Book Hacks: 3 Ways to Find More Reading Time This Spring

Spring is a perfect time for fresh starts. From spring cleaning to admiring the growth of new flowers, springtime is a chance to reflect on your yearly progress and turn over a new leaf by building healthy habits. With spring right around the corner, why not take this chance to embrace the cheerful season of change and create good habits to sneak more joyful reading time into your days? Below, I’ve shared a few quick tips to help you find more reading time this spring.


Create a Bedtime Reading Routine.

Nighttime is great for reading. Not only does it give you the opportunity to relax after a long day of work, but research suggests that reading just six minutes can reduce stress levels by 68%, readying the mind for bed. (Of course, I recommend reading for longer if you can!) So, ditch the phone before bedtime and delve into your current read instead.


Bonus Tip: As you work to build this new habit, consider leaving your book on your pillow or bed stand as a reminder to read a few pages before you hit the hay.


Embrace the Audiobook Life.

Listening to stories is an age-old tradition, and the audiobook craze is the newest spin on ancient oral storytelling. Audiobooks are a great way to slip extra reading time into your day. You can listen to books during a long commute or while you cook dinner, clean the house, or run at the gym.

Not surprisingly, many bookworms take advantage of this “reading” opportunity. In fact, audio book sales grew nearly 25% in 2018. If you want to embrace this new audiobook life (with ancient traditions), be sure to check out your local library’s collection and free online audiobook collections. Of course, you can also purchase the newest audiobooks at several bookstores and sites too.


Find Your Book Tribe.

Friends, classmates, and teachers can help hold you accountable in your reading goals. For a more structured reading routine, consider joining a book club or enrolling in a literature class for a college elective.

On top of helping you more formally commit to additional reading, book clubs and literature classes can help you find your book tribe. And, as author Gabrielle Zevin explains, “There ain’t nobody in the world like book people. It’s a business of gentlemen and gentlewomen.” You just might find your new best friend over a conversation about Jane Austen or Stephen King.


The artwork featured on our blog post above was provided by artist Deandra Lee. You can view more artwork from Lee in her online portfolio or on Instagram @dan_wonders.

Book Review

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher: Algonquin Books, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Time Length: 7 hours, 2 minutes
Narrated by Scott Brick
Buy Book
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary

With pitiful book sales, the theft of his most prized rare book, and the loss of his beloved wife, irritable A.J. Fikry begins to dread his life as the sole bookstore owner of Alice Island.

Soon though, a mysterious woman leaves a toddler in Fikry’s bookstore with a simple note: “I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her.”

As A.J. searches for Maya’s mother, befriends a local cop, and reaches out for childcare help, Fikry begins a journey of transformation that catches the attention of his local book readers as well as the eccentric Knightley Press sale rep, Amelia Loman.

Thoughts

I picked up an audiobook version of this novel after a good friend from our Spellbinding team recommended it to me. (Thank you, Payton, our lovely Managing Editor!)

Listening to this audiobook during my long commutes made me excited to drive to and from school. If you are not a local reader, I can assure you that traffic in the Phoenix area isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. Side effects include grumpiness, checking the time incessantly, boredom, and annoyance. While I might be dramatizing the state of Phoenix’s rush hour traffic, claiming that The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry made my commute enjoyable is, without a doubt, some high literary praise.

Aside from the immediate entertainment value, I adored this book for its narrator’s unabashed quirkiness and love for books. I felt as if I could befriend both A.J. and the book’s narrator, and I could see them fitting in well with the college and literary community here in Phoenix. There were murmurs of bookish preferences throughout the entire novel, from small praises of authors like Flannery O’Connor to an abrupt and hilarious quip about a well-known thriller author using a ghostwriter. Zevin is even comfortable and masterful enough to playfully poke fun at her story’s own intentional cliches.

On top of winning me over for its clear focus on books and the reading life, I easily fell in love with the novel’s main characters. When lovable characters were in pain, my heart sank; and when they triumphed, my heart soared.

I will say, some of the plot was fairly predictable, but certainly not in a disappointing way. It was more a mark of good craftsmanship, as Fikry might suggest.

This book is absolutely perfect for any bookworm with a hunger for literary references and a good story. Any book lover will feel right at home in the cozy bookstore of A.J. Fikry with its stacks of ARCs, Moby Dick-themed restaurant, and both disastrous and successful literary events.


And since I can only imagine A.J. Fikry himself would be appalled at my choice to include an audiobook (Heavens! At least I didn’t include information for an ebook!), I’ll include a link to a locally-sold paperback as well.