After going to the Book Expo of America to promote The Positively Present Guide to Life, I've been thinking a lot about how much I love books — and how many other people out there love them just as much as I do. Though reading has always been a passion of mine, and even though I read quite a few books each year, I still never feel like I read as much as I'd like to. Lately I've been thinking about how I can incorporate more reading into my life because every time I'm reading I'm much more positive and present. If you're like me and want to read more than you currently do, here are some of the best ways to incorporate more reading into your life. Bring on the books!
MAKE A CHOICE TO READ.
Reading, like any activity you do in your spare time, is a choice. If you want to read more, you have to choose reading over doing other things (like TV!). Even if you love to read, choosing to read isn't always an easy choice to make. There are lots of other ways to spend your free time and some of those can be very tempting. If you want to read more, you have to actively choose to do it, which might mean even blocking off time on your calendar.
READ WHAT YOU LOVE.
The number of amazing, inspiring, wonderful books out there is astounding, and it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing what to read. But if you don't read what you love, it's going to be difficult to keep yourself interested in the act of reading. Don't read something just because someone told you it was great (unless it appeals to you) and if you're not loving a book after 50 pages or so, put it down and start a new one.
JOIN (OR START!) A CLUB.
Sticking with anything (even something you love!) becomes much easier if you have other people to hold you accountable, which is one of the reasons so many people enjoy book clubs. Start or join one in your town, find one online, or start a two-person book club (I have one with my cousin and it's great!). When you're sharing the experience of reading, it makes it more interesting because you can discuss it and gain fresh perspectives on the book.
KEEP WORDS WITH YOU.
A friend of mine once made fun of me when I said, "You should always have a book in your purse 'cause you never know when you'll have time to read!" It does sound a bit silly, but it's true. There are so many little snippets of time that are wasted — standing in lines, waiting for appointments — but if you keep a book in your bag (or an ebook on your phone), you can take advantage of wasted time by reading. It gives you extra time to read and makes waiting less irritating.
KNOW WHAT'S NEXT.
One of the greatest ways to keep up with reading is to make sure you always have your next book on hand. As soon as you finish one book, pick up another. If you want to read a lot, keeping up momentum is key and nothing does that better than having a stack of unread books waiting for you. And if you don't want to dish out the dough for lots of new books, organize a book swap or visit your local library to keep your to-read pile updated.
If you make reading a priority, it's pretty amazing how many books you can read — and how much knowledge and inspiration you can absorb in the process. As a known book lover, people often ask me, "What's your favorite book?" If you, too, are a book lover, you know what a difficult question this can be. There is almost no way I could choose a favorite. It's even hard for me to think of a list of favorites, but I've rounded up some of my most beloved books with the hope that maybe one of these will spark your interest and get you into the reading groove. For more on what I'm reading, follow me on GoodReads!
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland | Lewis Carroll
Loving What Is | Byron Katie
The Power of Now | Eckhart Tolle
The Wind Blows Backward | Mary Downing Hahn
This Is How | Augusten Burroughs
The Magic Christmas | Francine Pascal
Owl at Home | Arnold Lobel
The War of Art | Steven Pressfield
Looking for Alaska | John Green
The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern
The 5 Love Languages | Gary D. Chapman
Style Statement | Danielle LaPorte
Stargirl | Jerry Spinelli
Practical Magic | Alice Hoffman
The Perks of Being a Wallflower | Stephen Chbosky
The Snow Child | Eowyn Ivey
The Secret | Rhonda Byrne
Eating, Drinking, Overthinking | Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
The Bell Jar | Sylvia Plath
Alice I Have Been | Melanie Benjamin
The Trumpet of the Swan | E.B. White
Blankets | Craig Thompson
The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald
Mandy | Julie Andrews Edwards
The Little Prince | Antoine de Saint Exupery
Girl With a Pearl Earring | Tracy Chevalier
Want to discover how to make the most of the moment? Check out Live Happily Ever After Now, a guide and workbook for living in the moment. It's a practical, thought-provoking resource for anyone looking to live a more positive, more present life (available in paperback or PDF). Get your copy while you can because on June 30, 2014 Live Happily Ever After Now is coming off the Positively Present bookshelf for good!