Periodically, the bookish sites that I follow will publish a list of tips to help aspiring bookworms read more. The B&N Reads article “Realistic Resolutions for the Time-Strapped Book Nerd,” by Shuan Byron Fitzpatrick, is just the latest and (to my mind) most obnoxious. Fitzpatrick’s seven tips can be summarized thusly: Aim lower. Why read something difficult if you can read several other books in the same amount of time? Why not just re-read Harry Potter? Or watch movie adaptations? I pick on Fitzpatrick, but I don’t think the other lists I’ve seen in the past are all that helpful either (except perhaps Amanda Nelson’s tips for reading after having kids).
If reading is important enough to make us worry about it, we will find ways to read. Like any other resolution—getting in shape, eating better, changing jobs—it doesn’t matter how simple we make things for ourselves if the will to make or change a habit is lacking. We have to want to change in order to actually change. The tips that I’ve seen around the bookish Internet are just swapping one activity for reading. Instead of goofing off on Facebook, read. Instead of watching TV until you go to sleep, pick up a book. Instead of spending time with friends and family, why not try a novel? (I’m kidding about the last one. Sort of.)
That’s all there is to reading more: read more.