Read more this year with our 9Lives Book Club!

Without fail, I start every year with a list of resolutions that I barely manage to carry over into February; one of these resolutions is to read more during the year. Last year, I actually managed to (finally) hit my goal of reading a total of twelve books for 2018- #crushedit. And, of course, this year I’d like to meet the same goal… but spice it up a bit. I decided to drag my colleagues into completing this challenge, some more willing than others, and set up a 9Lives book club.

Every month one of our writers will be choosing a particular book, from science fiction to biography for us to review, engage with and enjoy.

Personally, I’m intrigued by the choices my fellow writers have in mind, and I can’t wait to get started. Here’s a look ahead at the book reviews you can expect from the 9Lives book club in the upcoming months.

Life does tend to get in the way, though, and many of us struggle to get through a single book, let alone a dozen. While some people may recommend reading multiple books at a time, I find this a more daunting task than it should be – in theory. Here are a few easy tips to help you conquer a mountain of books

Take a book everywhere

This is a guilty pleasure of mine; and I often find myself bring along whatever I’m currently reading to any outing. Whether it’s going on a solo mission to the doctor, or meeting up somewhere with friends, there’s always something to read tagging along for the ride. Why? Well, you never know when you’ll find yourself with time to spare.What am I currently toting, you ask? Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, which also happens to be “book of the month” for March.

Have a dedicated reading time

As simple as this tip is, it’s probably the one that most of us struggle with. Making more time for reading could be as easy as reading twenty pages when you wake up in the morning, setting aside a few minutes at lunch time to pore over your favourite novel, or cutting down on the Netflix binge marathon, to read a chapter or two before bed.

Stack it

I love watching how the books I’ve read start towering on my bedside table. There’s an amazing sense of accomplishment that comes with the visual proof of hitting my goals, and nothing says “keep going” like “you’re killing it”. If you’re like this too, keep your books stacked somewhere for you to take note of on a regular basis. If that’s not possible, jot it down on a piece of paper and add to the list as you finish each book.

Don’t set yourself up to fail

Yes, this tip applies to dieting, but it also applies to regular goal-setting as well. It’s great to be gung-ho at the start of any challenge, but come the third week and you’re nowhere near the 50 books you’ve pledged to finish, that sense of despair is likely to be triggered. Cue that “stuff this” feeling, and a lack of motivation to read anything again. Ever. Make it easier on yourself by eliminating the pressure and choosing a reasonable target instead.

If you gotta force it, it’s not working

Ever get like halfway through a book, and think “What the hell am I even reading?” If the thought of continuing the book fills you with a sense of dread and despair, it’s not worth it. You’re not likely to enjoy or even finish the book. Put it down and pick up something that actually holds your attention.

Buy books on sale

Okay, confession time. I love books on sale, half price books, second hand books, anything of the sort. Nothing feels better than walking out of a store with the equivalent of a small library and a bank account that’s still semi-smiling. The reason I find this such a great tip is twofold. Firstly, you never know what sort of gem you’re going to pick up on sale or in a second hand store; and secondly, you get to buy more books this way without breaking the bank. Automatic score.

Mix it up

I love Terry Pratchett, and his quirky masterpieces can keep me entertained for days at a time. That doesn’t necessarily mean I want to read everything Discworld from one month to the next. If your reading selection is looking a little stale, or you find yourself a little bored as you move from one book to the next, mix it up by choosing from a genre you’ve never previously considered. Better yet, get one of your friends or colleagues to recommend something new and exciting. It’s true what they say, variety is the spice of life.

There you have it; my favourite tips for reading more. If you’re not sure what to read this year, fight decision fatigue by following our 9Lives book club on Facebook.

If you’re keen to download the calendar so you remember what’s next, click here.

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