How to Read More in 2020: Advice from Expert Readers

Is “read more” one of your resolutions for 2020? We asked booksellers, bookstagrammers, and bloggers for their best tips to hit that TBR goal. Read on for advice from our favorite power readers: 

Make Time!

… Sounds simple, but it makes a big difference, and it’s what really jumpstarted me to become a such an avid reader this year. Here it is: Pick up a book, set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes, and read straight for that whole time. (No stopping to check email or social–just focus for 20 freaking minutes and read.) Do this every single day (schedule it in your calendar if that helps), and even if you do nothing else on this list, you’ll already be increasing your reading, big time. Everyone is busy, but no one is too busy to do something for 20 minutes. If you want to read for more than that, great! If you don’t, that’s fine, too. But do the 20 minutes every day without fail, and I promise, it will be a gamechanger in the number of books you read.—Alyssa Hertzig, from her post on how she read 50 books in 6 months on her blog, The Sparkly Life

Block out an actual time on your calendar to read — whether it’s 2 hours every Saturday or 4:00-4:20 p.m. every day. Make time for it and it will happen! —Buffy Cummins, Bookseller  at Tattered Cover 

Minimize Distractions

Read in a place that doesn’t have many distractions and where you can unplug from electronics. — Renée Hicks, @book_girl_magic

Read Multiple Books at Once

I have read over sixty books this year! To keep up with my reading goals, I have two books going at the same time: one hard copy and one audiobook (it helps to make sure they fall under separate genres!). I carve out time EVERY day to read and to listen to books– I listen to snippets throughout the day, while walking my dogs or driving between errands, and then read while I’m commuting on the train and/or right before bed to unwind!!—Carly Heitlinger, Carly the Prepster

I naturally read fast, but one thing that helps me stay focused is to have books accessible at all times and in different formats. I always have a book on my Kindle and an audiobook going. And I like to keep alternatives available in case a book isn’t working for me. In addition to the digital versions, I keep a stack of books on my coffee table that I’m currently reading. I bring a book when I leave the house. I also have books for the morning, books for the evening, and books to fall asleep to. For example, I enjoy reading books that pack a punch at night but as I fall asleep, I love listening to historical fiction, classics, or memoirs – it’s soothing, like being told a bedtime story.—Janelle Janson, @shereadswithcats (who read over 350 books this year)

One: Always have a paper book and an audiobook going. That way you can pick up whatever media makes the most sense at any given moment. Two: Discover your audiobook taste, which may actually be different than your paper book taste. I mostly read literary fiction on paper, but I love nonfiction and memoir on audio.— Sara Hildreth, @fictionmatters

Move On

Don’t waste time slogging through a book you’re not enjoying. Life’s too short! If it’s a book you’re just reading for pleasure, there’s no shame in putting it aside and moving on to something you’ll better connect with. When you’re reading a book you love, the pages will fly by. — Haley Stocking, Phinney Books 

Always Bring a Book

My best tip for making more time to read in my daily life is to always have a book with me in some form so that I can squeeze in a few pages here or there no matter how busy I am! I always have a hardcover book in my purse, and I love listening to books because then I can get some reading done while I’m on the go or cooking.— Alli Hoff Kosik, host of SSR (Shit She Read) Podcast

Utilize Audiobooks

When it comes to reading more, wireless earbuds and audiobooks on are your best friends. I ‘read’ while I’m working out, making dinner, commuting to and from work, grocery shopping…basically all the time. And since I started listening to audiobooks I’ve gone from reading 12-17 books a year, to over 100 in 2019 (so far)! — Jessica Mack, @latestbookcrush

Set a Goal

Set a goal — either a page goal or number of books read.— Terri M. LeBlanc, M and M Bookstore

Listen While You Parent 

When I’m not slinging books at Dragonfly Books, I’m a stay at home mom of a preschooler. audiobooks in a Bluetooth earbud have made chores and tantrums much more pleasant! — Sarah Krammen, Dragonfly Books

…I am listening to audiobooks while waiting in the school pick up line, waiting for my kids after basketball practice, waiting for my kids after theater practice, and waiting for them to finish up at the skate park. — Lisa Francisco, Second Star to the Right Books

When I pick up high schoolers from school they used to grunt hello and immediately plug in their earbuds. Now that we are doing audiobooks it has given us all something to listen to together. — Cindi Whittemore, Ink Spell Books

Replace TV Time

I noticed I was binge-watching TV shows for up to three hours a night! So I cancelled cable and use that time to read now. I just joke that I don’t watch reality TV, Hallmark movies, and serial dramas, instead I prefer to read my trashy romance, thank you very much! — Aimee Chipman, The Bluestocking Bookshop

Read during commercials when you are watching TV.—Terri M. LeBlanc, M and M Bookstore

3 thoughts on “How to Read More in 2020: Advice from Expert Readers

  1. ‘Make Time” is really all it took for me to reignite my love of reading. Initially, 6 mths ago, I did that with an online book club but have now cancelled my membership and read in the AM and PM even if it’s only a few pages. SO glad I made time. <3

  2. I love receiving your favorite new books for children. However, I have an 11 1/2 year old grandson, who is an avid reader. He likes adventure, animals, science fiction. Can you recommend new authors/books – with a BOY as a main character?

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