reading hacks


Like a lot of librarians, I love books – really and truly I love books. I have blown off plans with friends THREE times in the past week so that I can finish a book I’m in the middle of. But guys, believe me when I say this: I am the laziest reader around.

I recently vetoed a book club suggestion because it was 480 pages long – I got tired just thinking about all the work it was going to be to read that WHOLE book. Sometimes I’ll lie on my bed for hours doing literally nothing because I’m not jazzed about the book I’m supposed to be reading. Like, seriously, I will sit on my bed and stare at a book instead of reading it because that is how lazy I am. 

Unfortunately, I am a glutton for punishment, so I set my Goodreads reading goal for the year at 250 books. (A goal which, as Goodreads is happy to remind me, I am currently about 44 books behind schedule on.) Even more unfortunately, I am also a children’s librarian who can’t just admit to younger library patrons that sometimes I am too lazy to read books. Can you imagine the horror if a ten-year-old heard a librarian admit this? 

Instead, I’ve developed a few hacks for reading more and reading better. 

  1. Get it out of your head that you are a smarter, morally superior, prettier, stronger, or a downright better person by reading those critically acclaimed books that are soooo good but that you have no interest in. Sure, there is merit to challenging yourself through reading, but there is no merit in doing something you hate to impress people. Seriously, no one cares. Stop reading books you don’t want to read. 
  2. Middle grade fiction is where it’s at. When I told my book club that a 480 page book sounded really long, they laughed at me—so I laughed it off by pointing out that I read a lot of books intended for eleven-year-olds. I’ve been feeling bad that I was so apologetic about it because I am not. Middle Grade fiction—books aimed at children ages 8-12—is usually shorter, more concise, and much more straightforward than a lot of adult literary fiction. But don’t be deceived into thinking that you are losing quality: Some of those books are good! Like life-changing, stare-at-the-page-for-a-full-twenty-minutes-in-total-awe-good. If you’re still reluctant, ask yourself why you became a reader. I guarantee it was not by forcing yourself to finish a 19th Century Russian novel you hated; it probably started when you were in elementary school. Why not return to your roots? 
  3. This is the hardest thing for me to suggest, but if you are halfway through a book and you really can’t power through – step away. Maybe not forever. Don’t be afraid to shelve that book as “did-not-finish.” If you regret not knowing the ending, you can always come back.
  4. Go fangirl over a favorite book. Do you love Harry Potter? Don’t be afraid to read ALL the books and watch ALL the movies and DO ALL THE THINGS that fans do. Go hard. Maybe it will just last for a few days, but what a glorious few days they will be. 
  5. Sometimes my biggest problem is the amount of text on a page. My most recent reading funk was broken by trying to read more graphic novels. Switching up my genres helped me get back into reading and find a new way to identify with the youths. The same thing has happened when I’ve decided to read more infographic-heavy nonfiction, magazines, short stories, or whatever it is. 

These are my tips for lazy readers. Have more? Let us know!

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