Five Tips to Keep Up Your Summer Reading

— Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff on

With all the fabulous plans you’ve made, it can be hard to keep up with your reading goals over the summer. I certainly struggle with picking up a book when I want to sleep in and enjoy the sun. However, over the course of my college experience, I picked up some handy tips to integrate reading into my summer plans.

The following five tips can help you combine a love for summer with a love of reading.

1. Find a Beautiful Spot

Perhaps you don’t live in a place where the sun hides for nine months, but I certainly get excited when it comes back for the summer. I love to hike, I love to go to the beach, I love to go running in parks. So I’ve started bringing my paperback or e-reader with me. You’d be surprised how much fun it is to sit down when you reach the top of the mountain you just climbed and take 15-30 minutes to read part of your book. You get to relax, look up from the book to a beautiful view, and exercise your mind after you’ve worked out your body.

2. Read in Transit

If you live in a city, you know it can take some time to get out to your favorite hikes or campsites—longer if you have to fight hordes of weekend warriors as everyone rushes out of the city.

Fear traffic no more! You can start thinking of these treks as valuable reading time. I started checking out books on tape from the library and listening to the CDs as I drive. It makes long drives seem short and gives me a reason to look forward to sitting in traffic. Seriously! I get to finish just one more chapter because of this traffic jam.

Pro tip: The more books on tape you listen to, the more you’ll fall in love with certain readers. I’ll often pick up a book on tape just because of who is reading it regardless of the plot. I’ve branched out into some fun genres I never would have picked out for myself this way.

3. Give up on Books You Don’t Love

This is controversial advice, but I stick by it. If you find that a book is taking you a really, really long time to read, or that you are not excited to get right back into it, it’s OK to let it go. This is NOT TO SAY you shouldn’t read books that challenge you or expand your worldview. Choosing to read a challenging book is a great objective that you can set before you pick up a book. But if you are reading for fun and it feels like a slog, there’s no shame in tossing the book aside and finding something captivating. I know I’ve have lost whole months of reading time trying to get into a book that someone recommended. If I don’t love the book and won’t move on, it will just sit on my nightstand while I do other things—like watch TV or play video games. When I get to this place (hopefully before), it’s time to chuck the book and read something better.

4. Find a Reading Buddy

I am extremely externally motivated. Exercise, eating healthy, cleaning the house, you name it —I am so much more likely to get it done if someone holds me accountable. If you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who likes the same kinds of books that you do, make a two-person book club. Pick books to read together or simply suggest books back and forth. It can also be a great excuse to eat brunch on a sunny patio; you do have to pick an ideal location to discuss your book after all.

5. Set an Artsy Reading Goal

Think about how many books you want to read this summer. Then, come up with a working list of titles. This list can come from friends, library favorites, a subscription box, etc. Now think of an artistic way to celebrate each book you finish. Perhaps you take staged pictures of the book to post to your social media. Perhaps you print, draw, or paint the cover of the book to hang on a blank wall in your house. Perhaps you knit the characters’ names into a scarf or write cartoons parodying the story. Whatever creative outlet you enjoy, incorporate it into your reading. If you are thinking about how you can create a magazine collage out of the story, you might pay more attention to the plot and get more engaged in each character’s development.