I have always been a bookworm. But I have to admit, finding time to read voraciously as an adult is not as easy as it was when I was in high school and had a thing called free time…which leads me to my topic of the week:
ALICIA’S TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP READING AS AN ADULT
- Audiobooks are your friend: When I was teaching high school English and working on my masters at the same time, my free evenings either meant grading or catching up on my own school work. But no matter how busy your life is, you will always have to get from point A to point B. Enter audiobooks! They made my drives to work in the morning, my travel home from class at night, and any road trip of any length just that more interesting and engaging! Plus, you don’t need an Audible subscription to enjoy them (even though I am an Audible junkie these days). Your local library will have an amazing selection of audiobooks on CD, mp3, or even online versions that you can download straight to your phone or tablet. And did you know most ebook apps have a text-to-talk function? You’ll end up with an animated voice reading to you, but it’s another free way for hands-free reading while you’re on the road. If you’re anything like me, in fact, this might lead to you coming up with excuses to drive whenever possible…to get in just a few more minutes of your latest book 🙂
- Library cards are cool: While we’re on the subjects of libraries, make sure you have a card for your nearest location. It’s free, and you don’t have to just use it for books. Movies, magazines, free public events…in fact, did you know libraries have been one of the biggest social justice sites for centuries? Seriously. Get one today.
- Picture books: I’ve thought I was too old for books with pictures for a long time, but when you’re looking for a good new story that doesn’t take up all of your life, graphic novels really are the way to go. This genre of literature has really developed in the past decade or so, and I have loved delving into these quick reads. If you’re not in the mood for superhero stories (even though they are really awesome), you can check out graphic memoirs, which have become my personal favorites. Some of my top recommendations in this category would be Relish (by Lucy Knisley), Blankets (by Craig Thompson), Persepolis (by Marjane Satrapi), Fun Home (by Alison Bechdel), and American Born Chinese (by Gene Luen Yang). All of these are compelling works of art, and you should be able to find copies at your local library.
- Commuters unite: As an English teacher, I used to complain about how I never had time to read. Now I laugh because I almost have too much time every day. Since I commute to and from work by train, I am guaranteed at least 30 minutes every day of sitting or standing in sardine-esque conditions where I can either people watch (people tend to give you dirty looks for this), listen to music or audiobooks (yes, but I’m still working out where I should look when I do this), or read a book. I hold a special place in my heart for all the commuters I see precariously balancing a book on the train, but I can honestly tell you, it is so worth it.
- Book bags: Maybe this is an obvious tip, but it changed my life when I figured it out. Stephen King said repeatedly in his book On Writing that the way he reads so much is by bringing a book with him wherever he goes. And hey, what else were giant purses invented for?! Making sure your travel bag, be it backpack or clutch, is the right size for a book can guarantee you those extra minutes of waiting somewhere can be accompanied by your latest book of choice.
I know this doesn’t solve all the issues – like crying babies and making dinner and actually socializing with fellow humans – but I hope it helps.