains and educates you. If you go into reading with this singular goal in mind, you won’t give up because it’ll be worth pushing through those slumps in order to experience those books which have a impact on you and steal a piece of your heart.
Those are my five tips for new readers, I hope you found them useful! 😊 I’ll be sharing more tips and advice in future posts in the Breaking Into Books series and will be expanding on the tips mentioned in this post, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled 👀
What tips would you recommend for those that are looking to get started with reading?
Stay safe, my lovelies and keep reading.