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Book It: How to Accomplish Your Reading Goals

By Carly Breit

My love for literature started around first grade, with a feisty girl about the same age as I was: Junie B. Jones. I read those paperback books by Barbara Park like it was my job. On the school bus before school, in my room past my bedtime and even at recess if I was at a particularly climactic chapter, I’d immerse myself in the antics of the glasses-wearing, rule-breaking and kind-hearted Junie B. I loved that character, and I saw parts of own outspokenness in her, so much so that I asked my friends to call me Carly B. (Some still do.)

My love for reading has never stopped, but I recently realized, making time for one of my favorite hobbies had. That’s why I set out to read more in 2018. I set an (ambitious) goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, averaging to one book a week, starting on January 1, 2018. And while 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, according to U.S. News, I’m proud to say that it’s almost April, and I’m reading my twelfth book this year.

So far, I’ve stuck with my goal, and it was so much easier than I expected. Here are my four best tips for fitting in time to read.

  1. Read anywhere and everywhere.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all spend our days curled up with a good book, covered in blankets, with a candle burning and a record playing? Yes, but for most of us, life doesn’t work that way. Instead of waiting for the perfect place to read, read absolutely everywhere. Any time you have down-time—between classes, on the bus, while you’re waiting in line at a coffee shop—flip open your book. Even if you can only get in a page or two every time, those pages will add up, and soon enough, you’ll need a new book.

  1. If you don’t love it, don’t read it.

Always read a few reviews and skim through an Amazon sample before you buy online. A few times this year, I judged a book by its cover (literally) and later found, a chapter or two in, that I didn’t like it. I struggled through them in order to stick with my goal, but I could have saved time and money if I did my research before adding to cart.

  1. Mooch off your friends’ bookshelves.

Bookworms are all around us, hiding in plain sight. Ask your friends what their favorite books are, and if they appeal to you, ask if you can borrow them. You’ll save money, and you’ll get to know your friend even better by reading their best recommendation. Just don’t be that friend who bends the cover back, or worse, folds the pages instead of using a bookmark.

  1. Go to a real, brick-and-mortar bookstore.

Yes, believe it or not, there are places to buy books that aren’t Amazon. Shopping for books online, while convenient, can’t compare to the experience you’ll get flipping through books at a local bookstore. When time allows, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and an hour to find “the one.” You’ll find great reads that may never show up on bestsellers lists, but may become your new favorite.

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