Do you have an appetite to read more, but struggle to find the time?
Or perhaps you already find some time to read, but want to be able to indulge your love of all things fiction a little deeper?
Then this is the post for you!
Making time to read is something that a staggering amount of people struggle with. With the advent of e-readers, it has become easier than ever, but it's still often quoted as the hobby people wish they had more time for. When you're exhausted after a long day, it's a lot easier to stare blankly at the TV than to pick up a book and engage with it - even if you want to. Sometimes, you just don't have enough mental energy left.
It's all the more difficult when you find yourself stuck in a rut. There are only so many "must have" books that everyone is reading and talking about. If you have exhausted a supply of your favorite authors, then you can find yourself wondering where to turn.
So to refresh, find time for and indulge your love of reading, here are a few ideas to make 2017 a great year for you and the novels you can explore.
1. Find The Time
Of course, it's easier said than done!
If the only time you have to read is before bed, then you're going to struggle. You may find yourself opening a book (or your Kindle case!) and then realizing your eyes are only closing.
Reading can be classified as a viable hobby the way popular hobbies like cross-stitching or playing a sport are. You would never relegate these into the time slot of right before bed, so if you really want to expand what you're reading, you have to expand the hours available.
The best way to do this is to treat it as an incentive. If the housework is piling up or your boss has sent you home with more work than you wanted, then let the novel be the light at the end of your tunnel. Promise yourself if you get through something you don't want to do you will get half an hour (or even just 10 minutes) to read. It will make the chore pass faster and then give you some guaranteed time with eyes on the page.
2. Reading Something Different Once A Month
The old saying that you should never judge a book by its cover is a valuable one - but how many of us obey it? The truth is that a cover can be attractive, catch our eye and interest us, even if the contents subsequently don't.
Try and pledge that, once a month, you will try something that you wouldn't normally. Go and seek out the dark, small front covers that you would usually skim past. Try a different genre or an author you have never heard of.
There's also a wealth of gold to be found in books that are translated from different languages. They have usually been big hits in their home country, but aren't marketed as aggressively in the English language. Seek these out as, without looking for them, you're unlikely to stumble across them - but there are some real gems to be found. In particular, German and Swedish translations are generally excellent and contain wonderful stories you otherwise would have missed.
3. Switch The Way You Read Among the reading community, the debate over e-readers such as the Kindle and standard paper books is a raging one. For some, there is no beating the feel of turning a page and feeling the story beneath your fingers. For others, the convenience of an entire bookshelf at your fingertips and being able to read one-handed is a wondrous invention.
You probably have your own preference, too. However, there is a third way of thinking: some books suit each format.
There's no reason it should be this way, but you will see the opinion constantly if you frequent book-lover forums. The consensus is that large-scale epic fantasy books (such as Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire) suit paperback more than they do e-readers. One-book stories tend to fare better read off a screen.
If you've been struggling to get into a book, then consider switching the format to see if it helps. Check out offers for free kindle books too - if you don’t enjoy them, you haven’t wasted a penny.
4. Use TV As An "In"
One of the worst parts of wanting to read more and struggling is when you can't get into the world of a book. It's miserable; knowing there are stories there but you can't quite gather your mind to focus on them. There's no doubt that this becomes easier with practice, but if it happens to you often, then it's time to address it.
You can warm up your ability to absorb yourself in a book by using TV shows as a way into a story. For example, Game of Thrones is based on George RR Martin's fantasy epic series A Song of Ice and Fire. However, it is significantly different, and there's still plenty of extra details to be gained from the book version. You will find it easier to fall into the plot and characters when it is familiar to you - and it gives your brain the chance to remember how to follow a storyline on the page.
A few others to consider include the "The Night Manager" by John le Carre - adapted and starring Tom Hiddleston - and there's plenty of other options.
5. Join A Book Club
It's easier than ever to join a book club, which can be a wonderful way of immersing yourself in books. You can get and share tips, talk about plot points you found confusing and pick up recommendations from people who really know what you like. It's simple, effective and can be done from the comfort of your sofa using online options. So if you've never done it before, it might be just the thing you need to inspire you back into reading.