Jennifer Donovan, 5 Minutes for Books editor, is here to give advice about making time for your own reading this summer.
Quick — name three books that people keep talking about or posting about or that you keep seeing in the bookstores! These are the books that you always think, “Well, that sounds good,” or “I wish I had time to read.”
Those are the three books you are going to read this summer. You might wonder how you are going to add reading time to your busy schedule. Well, I’m going to tell you!
Use that travel time
If you have any sort of trip planned where you will be getting on a plane or riding in a car for more than 4 hours, there’s one book down right there (If you have toddlers, this might not be the ideal reading time, but there’s always naptime!). If you have elementary or middle-schooled aged children, and you are encouraging them to read this summer (and you should be!), set aside 30 minutes every day or night where everyone in the family reads. Many studies show that the best way to develop a habit of reading in your child is to model it yourself, so with this strategy, you get a win-win.
Discover your best time for reading
I do read at night sometimes, but it has to be light fare. I’m generally just too tired. I can be reading a total page-turner and drift off to sleep! I actually love summer mornings when my body still wakes me up at the regular time, but I don’t have to get up and make lunches and get kids off to school. I often get out of bed, get a warm beverage, and climb right back in to read for a while.
I do some part-time work from home (you’re reading it right now), so my schedule is flexible. I probably read the most in the middle of the afternoon. I’m not overly tired, but my personal prime productivity hours have passed. It’s the perfect time to curl up with a book.
Audiobooks aren’t for everyone. Some people claim just can’t follow along, but if you can, “reading” with your ears is a great way to take in a story. The production value and narrators are pretty wonderful these days. If you walk or go to the gym, just add a book. I also enjoy listening to audiobooks while I’m driving or home making dinner or cleaning out closets. When I get absorbed in a good one, I actually try to think of chores I can do! Check out our audiobook reviews for some recent listens we loved.
Just like I always like to be sure my kids have the next book, so that they are ready to keep reading when they finish their current book, I find that I am more likely to keep up a habit of reading if I am ready. So after you make your list, download that audiobook, order the book you want to read, or go to your local bookstore or library and browse if you still aren’t sure. I also like to request books from the library, either old fashioned hard copies or ecopies for my Kindle. Having a deadline (a due date) will help you keep that goal, too. If it’s very popular, there may be a long wait time, so you can stagger them as they come in.
And if you haven’t read it yet… be sure to get a copy of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner. She’ll help you discover even more time in your schedule for reading and looking after yourself.