I'm an ex-librarian, and I have READ MORE tattooed on my knuckles. My dissertation at university was an action research project about how we can enable children who are successful at reading, actually choose to identify as being a reader. It dealt with those non-readers that are not being held back by their ability to read, just by their attitudes towards books and reading. Anyhow, my point being, I've spent a lot of my adult life encouraging others to read; yet these days, I no longer read enough.
I won't bore you with the reasons that reading fiction is so powerful, and why reading non-fiction, or the newspaper just isn't the same experience. Most people feel fiction is important, even without fully understanding why, so I'll leap right in with some tips for people who want to read more books.
How to read more
1. Remember when you use to read, and try and reclaim some of those moments. Perhaps you read before bed, but now 'read' twitter and facebook on your phone instead. I used to read on my commute, but now the phone has taken over.
2. Reading for pleasure doesn't need to be highbrow to be of value. Lose the guilt over 'easy reading', and just enjoy losing yourself in the narrative! There are certain authors who just weave their story quickly and easily, and they tend to become known as 'trashy' for this reason. Ignore that. If you love Tracy Chevalier, or Jillian Cooper, go for it. Read what you find joy in.
3. If you're a little lost and can't decide what to read, ask for recommedations. If you're not sure who to ask, check out some mainstream reading lists. Richard and Judy and Oprah both have pretty reliable lists for good but accessible books.
4. Treat reading time like a tv show. Schedule in a 30 minute or hour long window, and just settle into the sofa with a book.
5. Find a reading buddy. Pick a book and read it together. The public commitment to read it usually is enough to make you stick to it!
6. Take a book on a date. I love taking a book to a warm coffee shop and snuggling up with it, away from real life.
7. We've all shortened our attention spans due to the instant gratification that technology and social media provides. View your attention span like a muscle, that needs building up again, and start small. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc.