How to Become A Reader


College does a funny thing to students. I left for college as someone who absolutely loved to read. I graduated from college having read maybe 3 books just “for fun”. Something about reading textbooks or at least feeling like you should be reading your textbooks really takes away from the enjoyment of reading. After college, it took me a while to get back in to the habit of reading. Now, I read nearly every night.

Lately I’ve been begging encouraging N to read the Harry Potter series. He isn’t really a reader and the older I get, the more it is something I appreciate and want him to appreciate too (plus I’m desperate for him to become a Harry Potter fan!). Here’s how I rediscovered reading and how N is trying to also:

1. Don’t be ambitious

It might sound really cool to say to other people “I’m reading Pride and Prejudice” but realistically, you probably aren’t going to get sucked into this novel after a long stretch of being a non-reader. Start with something that is an “easy” read. Pick a book from a genre you know you like. Finally get around to reading the book your friends have been raving about. No need to be ambitious about your choice here. You aren’t any less of a reader just because you don’t read books that are wildly academic.

2. Don’t be embarrassed

Read what you want! Are you 25 and you only love Young Adult fiction? Great! You love it and that’s what matters. I’ve read all of the Twilight novels three times, Harry Potter twice, the Hunger Games series, and frequently read “beach reads” i.e. what some might call trashy novels. I’m also a huge fan of historical fiction. If you like it, you are way more likely to keep reading. Have no shame!

3. Carve out 10 minutes

We’re all busy and I know so many people who wish they could find time to read but can’t. I had gotten into the habit of laying in bed at night and scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and pinning on Pinterest. As a compulsive used book buyer, I had tons of books ready to be enjoyed! So why wasn’t I reading them? Because I wasn’t prioritizing reading. I made a pact with myself to put my phone down and read for at least 10 minutes each night. It worked! These days I read for at least 30 before falling asleep.

4. Start by re-reading something you loved

This is one tip that many may disagree with me on. I am a huge re-reader of books. Maybe it’s because I read so fast and forget many of the details or maybe I just can’t fathom only reading something I loved just once. I love to re-read my favorites. If you have a book that you know you loved once, give it another shot. It could be just what you need to get back on the reading wagon.

5. Embrace real books

Books are expensive. E-books or hardcover books will run you anywhere from $7.99 to $29.99. I have a Kindle and use that for reading non-fiction, books that are only in digital format (like books about blogging!), and embarrassing self-help books. But my real pride and joy is a large collection of real books. Hard cover, paperback, old, new, classics, and loads of fiction. They are almost all from Goodwill and all were less than $1. Goodwill has tons of recent bestsellers, plenty of YA fiction, and for all you moms out there, TONS of books on pregnancy and parenting. Hit them up.

Now for all you readers out there, recommendations please! What books just sucked you in? What could you not put down?

I’m so excited to introduce you to Tara from Starletta.
Need some inspiration for your October goals? Tara has some goals we can all get on board with and a few pretty unique ones. Squirrel problems? Tara has been very open about how she budgets and shared 9 of her best money saving tips. She is also one of the lucky few (me included) who love their jobs. On the side, Tara makes handmade jewelry. Check out her design shop, she’s got plenty to drool over! I’ve been eyeing this beauty. Tara also wrote a post that I think is a must read for any new blogger: How to Choose the Right Blogs to Sponsor. Want to hear more from Tara? Check out her blog or follow her on bloglovin.


And for a bonus, giveaway time!

If you haven’t seen the pink cleats scattering the football fields of every NFL game or the umpteen amount of pink ribbons floating around Facebook lately then you might not know that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. But have no fear because Erin from Two Thirds Hazel got a whole bunch of bloggers together to bring you a giveaway just to make sure you remember. 

The point of the giveaway is to raise awareness about this deadly disease as well as to raise money for breast cancer research in order to hopefully one day end it. And what better way to do that than to throw a whole bunch of PINK prizes your way to entice you to feel yourself up to check for lumps. That’s right, feel yourself up by giving yourself a breast exam! Aka the only mandatory thing you’ll need to do in order to enter for your chance to win. Win what you ask? Well let’s take a little peek and see the prizes shall we.

1) A $300 gift card to Victoria’s Secret PINK. Or just Victoria’s Secret if you so choose. But either way you’ll be getting TONS of new bras to carry those lovely lady lumps of yours around in. And with this much money you might even be able to snag some new panties and a bikini or two!
2) Over $100 worth of makeup and accessories. Snag yourself a lip duo from Sephora, a few blushes, nail polish, lip balms, a makeup bag, a watch, a scarf, a rose quartz and pearl bracelet, a pink pouf from Stella and Dot and more!

3) Over $100 worth of ad space. Get your pretty face on the sidebars of some awesome blogs in order to grow your own blog and gain more exposure.
4) $60 worth of Essie nail polish. You’ll get five different pink polishes as well as base and top coats. Add in a pretty pink nail file and your digits will be thanking you for months to come.
5) A set of pink Vino2Go wine glass cups. Because what better way will there be to celebrate winning this giveaway than to sit down and pour yourself a glass (or two, or five) of wine.
6) A $25 design credit. After you’re done shopping for new bras, painting your nails, applying makeup, throwing on new accessories and drinking wine, go update your blog with this awesome credit.

And now that you’ve met all of the amazingly generous ladies behind this giveaway, I think it’s about time we got to entering it. So start stripping and begin feeling because the best method of prevention is early detection. If you’ve never given yourself an exam and need some guidance be sure to read the following information brought to you by the National Breast Cancer Foundation on the best ways to get the job done. If you already know how to get yourself to second base then carry on and head straight down to the Rafflecopter below to enter!

Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.


Since the primary purpose of this giveaway is to spread awareness, the only thing that’s mandatory in order to enter is for you to give yourself the breast exam. The second option available for entry (although definitely not mandatory) is to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation. This option will get you the most entries because you’ll be given an extra entry per every dollar you donate. A $20 donation equals 20 extra entries. Make sense? Good. So get to entering and find some pink fluffy feelings in your heart to help out a great cause!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • So, so true! I used to read every night, now I only read over the summer. Excluding blogs, which I read every day!

  • I loooooooove Debbie Macomber. Her Cedar Cove and Blossom Street series are great, fun, quick, easy reads about every day life. If you’re into baking and mysteries, the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke is great. She puts recipes from the story in each book. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series about a female bounty hunter is good. It has some language and a raunchy situation every now and then, but it’s comical. The Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen is about a detective, medical examiner, and murderers. It is really good, but really dark (I love the show too, but it’s way different). I recommend Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery by Regina Jeffers, The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen, Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan, and Divine by Karen Kingsbury also. Hopefully you try and like at least one of these haha! I lovelovelove reading and get so excited when people ask for recommendations.

    • wow! I’m looking into the ones you recommended. Thanks !!

    • Nadine

      I need to just copy and paste this into my iphone notes to go straight to the book store! Thanks for sharing such a great list!

  • Jill

    I would love to win this give-a-way, so I can treat my mother-in-law (who recently had a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer) to the prizes for some pampering! She loves VS and Essie polishes, and I’d love to be able to surprise her!

  • I really love this post…I’ve been in the same boat. It started after college and is a little worse now that I’m a mom. I have the bad habit of browsing social media in the evenings when I know that time could be spent better by reading and making my brain actually do some work! Haha your tips are spot on !

    • Nadine

      That’s what I get into the habit of doing also. I’m making a decision to put down the phone and try to read more instead.

  • Rebecca

    I too was an avid reader who forgot how to read for fun while in college. The first Twilight book actually got me addicted to reading again (although I really only liked the first book…)! I love good historical fiction, urban fantasy novels (think Jim Butcher’s Dresden files and The Hollows series by Kim Harrison), young adult fiction (you must read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, and the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty), and of course, a million other books/genres. I’m currently reading Where’d you go, Bernadette. It’s awesome, especially since I used to live near Seattle. On N not reading, my husband isn’t much of a reader either. When he does read, it’s usually a non-fiction book on how to make something (he’s into woodworking). I’m always trying to get him to read fiction, but I suppose I should just be happy he likes to learn things.

    • Nadine

      I’ve heard that The Book Thief and Eleanor & Park are both excellent. They’ve been on my list for a while now. Thanks for reminding me!

  • Kim

    I’ve recently got back into reading like whoa and I 100% agree – read what you want! I love reading YA Dystopian fiction! I’m in law school right now and I thought that would throw me off reading but on the contrary it’s really nice to be able to get sucked into something light and forget about all the heavy law school reading for a bit!

    • Nadine

      I think that if I was in school now, I would have that same feeling but during college I felt guilty like I should be reading something else. It’s not like I didn’t have the time to read. I totally did. It was my own fault.

  • Go read The Luxe series! I just finished it and was obsessed! It’s based in 1899 and the details are beautifully written. I couldn’t get enough so I picked up her new book based in the roaring 20s 🙂

    • Nadine

      I’d never heard of that but I just googled it and it looks AMAZING. Great recommendation. Thank you!

  • I love love love LOVE to read! AND I am a huge Harry Potter fan so of course I re-read those often, usually in the Fall. I think sticking to what you like is def the key to reading. Although since I have been part of a book club it is has been nice to read books that I would have never thought of. And if you like historical fiction, have you read Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants? It’s a big one but I love it!


    • Nadine

      I should join a book club. How did you find yours? I don’t know how to find one to join. I’ll look in to Fall of Giants, thank you!

  • Before college, I would read all day, everyday. Now I’m lucky if I finish a book in a month!
    I tried to get back into it over the summer and read like, three books. Not bad, but not even close to what I would have read before college.

    • Nadine

      Start small with just 10 minutes a night. I promise you’ll move through books faster than you realize.

  • I absolutely love to read, I always have. My earliest memory of reading everything I could is from 1st grade. I’m not big on academic reading but like you said, it doesn’t make you any less of a reader.

  • These are great tips! I like the idea of just reading ten minutes before bed.

  • I’m a huge reader, and I’ve done a ton of posts on reading, too. I couldn’t agree more with your tip to just carve out a specific amount of time each day to read. Like you, college killed a lot of my desire for reading for fun (ironically enough, I was an English major). After I graduated, I kept setting these lofty goals to read 50 books (or some other number of books) per year, but it never ended up happening. This year, I just made the resolution to read two chapters of a book on most days. That’s all.

    You wanna know the craziest thing about it?

    I’ve read more this year already than in the past two years combined (almost).

    Keep up the great content! I love your blog.

  • Before I needed glasses to read I would read before going to sleep at night, now I like to listen to a book before going to sleep if I can. I find it very relaxing

  • Yet another reason for me to read the Harry Potter books. I love reading and I don’t do it enough!

  • I love this! I’m still in school and unfortunately have no extra time to read what I actually want to read, but I miss it. My favorite is East by Edith Pattou. It’s a YA novel, but it’s WONDERFUL and I’ve read it at least three times.

  • Love everything about this post! I love love love reading and I’m lucky enough to have have a boyfriend that loves reading too so I we switch books sometimes. But like you said, most importantly is to just read books you enjoy with no shame 🙂

  • I think I had the same problem after my first year of working, my love of reading just dissappeared and that was hard. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t read any longer… so now I am pushing myself to read at least one book a month for 2013. But with the right type of book I’m sure I’ll be hooked again!
    I also loved the Twilight series, 50 Shades and the Hunger Games .. all of them got me out of my reading slumps and I just bought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… Let’s hope it’s a good one 🙂

  • These are the best tips for becoming a reader again! I’ve always loved reading too, and I kept reading for fun in college – but I went on this whole thing of reading non-fiction books about Jesus because I went to Jesus school and that’s what all my friends read. I loved them… but since college I’m back to my original love. NOVELS. I barely pick up non-fiction books anymore and I’m okay with that. i’m also reading a lot more than I did in college – at least for fun. And I totally agree with reading what you want to read. I know some people think it’s ridiculous to read Young Adult books – but I think it’s fine! My theory is that a good story is a good story no matter what reading level. Take the Chronicles of Narnia. Technically they’re kids books – but I don’t think anyone is going to look down on someone in their 20s for reading them. BECAUSE THEY’RE GOOD! I love YA fiction, but I also love historical, fantasy, and some science-fiction.

  • I would recommend joining a book club (aka wine and cheese club). As geeky as it sounds they are so much fun. Here’s my latest read:

    Claire xx

  • I love this article so much. I’ve always been a reader, always. But you’re right – college does certainly have a special effect on reading for fun. I’m a junior in college and realized that last year I spent a majority of time re-reading books I used to love when I didn’t have my nose deep inside a textbook and had only read about 2 books just for fun. I’m trying much harder to do better this year!

    Those were some really amazing tips. I’ve been making it a priority to read nightly before bed (I also am guilty of religiously doing a night time social media check and then playing Candy Crush until I run out of lives or feel too sleepy to keep on). I find that reading is a much nicer way to wind out the night, plus I feel like I’m getting something enjoyable and productive done at the same time. Oh, and having the real book is a must (though sometimes I do download samples of cheesy self help books to the free version of amazon reader for my phone). Haha!

  • I definitely agree that college kills your love of reading. I was completely into reading for years and I’ve read so many books. Now that I’ve graduated, I don’t have much interest in reading. I’m working on getting back into it.

    I am definitely into young adult fiction and I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading it. The love stories are completely bogus and likely to never happen, but it speaks to the little girl inside that will never grow up!

  • Jen S

    I couldn’t agree more. I have 2 kids and manage to read at least 2 books every 2 weeks. I get all of mine from the local library or the eBooks online through the library. I very rarely buy any books. Getting them free, allows me to read authors I’ve never heard of to try them out and see if I like their writing. I read such a variety of books because of this!

  • I stopped reading in University for awhile too, law text books were such a drag that I couldn’t even think about picking up fiction books! I’m trying to get back into the swing of things now, and I definitely agree with your tips. Re-reading favourites is something I do too – I have a massive book collection, which I love, and it seems too sad to read things once and then not ever again! Reading a little every night is a great tip too. That ten minutes quickly turns into an hour!

  • I totally buy the majority of my books from Goodwill. Especially on half-price Fridays! I also work at a bookstore, so I’m constantly looking at books that I might find interesting and bringing them home. All it takes is one good book to get you hooked on reading. For me, it was good ole’ Harry Potter.

  • University totally took the enjoyment out of reading for awhile. I could never read an interest book because I always felt guilty about not using that time to study! Lately I have been on a huge YA kick. Sometimes I feel like I should read something that challenges me a bit more, but I enjoy these books, so I figure it’s more about the enjoyment at this point than the learning!

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