Yes, I’m talking to you. I’m not going to tell you how to make sure your kids keep reading (though I talked about Summer Reading for Kids last month and will share more of our experiences ). I hope I’ll give you some ideas, but at the very least, I hope to convince you to create a plan to make or take some time for your own summer reading. About 10 years ago, I made an intentional list of books I wanted to read just for me. It reawakened the childhood bookworm in me, and look at me now! I read over 100 books last year (inclusive of many lighter and shorter YA and middle grade kids’ books).
Of course all of us reviewers at 5 Minutes for Books are year-round readers, but I have a lot of friends who just don’t have the time to fit reading into their everyday lives. Some of those people love a good story, and when they have the time to read, they soak it in. Would you like to find just a little time to up your reading? Maybe you have never been much of a reader, but there is a book you keep hearing about that you’d like to give a try. Perhaps you love books, but life has prevented you from spending as much time reading as you want, as had happened to me all those years ago.
Maybe you can find a little time for reading during
- Business or solo travel
- Those pockets of time while you are waiting for your kids at summer activities
- The lazier schedule of summer that gives you more time for yourself
- A family road trip (especially if you are encouraging your kids to get some of their summer reading in as well)
Though I read all the time, generally having more than one book going at a time, this summer I am going to take some of that extra time to tackle the stack of books on my shelf that are not review copies, hoping to squeeze them in between my reading deadlines.
Tip #1: Get your hands on the books you want to read
Most libraries have an online search and hold feature. Browse online and put a book on hold. You’ll receive a text or email when your book is in. It could be a couple of days or a couple of months, depending on the popularity. Most libraries have physical copies as well as ebooks that you can reserve. At my library, when I get the email about an ebook for my Kindle, I click through and it takes me directly to my amazon account to download it for the borrow period. It’s awesome!
You can also keep a list on your phone of books that people have mentioned. That way if you are at a tag sale or used bookstore or airport bookstore looking for something to read, you can remember all those books mentioned in passing.
I have read Marisa de los Santos’ latest novels, but haven’t been able to find the time to read her first two, which fans still herald as her best. When I found copies of Love Walked In and Belong to Me in my favorite used book store last month, I snatched them up, thinking that I’d be more likely to read them if they are sitting on my shelf.
Tip #2: Try a New Format
I love audiobooks. They aren’t for everyone, but they definitely help me squeeze in some reading time when I otherwise might not be able to. I stick my earbuds in and listen to books while I’m doing housework, when I’m walking, when I’m out shopping and doing errands.
I followed tip #1 when I downloaded the audio version of All The Light We Cannot See when Audible.com was having a sale. It’s been several months, and I haven’t gotten to it yet, but this is a book that has been on the bestseller list for almost a year, and each new person who reads it tells me how much they love it, so I want it to be ready when I find the time to listen.
In addition to perhaps trying audiobooks, you might try ebooks if you haven’t. The convenience of having digital books on my Kindle has also upped my reading time. You can even read on your phone! It’s not for me, but I know lots of people who find that having a book on their Kindle app or ibooks right in their palm helps them choose to spend a few minutes reading while waiting in the carpool line instead of spending that time playing a mindless game or surfing social media.
Conversely, if you keep trying to download books for convenience, but it’s not working for you, buy a paperback or visit the library. Having a physical book out on your coffee table or beside your bed might prompt you to make that choice instead of streaming a TV show getting lost in the internet.
Tip #3: Read What You Like
This seems obvious, but especially in reading, sometimes we get caught up in the “shoulds.” If you like romance novels, read them. If a fast-paced thriller holds your attention, get more of them. Maybe you are an information junkie. Find books — either novels or nonfiction books — that focus on an area of interest for you. I’m always amazed at what I learn about different areas of the country or world or different professions through fictional characters.
I just finished Tiny Little Thing for review, a book that will be out later this month. When reading the acknowledgements (yes, when I love a book, I read everything, including the acknowledgements at the end), I saw that the author Beatriz Williams had introduced the main character briefly in another novel, and knew she wanted to expand on her. I immediately added The Secret Life of Violet Grant to my list.
It also reminded me of American Wife, another political character drama that I’ve been meaning to read but has just been sitting on my shelf. It’s a thick book, and I’ve felt like I didn’t have the time, but I was reminded just how much I like that style of book, so I’m going to go for it.
Tip #4: Take Recommendations
On the other hand, if you don’t know what to read, ask around. If you have a friend who has similar tastes in movies and TV who reads, ask her what she’d recommend for you. Don’t be afraid to keep Tip #3 in mind, and let her know if you want something light, or deep, or not too heavy. Hearing accolade after accolade about a book is usually what pushes me over the edge, so just ask. Facebook posts were people ask about favorite reads always attract lots of attention. Did you know that 5 Minutes for Books has a Facebook page? We’d love it if you liked us and even hover over the like button to “get notifications” to be sure our posts reach you.
Click through each to see my reviews on 5 Minutes for Books, including Dorthea Benton Frank’s newest, All the Single Ladies.
Pin it for Later
More Ways To Relax Over The Summer
You deserve some time to relax and enjoy the warm weather of summer and a more relaxed schedule.
Here are a few ideas for you to take a break for yourself this summer…
- Relax in the sunshine with one of these fantastic Beach Reads
- Make an inspiring DIY Journal and write down your goals.
- Get your kids to play Spa Day and give you a little facial and back rub.
- Give your kids some Spray Chalk and let them play all afternoon outside while you catch some rays of sunshine.
- Invite over a few friends and mix up some Martinis after the kids go to bed.