With the ongoing pandemic, many of us are forced to stay inside and socially distant when possible. While it has put a damper on our travel plans, books are a fantastic way to escape from what’s happening around us. As Charline Harris once said, “Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.

Here are my tried and true reading tips that I’ve adopted when the pandemic started:

Reading tip no. 1 – Reduce the negative digital noise 

In 2020, I spent a lot of time reading the news on social media. While it was great that we have the news available at our disposal, I found it to be distracting and at times, disheartening. To preserve my mental health, I decided to deactivate my Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts. I’ve only kept Twitter and LinkedIn for professional purposes. Even still, I managed to put time limits on my social media usage as I wanted to spend more time reading in replacement of the negativity that poured in from the feeds.  

This Reddit thread inspired me to take upon the challenge of replacing my time on social media with reading books. You don’t have to deactivate/delete your social media accounts. However, it’s essential to minimize distractions if you’re serious about meeting your reading goals. 

Reading tip no. 2 – Pick books you want to read

Everyone’s reading preferences are different. While some prefer reading the latest book trends, others may want to read specific genres. For me, I love reading romance books (especially from Harlequin Publishing) since I’m a romantic at heart. 

When pursuing your reading goals, choose what type of books you’re interested in reading, not what others should tell you to read. If you happen to like reading books on politics, go for it! Into dystopian stories, science fiction, and poetry? The sky’s the limit. Reading books shouldn’t feel like a chore. Rather, it should feel like a blissful experience once you’re absorbed into the atmosphere of your books. 

Reading tip no. 3 – Support your local library 

Reading books doesn’t have to be a costly experience! If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend downloading Libby by OverDrive if you want to borrow a book from your local library. As noted on their page, Libby works with public libraries that use OverDrive. Over 90% of public libraries in North America have OverDrive, and Libby can be found in 78 countries worldwide. 

Reading tip no. 4 – Create a realistic goal on how many books you want to read 

One of the mistakes I’ve seen others do when starting their reading goals is setting an unrealistic number on how many books they would like to read by the end of the year. As a result, when they’re not near the goal, it leads to disappointment. I encourage you to start small and see where it takes you. For example, when I started my reading goals in 2020, I aimed for 10 books when I participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. To my surprise, I managed to read 36 books! 

Over time, as you build the habit of reading, you’ll be able to see yourself going beyond the threshold. If you’re into data and want to see your reading progress, Bookly is a wonderful app where you can export your reading stats into beautiful and shareable images of your progress.

Reading tip no. 5 – Participate in a virtual book club or take upon a reading challenge

You don’t have to be alone in your reading journey! As more events have moved towards a virtual experience, there are book clubs where you can participate online while chatting with like-minded people. It’s also a great way to stay connected and keep accountability if you’re looking to have someone check up on your reading goals and make sure you stay on track. 

If virtual book clubs aren’t your thing, then you can peruse around the Internet from book blogs and vlogs on book challenges that you can do daily, weekly, or monthly. I love Litsy as I often find others posting their book reading challenges depending on the type of themes and genres. 

I hope these reading tips will help you meet your goals during the pandemic. Here’s to cozy and beautiful moments in your reading adventures!

Guest Post by our Bookly Pro Reader, Diana Chin

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