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  • Writer's pictureLay Jordan

Tips for getting into reading

When was the last time you picked up a book that you chose to read?

I remember texting a good friend of mine about our goals for 2023 and one that came up for her that surprised me was her goal of getting back to reading. Personally, I didn’t think of reading as a goal because at the time I was still in my last semester of college and honestly with everything going on I didn’t think I would get that into reading again. At least not with a certain number of books. I haven’t read a book for entertainment in a while. For the longest time, I was in kind of my self-help era where I was pretty much reading mostly nonfiction books whether it was self-help spirituality or even a bit of poetry. But for some reason, even though it wasn’t planned, I decided to order a set of books. The first fiction books I’ve read in years was the twisted series by Ana Huang and I fell in love. Once I started reading at the end of February, my book collection expanded. I already had a pretty decent amount of pretty much non-fiction books expanded to a point where I decided it was so big that I wanted to replace my desk with a bookshelf. And so I did.

This whole accidental reading journey started in February 2023. Due to it being my last semester, reading has been on and off. I still managed to read about 20 books so far. In the past five days, I’ve read three books. And other times it’s taken me 2 weeks. When I realized I was actually reading a lot more, it led me to look up what is the average amount of books people read in a year and what I found statistically was most people read about 12 books a year on average and sometimes less than that. So if you want to start your reading journey here are some things that can help you start and continue.

Understand your abilities and availability before setting a goal…don’t set a goal that overwhelms you

This is a step a lot of people tend to cross over because they would see all these challenges like reading 100 books this year and think I definitely could do that but there are so many factors when setting a Book goal. The first thing you should consider is your availability. If you are a college student there is a likely chance since you are in tons of books already that reading for entertainment can be something a bit out of the realm unless you use some things like cutting down your screen time for a book or when you’re commuting if you commute to use that time to read. And if you’re working you have to consider how you can make time for the things you want to do. But besides that, some people are faster readers than others and if you’re like me and not as quick or you have moments where sometimes you’re quick and sometimes you’re slow then that’s something to consider before setting a goal.

For me, since I accidentally fell into my reading journey I didn’t really have high expectations because honestly it just became a more identity focus process instead of seeing like this is a number of things I have to do in order to fulfill the goal the goal was to become a reader again to enjoy reading again. So I actually set my goal after I started reading once I was seeing how fast I was going at the time during the school year at maximum I could read maybe 3 to 4 books a month that are 300- 400 pages. Between July and August, I’m still at 8 books but I really want to read a total of 18 books between July to September. I believe I can read 30-40 books by the end of 2023. I’m already planning to aim for 50 books in 2024.

Explore different genres until you find something that can hold your interest

I remember being on TikTok and seeing a video about how men hate romance books. Personally, I believe each genre has something to offer. For instance, romance books can be good in the sense they can show you what you adore and a partner.

I remember reading the twisted series and while I know a lot of the actions done by the male lead we’re not ok and cross serious boundaries. I also learned a lot of his gestures speak heavily to my own love language and that’s why he was my favorite in the book series. My love language was acts of service and at one point it used to be words of affirmation 2nd but that has changed to quality time 2nd then gifts then words of affirmation and last is now physical touch. In the story, it wasn’t when he bought her expensive things that made my heart so gush… it was when he helped her during her anxiety attacks, it was when he supported her dreams, it was when he messed up and they called it quits for a few weeks that he wrote letters to her every single day in hopes that he can give it to her one day so she can know him as well as he knows her.

I think those moments that make my heart swoon kind of taught me in a way what love feels like for me because I do think watching TV has idealized my version of love so there’s just a difference when reading it where I’m reading like all these scenes and I’m picturing it and the ones that affect me most and understanding the new ones of why it makes me feel is why I like reading romance books.

Poetry books are good to teach you emotional awareness and it takes a lot of critical thinking and analysis because sometimes there’s more to a poem than what meets the eye. Mystery books and thrillers in a way always teach you warning signs and what to look for in a person like the red flags. Fantasy books which I never had a chance allow you to explore possibilities and soda sci-fi where it kind of takes things that are modern and it adds the “what if” factor. Self-help books are always necessary for self-paced learning. Every book serves a different purpose every genre can teach you something even if it’s fiction no matter what it is it still has enrichment characteristics. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and read something out of the ordinary for you because you never know how you feel after reading it.

Track your books and write a review even if it’s a private one

This is something I really wanted to talk about. I love books, I love talking about them and sharing my thoughts and perspective but I don’t think I can ever give book recommendations on social media. I’ve noticed on some platforms there are people who get attacked for sharing their thoughts and opinions on books and people take it when people disagree with their takes so personally.

For instance, using the twisted series again. Most people I see love Alex Volkov and Rhys Larsen but hate Josh Chen and honestly don’t talk a lot about Christian Harper because they found the book too long and boring because it was a slow-burn romance.

I feel like the “Twisted Hate” hate is solely because it was the most realistic of the 4 stories and people love Twisted Games because it had the most idealistic elements and Rhys is the only man who really didn’t do anything to cross serious boundaries with there twisted girl. People hate Josh the most but I do feel like Alex Volkov and Christian Harper (I say this with being a Christian Harper girl) did the most wrong. I like Alex but didn’t like him in his own book and many girls say Rhys is the standard but while I like him I also will say out of the 4 he is the least my type because I find his personality too stoic for me but I can understand why the girls love him. I feel like the Josh hate has more racist undertones and the fact he is the only one with a practical profession (2 billionaires and a security guard who has his own rags-to-royalty moment).

However, I am against putting that review anywhere that is on social media platforms (my blog and my podcasts are my safe spaces to express my opinions). I still think it is important to review your books when you're done because it answers so many questions that can help you decide what to read next. Here is a list of things that I usually cover in books but keep in mind this is typically for Romance Fiction books and the questions might not be applicable to every genre:

  • How was the pacing of the story

  • Did the relationship develop too quickly

  • Did the sequence of events make sense

  • What lines/quotes were the most memorable

  • What made me angry?

  • When I was reading, did I forget I was reading

  • Did I laugh? Did I cry? Was it an emotional rollercoaster?

  • Did I feel what the character was feeling?

  • How was the character described vs how I pictured them

  • How did I feel about the protagonists and antagonists, did I feel any sympathy

  • What tropes were in this story?

  • What would I do to improve the storyline if I was the author?

I keep these kinds of questions because I do picture myself writing a story some day and in order for me to do that I would have to idea of what I like and dislike in books. My goal is ultimately to write 4 types (fiction- preferably romance but I would be open to another form, poetry, a tell-all book about my life because I know when I get to the place I want to be I will probably have people claiming to know me well because have gone to school with me and truthfully I want a say in my story including all mistakes - I respect authenticity and I hope when I grow people can see that from me and lastly a self-book of my lifestyle theories that would be back with psychology, sociology, philosophy, history, etc.)

If it is more beneficial for you to have people to read with, join a book club or create one

I think this is a perfect idea if you need someone to hold you accountable. Having someone who can either make sure you are on track with the reading list or even better having someone read the same books as you at a time is a good way to make sure you are reading the way you said you would. This one I haven’t tried yet but honestly if I am able to find a book club I will join and maybe if I can’t within a year I will try to make one. I don’t want too much on my plate but I think it is a good way to meet people who share your passions. This year I’ve been really learning the importance of having a community. As people, we are multi-dimensional so we need multi-spaces.

Final thoughts

Reading can be a great way to expand your mind, explore new ideas, and escape into different worlds. I was a kid who grew up reading a lot and would always be excited about the book fairs. Starting to read again healed something in me that I didn’t even know was missing.

It is so easy to get caught up in adulthood, what it means to be mature and responsible, that we leave out things that are also essential to add to our quality of life. Reading is one of those things. I also think growing up being forced to read took a lot of enjoyment out of it which leads people to think they hate reading when in reality they hated the way they had to do it instead of the action itself.

Additionally, now that we are adults in a digitally advanced world, reading doesn’t have to be the way it used to: read while listening to the audiobook version (something I did a lot to help me focus), Listen to the audiobook version along while doing a task like cleaning or creating (yes I am one of those people who considers audiobooks as reading because it feels very ableist not to), read on a middle or iPad if that's a format you prefer, etc.

Thank you for reading and if you have anything you want to see more of, be sure to comment with suggestions or email me. Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and follow my TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter to connect and stay up to date. I am excited about my next blog post so make sure you come back. Until then, there’s a lot more content on my YouTube channel. I hope you have a good day, evening, or night.

Until next time,

xoxo Lay 💋

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