My obsession with reading started at a really young age. I would read every morning before school and every night before bed. I always crushed my summer reading competitions and never failed to spend my allowance at the scholastic book fair. But as I worked my way through high school and college, reading started to feel more like a chore than a hobby, and eventually, I stopped reading for fun altogether.
Now, I’m more than happy to report that I recently got back into reading and find myself consuming more books than ever before. I read physical books, listen to audiobooks, and carry my Kindle with me everywhere I go. As reading has become a part of my day-to-day routine, it has not only taught me a lot but also allowed me to make connections with many wonderful book lovers through Bookstagram, BookTok, and local book clubs.
I chatted with a few book influencers about how they prioritized reading and made it a hobby that sticks for them, and hopefully, these tips will inspire you to get back into reading, too.
1. Forget what you think you know about reading.
First things first, reading for fun is not the same as reading you did in school. You’re no longer locked into one book for a semester, and there’s no book report due. You can try new books, re-read old favorites, or even stop reading a book altogether if you’re not enjoying it.
“I encourage people to read outside their comfort zone or pick up books they don’t know if they’ll like,” shares Shaley of @2reador2write. “Read as often as you can and as broadly as you can, and I hope it brings you as much joy as it brought me!”
When it comes to reading for pleasure, there are no rules. Reading isn’t a race, and it’s not a competitive sport. —Victoria Wood of @bibliolifestyle
2. Just start reading—no, seriously.
This might seem like a silly tip, but really, you just need to start. Scroll through BookTok to find a recommendation, or head to your local bookstore, which probably has a giant display that says “#booktok” on it. Think about what types of stories excite you and find a book to match—BookTok influenced or not—and just start reading.
Victoria Wood, the book lover behind @bibliolifestyle, insists that people leave all their misconceptions about reading at the door. “When it comes to reading for pleasure, there are no rules. Reading isn’t a race, and it’s not a competitive sport,” says Wood. “So you can start by giving yourself permission to read what you want in whatever format is most convenient or comfortable.”
3. Read something you actually enjoy.
A friend once told me that you shouldn’t feel guilty for indulging in your guilty pleasures. For me, that guilty pleasure has always been romance novels. I love to read everything from cheesy Hallmark-type love stories to smut, and I very publicly share that on my own Bookstagram account. I do enjoy other genres, but if I’m ever in a reading slump or looking for a new book to read, I always gravitate toward romance.
Whatever your favorite genre may be, lean into it. There are tropes out there for everything: enemies to lovers, age-gap romance, unreliable narrator, femme fatale—just to name a few. You don’t have to stick to one trope, but it’s so easy to find other books you enjoy based on the stories you know you enjoy.
4. Find time to read.
Whether it’s five minutes or two hours, making time is key to turning reading into a regular hobby. Since you’re here to actively make reading a habit, try swapping out one episode of TV for a couple of chapters in a book. When you have your morning coffee, read a book instead of scrolling on your phone. Or instead of listening to music on your hot girl walk, try playing an audiobook. Those simple swaps will get you reading more in no time.
Bookstagrammer and podcast host Lianna has found that working reading into her daily routine is the best way to keep up with it. “I carve out time every night before bed, and if I’m really immersed in a story, it’s even easier to read. I often opt for my book before my TV show, and that’s how you know it’s a great story!”
5. Explore different ways to read.
Repeat after me: Audiobooks still count as reading books. If you don’t have the time to sit down and read or you find it challenging to get excited about reading physical books, audiobooks are perfect for you. It’s also important to remember you don’t have to stick to one format. If you feel like you’re in a rut, Heather of @booksbyheath says, “Try switching up the format of the book you’re reading. Give audiobooks a try and listen while you walk, or try a Kindle—it might be easier for you or more convenient to read in different formats.”
6. Lean on bookish apps and sites.
No matter how you like to read, what you like to read, and how often you like to read, there are so many resources to help you find books you love and stick with it. From (free) digital archives like Libby to indie bookshops to subscription book boxes like Book of the Month, these are some of the best resources to help make reading a hobby:
- Kindle Unlimited
- The Strand
- Book of the Month
7. Start with one of these titles.
There are millions of books in the world for you to choose from, so knowing where to start can be a challenge. To kick off your new hobby, grab a buzzy book from our round-up of the most anticipated summer reads or one from this Bookstagram-approved list:
Olivia McAfee and Lily Campanello have seemingly nothing in common. Olivia, recently divorced, has moved back to her sleepy New Hampshire hometown and taken over her father's beekeeping business. Lily has recently relocated to Adams, New Hampshire, for her senior year of high school with her mother for a fresh start. When Olivia's son, Asher, falls for Lily, the two women's lives are intertwined. Yet when Lily is found dead and Asher is being questioned by the police, Olivia must reckon with the possibility that her son has a darker side.
Casey Fletcher is a recently widowed actress who has escaped to her lake house in Vermont to escape the bad press. She passes her time by watching the couple in the house across the lake: Tom is a powerful tech innovator, and Katherine is a gorgeous former model. One day, Casey saves Katherine from drowning on the lake, and the two become friends. When Katherine goes missing, Casey suspects Tom, but begins to discover that things across the lake are much darker than they once appeared.
On her deathbed, Mallory Blessing instructs her son, Link, to call a phone number written on a piece of paper hidden in her desk. When Jake McCloud, husband of presidential candidate Ursula DeGournsey, picks up the phone, Link is shocked. He uncovers the secret connection that Mallory and Jake have maintained since the summer of 1993, when they met on Nantucket. Based on the film Same Time Next Year, Elin Hilderbrand's captivating novel tells the story of an agonizing romance.
At the peak of her career, Samantha Irby is getting job offers in Hollywood and walking the red carpet with the cast of Sex and the City. However, Irby’s life is not nearly as glamorous as it appears from the outside: she’s having health problems from cavities to diarrhea, she is turned away from a restaurant for wearing ugly clothes, and she might be addicted to QVC. In this collection of brutally honest essays, Irby invites us behind closed doors in relatable and hilarious fashion.
In a fascinating, terrifying marriage of true crime and horror fiction, Richard Chizmar returns to his once-sleepy Maryland town now in disarray. It's the summer of 1988, and the bodies of several missing girls have turned up on the town's shore. As law enforcement uncovers more about the suspected serial killer terrorizing the town, they begin to suspect that the suspect might not be entirely human. As a budding writer, Richard writes a personal account of the madman's reign of terror, spinning a haunting tale.
Violet Sorrengail, daughter of the commanding general, was supposed to join the Scribe Quandrant of the kingdom, living a quiet, bookish life. Instead, under her mother's command, Violet is forced to join the dragon riders, a particularly dangerous assignment for someone of her frail stature. On top of her struggle to bond with a dragon, most of her fellow cadets would kill Violet in order to better their own chances of success. In the face of a violent war, Violet must overcome these challenges, as she begins to suspect that leadership is hiding a secret from the rest of the Quadrant.
A beloved classic, Rebecca follows the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter as she recalls her first visit to Manderly as the new wife of a husband she barely knew. As Mrs. de Winter explores the great, empty house preserved by a sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, she feels a tightening sense of evil. She begins to uncover dark secrets and shattering truths of the first Mrs. de Winter. Following in the footsteps of her mysterious predecessor, Rebecca, Mrs. de Winter finds herself haunted by the past.
Malak, Kees, and Jenna have been best friends since childhood, navigating their own lives in tandem with the expectations of being good Muslim women. In their college years, each wants different things. Malak wants her partner, her faith, and her community to coexist happily; Kees is in love with a white Catholic man named Harry, and must make a difficult decision when he proposes; Jenna is the life of the party, but feels an intense loneliness. However, as college comes to a close for the three young women and the stakes of life and love get higher, one night changes everything.
The first book in Ana Huang's viral Twisted series follows the steamy romance between Alex Volkov and Ava Chen. Alex is ruthless in his pursuit of success, driven by a tragic past. Ava is a free spirit, always seeing the beauty in the world in spite of a tragic childhood she can't quite remember. When Alex is forced to look after Ava, his best friend's sister, his hard exterior begins to crack, unleashing secrets that could destroy them both.
Solène Marchand, a thirty-nine-year-old art gallery owner, attempts to bond with her daughter by taking Isabelle to see her favorite boy band. Unexpectedly, Solène finds herself connecting with one of the members of the band, and before she knows it, she has begun a passionate relationship with Hayes Campbell. Their romance becomes a viral sensation as the two navigate each other's worlds. As Solène and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and insatiable media, Solène must come to terms with the way her romantic life has impacted the people she loves.
The first book in Sarah J. Maas' #1 New York Times bestselling series, A Court of Thorns and Roses follows nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre. After killing a wolf in the woods, Feyre is dragged to a treacherous magical land by a lethal faerie. As Feyre discovers that her captor is only a beast sometimes, her feelings transform from icy hostility to fiery passion. However, a dark shadow is growing in this faerie world, and Feyre must find a way to stop it.
Milo Covell's life was destroyed in his youth when his mother was killed and his father was imprisoned for causing her death. The only thing that kept him going was his relationship with Olivia, who pulled him out of the darkness with promises of forever. Until one night when Milo left Olivia heartbroken and alone. Fifteen years later, an unexpected phone call brings Milo back to New York. After discovering that Olivia has befriended his estranged father, Milo is forced to uncover hard truths and untold secrets. At the same time, Olivia finds herself confronting the man who abandoned her, leaving her life in pieces.
Fans of Victorian realism will devour Thomas Hardy's first literary success, in which Bathsheba Everdeen has arrived in Weatherbury to farm on the largest estate in the area. Bathsheba attracts three suitors: the gentle farmer Boldwood, the seductive soldier Sergeant Troy, and the shepherd Gabriel Oak. As the three men pursue her, tragedy shakes the once stable community of Wessex. A novel of both swift passion and slow courtship, Hardy's realism shines in evocative descriptions of rural life and brutal honesty about sexual relationships.
Taking place in a single day, Natasha Brown's literary debut is narrated by a Black British woman as she prepares for a garden party at her boyfriend's family's estate. Simultaneously, the narrator is considering the assembled pieces of herself: a college degree, a career, a purchased apartment. In this story about the stories of race, class, freedom, and safety that we live within, the narrator considers whether it might be time to take all of these assembled pieces apart.