Art by Gian Nicdao
When was the last time you picked up a book? Blame it on shortened attention spans caused by the immediacy of modern technology, but these days flipping through a brand new paperback has become less common than scrolling through Instagram.
It’s even worse for former bookworms: think of the pain of having no willpower to sit through just one chapter when you used to pore through entire books like they were your lifeblood. Instead of wallowing in the memory of your reading habits of your high school or college days, why not focus on getting back on the (book)wagon?
And since we, too, are guilty of this, we’ve decided to call in some reinforcements. Hazel Ureta (Stay Bookish), Bethany Cunanan (@endpages), Eunice Moral (Nerdy Talks Book Blog), and Salve Villarosa (Cuckoo for Books) are some of the rare bookworms who’ve kept up a steady reading habit in this age of social media. Luckily, they’ve agreed to share their secrets (no magic required).
Set a time for reading
“When you buy a book, you also buy the time to read [it],” says Eunice of Nerdy Talks Book Blog. Whether it’s 10 or 30 minutes in a day, what matters is that you find time to read a little bit each day and develop a habit. Salve of Cuckoo for Books adds that your phone timer is your best friend. “Every time I read, I hit that timer and just keep going until I feel like it, put it down, pick it up maybe two hours later, repeat process, until I’ve clocked in an hour,” she says. “Also, something I need to work on myself: for those who say there just isn’t time, think about how long you spend scrolling on social media. That’s a lot of valuable reading time. Put down the phone and pick up a book!”
Find the stories you want to read
“That sounds like it should be obvious, but nowadays it seems like just about everyone is being judged for what genres (not just in books, but with film & TV as well) they like,” says Salve. “‘YA is shallow,’ ‘Romance is for middle-aged moms,’ or ‘Science fiction is for nerds living in their parents’ basement.’ If you tune that out and see the stories for themselves, that’s how you can find out which books you’ll love, and not just the books society tells you to love,” she adds. Bethany of @endpages shares that one way to find the stories for you is to check out book blogger recommendations and Bookstagram accounts. “In that way, you have access to books that are currently hyped up and you might enjoy.”
Keep track of your reading and set goals for yourself
Maintaining the habit of reading is a choice you have to make, says Hazel of Stay Bookish. “It’s all about keeping track of your reading and reminding yourself to catch up when you haven’t been able to read lately.” She suggests to keep a reading journal (or a reading BuJo, if that’s your thing) or make a Goodreads account. Hazel also says to do reading challenges; “ask yourself how many books do you want to be reading?” Goodreads is also helpful for this since it has an option to keep track of your progress.
Bring books with you everywhere
What better way to pick up a habit than surrounding yourself with it? “Reading more is all about making time and having books accessible to you so you can read whenever you have a minute to spare,” advises Hazel. “I always bring a book with me and have digital reading apps on my phone.” Another option: audiobooks if you wanna lessen the eye strain.
Don’t be afraid of leaving books you don’t enjoy unfinished
Bethany of @endpages says not to be afraid of marking books as DNF (Did Not Finish) if you really don’t enjoy them. “Always make sure that you’re not being burdened by what you’re reading. Don’t be pressured if one peer is reading classics and you’re not.”