I don’t know about you, but my reading list feels infinite at this point. Here is just a snippet:
- Biographies/memoirs of awesome people like Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama and The Work: Searching for a Life That Matters by Wes Moore.
- Self-Improvement books I’m interested in such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
- African Literature I’m excited to get into: Currently reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie and will soon get Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi.
- Non-fiction Books like Love Does Not Win Elections by Ayisha Osori, Illegality, Inc. by Ruben Andersson, and Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau.
- Other Genres like Le Petit Prince (in French) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and salt. by Nayyirah Waheed.
And these are just the books on my shelf right now. This doesn’t count all the books in my garage, the shared books on the family shelf and the countless books I have in mind to eventually read!
If you couldn’t tell from my reading list, I’m also trying to be more intentional about reading books from African writers – fiction and nonfiction. In fact, recently bought Ayisha Osori’s book, Love Doesn’t Win Elections at a panel discussion she was on right here in D.C. It’s the book I’ll pick up next after finishing Purple Hibiscus.
If you are interested in reading more African Literature titles, my friend Nana put together a great contemporary and diverse African novels list last summer that you should check out. You should also follow the blog African Book Addict written by Darkowaa. This month she has been highlighting Ghanaian writers and my reading list has gotten so much longer!
So many books to read and so little time! So how does one get more reading into their day? Here are 5 tips for crushing your reading list:
This is the most obvious one because you can listen while you do other things. I already listen to podcasts and Coursera classes while I edit photos or while doing chores. Springing for Audible wouldn’t be that much of a stretch.
I know Danielle Leslie, a course launching/marketing genius I recently started following, consumes most her books this way – as heard on Side Hustle Pro’s podcast. By the way, if you aren’t already listening to this podcast, you should definitely get on it! The gems these women drop are super helpful and inspiring even if you don’t have a side hustle.
I haven’t joined the books on audible train yet because I’m enjoying consuming podcasts and courses during these times so I resort to the other options below. Nana also wrote a great post on podcasts you should be listening to, which was where I discovered Greg E. Hill’s awesome podcast: the Minority Trailblazers – which is where I actually discovered Nicaila’s Side Hustle Pro podcast.
2. Get the E-Book
Similarly, if you have the ebook version, you can read the book whenever you have the time. I read Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue on ebook and was able to devour it quickly because I never had to remember to have my book on me. I would read it while waiting for people or once I got bored of scrolling through my phone.
Sometimes simply having my phone in my hand reminded me that I had access to Behold the Dreamers and oh yeah – what’s going to happen to Neni after that incident with Cindy Edwards?! The next E-book I’ll be consuming is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, but there are a few marketing E-books I want to get through first.
3. Schedule it in or make it part of a routine
Sometimes having the book alone doesn’t guarantee that you will read it. If you have a pretty similar schedule from day to day, or you’re just really on it about scheduling your day in advance, consider scheduling 10 minutes to an hour to read a book that you have been trying to finish.
If your day isn’t usually so structured, consider working the book into a routine. I’ve mentioned before how I’ve been trying to read the daily Mass readings for Lent. Well I’ve mostly been able to accomplish this because I’ve gotten used to it as part of my morning routine. I typically sit down for some tea or coffee in the morning before breakfast, so while that is brewing, I sit down and do the readings.
One day, I didn’t have tea or coffee, but I was about to start breakfast and I realized that I usually read the Mass readings before breakfast, that trigger helped me remember to sit down and do my readings.
4. Carry a book with you
So if your purse or bag is big enough, I definitely recommend taking a physical book with you. I wrote a blog post about why you should always have a book with you and not just the ebook or audible like I said earlier, so check that out here. But essentially, it’s nice to give your eye a rest from screen time, and you save your phone battery. Having a book with you is great for when you have moments where you are waiting for a long time: doctor’s appointments, bus or train rides, etc.
5. Put a book by your bedside
So this is probably my number one advice! It’s similar to the idea of making it a routine, except for sleeping is a routine that we ALL do, so this is a sure fire way to get more reading into your day. I used to tell myself that I would read a little bit each night, but I was never quite able to do it. But when I borrowed Purple Hibiscus from the library, I’ve only kept it by my bedside. I don’t move it in hopes of reading elsewhere because it might not be by my bed by the time I get ready for bed.
This tactic works because as soon as I see the book on my way into bed, I remember that I’m supposed to be reading a bit before I sleep. If the book wasn’t front and center, I would have to rely on my 12am mind to remember that I’m supposed to pull the book from where ever it was (usually my purse) to read it before bed. That just doesn’t work because motivation is usually not enough to accomplish a task.
Like setting your clothes out in the morning if you plan to work out, leave your book by your bedside if you plan to read each night.
Now, many of these tips are not mutually exclusive and in fact I practice more than one of them. Like I said, daily mass readings are now part of my routine (I definitely miss some days, but not as much as before). I carry a book with me (currently The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) when I’m going somewhere I know I might have to wait a while or will have down time. I have a few E-books on my phone (though currently reading none). And I have a book at my bedside (currently Purple Hibiscus). I want to be working on one fiction and one non-fiction book at a time. I don’t think it matters which book you have by your bedside, but I chose the fiction so I don’t go to sleep sketching plans and with more to-do lists in my head.
If you use any of these tactics or other ones, let me know in the comments. And if you try any of these out, let me know how it works out for you!
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Let me know what’s currently on your reading list or if you are adding any of these books to yours! (You should!)
If you’re planning on purchasing any of the books mentioned, PLEASE purchase through the link on this post! Recently signed up for an Amazon Associates account so a percentage of the sales from things I recommend will come to me – the price stays exactly the same and you’ll be helping me fund this site while purchasing something you planned to buy anyways – so a win-win for everyone. Thank you in advance.