Sarah Gelman, PR Director for Books, is an avid reader who enjoyed a successful career in the publishing industry before coming to Amazon. She knows books very well, and she reads a lot. We asked her to share her tips for reading more in the New Year.
How to Read More in 2019
by Sarah Gelman
I’ll be honest – I’m one of those people who loves resolutions. One might even say I’m good at making resolutions, if you can count that as a life skill. And while I’m an average driver, have terrible penmanship, and dance like the middle-aged mom that I am, my one other talent is reading. So when I hear that someone’s resolution is to “read more this year,” I get pretty excited to help them.
As with any resolution, when you resolve to read more, you need to break it into actionable goals. You probably know that “lose weight” is not a good resolution. If you want to lose weight, your resolutions should be something like “don’t eat past 7 pm” or “drink 10 glasses of water a day” or “train for a half marathon.” It makes sense to approach “read more” the same way.
Read every night before you go to bed. When I say this to people who ask me how they can read more, they always claim to be too tired to read before bed. I always ask back “well, what do you do before you fall asleep?” And usually it involves their phone. Put your phone down. Pick up a book, your Kindle, or whatever dedicated reading device you prefer. Even if you just read a page, that’s one page more than you would have read otherwise.
Join the Goodreads Challenge. I believe this is what they call “accountability” in the resolutions business. The Goodreads Challenge allows you to set a personal reading goal for the year. And because Goodreads is a social network, your friends can see your goal and progress. I’ve done the Goodreads Challenge the last two years, and I don’t think I’ve ever read more.
Get an Audible subscription. When I hear people lament about not having time to read, I always suggest audio books. Commute time—whether you drive, walk or use public transportation—can easily be turned into reading time with audio books. Audible has every audio book I’ve ever searched for, and with a yearly subscription you get (at least) 1 credit per month. I resisted audio books for a long time, but have found I enjoy memoirs that are read by the author more than reading the print or Kindle book myself. Some of my recent audio book favorites are Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish.
Embrace the mainstream. Repeat after me, there’s no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” read. If you’re reading anything, you shouldn’t feel guilty. There’s a reason some books are popular—they’re good! My husband, as much as I hate to admit it, is not a reader. I recently convinced him to read Amazon's choice for Best Book of the Year, Educated by Tara Westover. He plowed through it in three days, then asked me to suggest another book he would like. Sometimes all it takes is one book to ignite—or reignite—our love of reading. Don’t be ashamed of the bestseller lists, or that book everyone is talking about. There’s usually a really good reason why.
Happy 2019! May your year be filled with flossed teeth, less refined sugars, a moment of gratitude every day, and most importantly, lots of books.