It’s resolution time. Will this be the year you hit the treadmill for an hour every day, make all your meals at home, learn a new language and max out your retirement savings accounts? Perhaps. But more often than not, New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before the first gym payment goes through on your credit card.
This year, make a better resolution: Read more books. In fact, think of it less as a resolution, and more as a belated holiday gift to yourself.
Reading more was my resolution back in 2013. I realised I’d read maybe three books in the previous year. I joined Goodreads, a social media site for book lovers and got a Public Library card. I asked for an e-reader for Christmas that year. I joined a book club.
I set a goal to read 36 books. I wasn’t too hard on myself as to what counted as reading a book. Audiobooks counted. Cookbooks counted, if I had read through most of the recipes. Graphic novels and comic books counted. Books I got halfway through and then abandoned for lack of interest counted.
Getting back into reading books has been one of the singularly most rewarding things I have done for myself in my adult life. I carry my Kindle everywhere, which means I always have something to do when I’m in a waiting room. And getting into a warm bed with a good book is one of life’s singular great pleasures.
So do it. Read more books. Here are some ways to help you get started.
Buy an e-reader
I love my e-reader. I have a Kindle that uses e-ink instead of backlighting, so it doesn’t hurt my eyes or keep me up at night. I bought a cute cover that protects it inside my bag.
You can download thousands of free e-books from Project Gutenberg and other sites. Download a bunch and peruse them at your leisure.
Use the library
The local public library is your secret weapon for reading more. I’m always surprised at how many people don’t realise the library carries new releases in addition to classics. (The UAE has its fair share of public libraries to choose from.)
Join a book club
Book clubs encourage you to try books you might not have picked otherwise, and are a great way to make new friends. Check out the local community sites to sign up for a book club close to you.
Make your phone reading-ready
Download e-reader apps to your smartphone, and if you have Wi-Fi enabled on your e-reader, you can move between the two. Put down your book before going to bed and then, while you’re waiting in line for coffee the next morning, open it to the same page from the app on your phone and read a few pages.
You can connect a GoodReads account to your Facebook page, or make a separate one. Set your goal for 2018, and it’ll tell you how far ahead (or behind) you are in your goal. Whenever I put my book down for the night, I note which page I was on and update Goodreads the next day. I also look up books I’m interested in reading to see whether any of my friends have reviewed them.
Get great deals on books
I subscribe to some email lists that send out the best deals on e-books. I’ve picked up a bunch of newer and classic novels and nonfiction reads for just a couple bucks.
If you use Goodreads, sign up for its deals alerts. Any book you add to your “to read” list that goes on Kindle sale will send you an email alert.
Go head out to the local independent bookstore or a used one for that matter. In the UAE, options available include House of Prose and Book World. Also, regular flea markets around Dubai over the weekends allows you to bag a bargain on some great reads.