Sammy Nickalls
December 11, 2014 6:00 am

“I wish I could be a reader like you,” my friend said to me last week.

I had been gushing about my latest John Green obsession,The Abundance Of Katherines (how did it take me so long to discover this book?!). My friend seemed almost jealous of my passion. “I love reading,” she said, “but I just can’t ever find the time.” That’s when it hit me, reading (in a weird way) takes practice. You need to get excited about it before you get addicted to it, and you also need to carve it into your daily life. It needs to become a delicious part of your routine, and once it does you won’t ever know how you survived without always having a reading world to escape to.

So I stewed on it, ruminated, and marinated, and decided that there are really eight steps from turning into a person who “likes to read but can never find the time!” into a bonafide bookworm. Your how-to guide below.

Step 1: Get Goodreads.

Ever finish a book and think, “Man, I wish I could read more books like that one?”

Say hello to Goodreads. If you haven’t heard of it, Goodreads is essentially the Pandora of the book world. You rank every book you’ve read, and Goodreads starts to learn your preferences and suggests books to you. But that’s not all — it is also a social media outlet, that lets you to follow your fellow book-loving friends and see what they’re loving. You can go into their past books and read their reviews. Plus, you can ask for recommendations from others based on your preferences.

Another Goodreads plus? You can organize books into “shelves.” You can add books onto your “want to read” shelf, or create customizable shelves like “summer reading” or “book club” shelves. Personally, I enjoy using it as a checklist of books that I can reference whenever I go on yet another book buying spree. This kind of organization is really what dreams are made of.

Step 2: Determine your favorite genre.

After you rate books you’ve read on Goodreads, start to notice what your favorite genre is and what your not-so-favorite genre is. For example, I’ve always been a fiction gal — meanwhile history books are my Ambien.

Being a book-lover doesn’t mean loving all books. It’s OK to try out a genre and find out it’s just not for you. There’s no “right” way to read!

Step 3: Pick your favorite medium.

I have a Kindle, and I totally hate it. In fact, if I could only read with a Kindle, I don’t think I’d be nearly the book fiend that I am.

Why? Because medium matters! I love having a hard-copy book in my hands and being able to physically turn the pages. I love being able to have shelves of books lining my apartment. It just doesn’t feel the same on an eReader.

Then again, I know plenty of people who much prefer having all their books on their eReader . . . and I know plenty who prefer audiobooks. Try out a bunch of different mediums and see which is your cup of tea.

Step 4: Check out Thriftbooks.com.

Unfortunately, books are expensive. If you decide that you’re a hard-copy book gal, and you want to own your favorite titles, def don’t spend $15 (or more) on a new copy. Check out Thriftbooks.com, where you can find your new favorite reads for two or three bucks a pop. They constantly have sales going on. Plus, pre-loved books are fabulous because they often have notes and little bookmarks from the old owner, which just makes them more special.

On Thriftbooks, you can add books to your “wishlist” and get notifications when they’re in stock, so I like using my Goodreads in conduction with Thriftbooks to slowly grow my library. Also, if you don’t need to own your books don’t forget about the good old fashioned library! Many libraries also are eReader capable which means Kindle lovers can check out books right to their devices. 

Step 5: Find some reading buddies.

It’s always fun to talk books with a pal. Plus, reading buds will help expand your horizons and get you to try books you otherwise may not have even considered!

Book clubs are great for this. There are online book clubs you can join, or you can start one on your own (intelligent, funny people + books + a ton of wine = HEAVEN).

Step 6: Create your very own reading nook.

If you’re going to escape into another world for hours at a time (which will most definitely happen), make yourself comfortable. You might be there a while.

Get yourself a comfy beanbag chair, or designate an armchair for your reading endeavors. Make sure to have nice lighting that’s easy on the eyes. And especially make sure that your reading nook your favorite place in the house, you’ll want to be there all the time.

Step 7: Read every single day.

You wouldn’t call yourself an athlete if you played soccer once every three months or so, right? You have to put in a little effort and make yourself read every day, even if it’s just a few minutes before bed. Pretty soon, you’ll feel the intense need to read daily. It’s called addiction, my friends, and it is oh-so-sweet.

Step 8: Bring a book with you everywhere.

You never know when you’re going to be stuck in line or in traffic (I mean . . . I’ve never read while I was in traffic . . . cough cough).

But really, step 8 won’t be as much of a “step” as it will be a natural progression. After a while, you’ll start to feel naked without your book . . . and when you do, welcome to the club, girl.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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