“Reading for pleasure is so important for emotional health,” says Yale linguistics professor Kenneth Pugh. “It’s good for the soul.” It also strengthens creativity by challenging us to do more “interior” work—Pugh likens it to weight lifting for the mind. (And whose brain doesn’t need a bit of a workout?) “The author invites you into the world they created, but what that world looks, feels and sounds like is totally up to the reader,” says Reagan Arthur, senior vice president and publisher at Little, Brown and Company. “When you connect with a book, a relationship develops between you and the author that then expands to embrace all the readers who’ve shared that experience and form a unique community.”
1. Don’t leave home without it—a book or reading device, that is. Having something on hand means you can sneak in a few pages while commuting, waiting at soccer practice, standing in line at the post office or whenever you find yourself with a bit of free time.
2. Pencil it in. Half your life is scheduled, so be sure to add in the fun things too. Block out time on your calendar, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Think of it as your daily reading assignment and stick to it.
3. Make a swap. Trade an hour of your latest Netflix addiction for some quality book time.
4. Keep a book on your nightstand—and your phone in the other room.
5. Make it a habit to read a chapter before bed. You may even find you fall asleep faster.
6. Always have another book ready on deck so that you can dive right in.
7. Don’t worry about reading in short snatches. It does add up, and those snippets can leave you wanting more.
“A great bookseller or librarian can’t be beat for steering you to the right book,” says Arthur. “Author interviews also often lead me to books I love.”
Check out these helpful podcasts, best-seller lists and sites for inspiration.
Looking for some more good books? Click here for 10 recommendations from Family Circle's executive editor, Darcy Jacobs.