Written by Kiki Schmitz
Summer is reading season. And yes, I know, I see the September issues and pumpkin beers and J Crew’s line of wool blazers looming, but guys – there are still so many sunny weekends and porch nights available. And they are dying to be filled with books (and maybe carnitas tacos, too).
If you’re anything like me, you will have set big reading goals for yourself for this summer. You may have purchased a hard cover or two, perhaps the same one Reese Witherspoon posted on Instagram. Maybe you downloaded The Girl on The Train to your iPad, but haven’t quite made but it past the movie trailer.
You’re not alone. We’re busy! The whole gainfully employed thing has it benefits, but an abundance of free time to leisure read is rarely one of them.
Don’t worry though, I got you. Here are seven ways you can be the savvy intellectual you are, while still on a time budget.
(1) Force your friends, colleagues, roommates, (anyone really) to read with you.
Peer pressure is so real! Do you know how fitness magazines encourage you to find a motivated workout buddy, so that despite feeling like seven past death when your alarm goes off you drag yourself out of bed to prevent your friend from burpee-ing alone? Same rule applies here. Having another human holding you accountable keeps you honest and, bonus, it builds social capital.
(2) Get a library card.
No excuses; they’re free! First, you’ll feel like an actual community member, because this is some peak adulting. Also, it unlocks plenty of perks, like reading programs, librarian-backed recommendations, and e-material you can download from home. New releases are pricey. A library card not only gets you closer to physical books, but eliminates the cost barrier to reading them. Use it to justify your next iced chai.
(3) Keep it short
Sometimes, just the idea of committing to 300+ pages seems daunting. That’s where short stories come in. They’re great, bite-sized options for the person who can’t listen to a whole song without skipping. Use ‘em to build up your literary stamina, or for public transit commuters. Not sure where to start? Try these: Woman Hollering Creek, Drown, Interpreter of Maladies, and Tenth of December.
(4) Read more than one book at once.
OK, so yes, this sounds counter-intuitive. If you can’t get through one book, why burden your nightstand with another? Hear me out, because book monogamy is overrated. Let’s say you’re struggling through a slower paced non-fiction book; it’s topically interesting, but even just five pages before bed has an Ambien type effect. This is when you can bring in a fast-moving fiction option. Think Gone Girl type thrillers, or movie bait, like Me Before You.
(5) Be noisy about it.
I love a good bookstagram. Posting your reading material on social media is kind of like signing up for a 5k and telling all your friends. Like, now you have to finish it. Besides the pride piece, sharing your latest book choice starts a conversation. Who knows who else in your circle is ALSO dying over The Circle? If you’re really ready to take the book nerd thing to the next level, get on Goodreads, where you can catalog your previous literary conquests, scope out your next books, and keep friends updated on your current choice(s).
(6) Pencil it in, but be creative.
I’m actually not a huge fan of scheduling reading time, but if you crave the structure of it, then go all in. Think outside of typical times, and consider blocking off some reading during your lunch break, post Skimm-ing, or on the elliptical (though proceed with caution, that would make me nauseated AF).
(7) If you can’t read, listen.
Maybe turning pages is a turn off. It’s OK. There’s hope for you yet. Audiobooks let you fit in reading when you can’t physically hold up a book – think driving to work, training for a marathon, folding laundry. Amazon’s Audible is a good place to start because your first download is free. Then if listening is your new thing, a monthly membership is $15, about the same as a new hardcover.
** This feature is brought to you by (the unbreakable) Kiki Schmitz, our DC Contributor who you’ll continue to hear more from starting this fall! **