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15 tips to get back into reading

Losing that love for reading can happen to avid and casual readers alike. Fortunately, we have compiled 15 tips to get back into reading. Formulated by book-based Instagrammers, or bookstagrammers for short, they share their top tips to help you rediscover your need to read.

A study from the University of Sussex showed that reading for just six minutes a day lowered stress levels by up to 68%, which proved to be more effective in combatting stress than listening to music (61%) or going for a walk (42%). Reading doesn’t just lower stress, we’ve also put together 6 reasons why reading can help your mental wellbeing.

The idea of getting all warm and cosy, ready to settle down into the immersion of a good book certainly sounds relaxing, but what if you are in a reading slump? Can’t find a book you like? Or just don’t know how to get back into it after so long? We’ve all been there. But as winter quickly approaches and the nights begin drawing in, it’s the perfect opportunity to get lost in a story again. With the help of keen readers of Instagram, you can get back into the books just in time for hot chocolate and knitted jumper season.

Read an Old Favourite

One of my favourite ways to get out of a book slump is by reading a book I know I’ll love. I find reading a book that has been a long-time favourite will bring back my love for reading every time. Maybe one of your favourite films is based on a book that you haven’t read. Rather than watching the film for the 100th time, read the book it’s based on. The book might contain more intricate storylines, more detail, more vibrant secondary characters. – @sammys_shelf

Read the First Few Pages

Grab a handful of books you like the look of and read the first few pages of each one. You’ll likely be hooked by at least one of them, so continue with the one you’re intrigued by the most. – @britishbookreader

Read a Different Genre

For me personally, I change genres. Whilst there are a diverse range of books around, when I stick to the same genre for a long period of time, I can start to easily identify the tropes and common themes. It can feel a bit like authors are too influenced by each other. Changing genres really helps to stop you getting bored of reading. Don’t be afraid to switch it up from time to time. – @talesofaliteraryaddict

The Non-Fiction Technique

Reading a book and learning something new is very rewarding. If you liked history at school maybe you could pick up a non-fiction history book. Or perhaps you have an interest in psychology and you could pick up a book on this subject. The first time I picked up a science book I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read, and how much humour could be packed into this genre. – @sammys_shelf

Challenge Yourself

Is there a literary classic you have always been meaning to read? Is there a genre you’d normally avoid? I usually try stepping outside of my comfort zone and picking up something completely different to my normal reading material. – @herpaperworld

Allocate Reading Time

I hear so many people say that they dont have time to read day to day; but by going to bed around 20 minutes earlier, it’s one good way to ensure you get that little bit of reading time in each day, or just a couple of times a week. Also, to those people who are blessed with having a public-transport commute: that can be ideal reading time! – @sammys_shelf

Always Have a Book with You

If you have a book with you at all times, you’ll end up reading it at some point, right? There is no time limit and no pressure to finish, just take out that book whenever you have a spare moment and carry on reading it. I normally keep a book in my handbag, just in case I find myself having a few extra minutes to spare. It feels healthier to grab a book and start reading than boringly scrolling through my phone for however long I’m waiting. You could also keep it in your briefcase or in your car. – @stray.word

Read a Book Recommended by a Friend

I sometimes read books that my friend has recommended to me. That way, as I’m reading it, I can talk to them about it. Having the ability to talk with a friend about a book keeps me more motivated to finish it.  – @sarahreadss

Take Away the Distractions

Sometimes I find some books take longer than others to get into, particularly if there’s a lot of descriptive passages at the start. If you’re struggling with a slump it might be because distractions are taking away from the book your reading. Turn off your phone, find a quiet and comfy reading spot and just remove those distractions. – @sammys_shelf

Remember that reading isn’t a job

People often make the mistake of pressuring themselves to read. This can be for various reasons, you might have gotten the book for free, you need to return it to the library soon or give the book back to a friend. Whatever the reason reading is not your job and you should not force yourself to read because you feel obligated. Don’t be afraid to put the book down. It’s not going anywhere you can always pick it up again next month, next year or even ten years from now. – @herpaperworld

Don’t Compare

Don’t start counting or comparing the amount you read to anyone else, you don’t need the pressure. Reading should be fun, not a contest. – @britishbookreader

Find a New Reading Spot

Sometimes you just need a different setting; take a book outside to read, go to a library, or a cafe. Maybe try reading in your living room rather than your bedroom? Just something small to shake up what your brain might consider monotony. – @sammys_shelf

The Short Fiction Technique

Try reading something like a comic, graphic novel or short story. Normally they help me get back into reading as they’re less heavy and still enjoyable! Also, the advantage of having pictured books or very short fiction means you can read the whole book faster, so it’s perfect for making you feel accomplished in a shorter amount of time. – @sarahreadss

Join a Book Club

Being around likeminded people can be amazing for your motivation. Joining a book club or even starting one yourself can help to keep you reading each month and allow you to also speak your mind once you have finished it. Whether you love a book or hate it, you’ll want to keep reading it if you can let your opinion run wild at the end of the month. It might seem like a big step but sometimes having a set reading time and having the opportunity to make new friends through reading might just be what you need. – @stray.word

Talk About Books You Want to Read

No, I don’t mean it’s okay to review a book you haven’t read yet but it’s okay to share pictures and your excitement of books you want to read. It will motivate you to start reading straight away. I think this advice is particularly true for bookstagrammers. We take pictures of books every day and no, we haven’t read them all and that’s okay. Hyping books, giving exposure to authors and helping books find new readers is what bookstagram is all about. – @herpaperworld


Contributors Instagram handles: @britishbookreader @herpaperworld @sammys_shelf @sarahreadss @stray.word @talesofaliteraryaddict

1‘Galaxy Stress Research,’ Mindlab International, Sussex University, 2009