Real Nerds Read Blog Post Intro
Embracing Your Inner Reader
I’m not here to shame you for your reading habits. I showed up to encourage you to embrace your inner reader.
I read 100-150 books a year. I’ve been a reader since I was a girl when one of my favorite indoor activities was to curl up on my freshly-made bed with a good book. I started reading at my current level in 2013 when I launched my first reading challenge. I challenged myself to read 100 books in 2013 because I realized that the older I got, the less time I spent reading, even though I loved reading and understood the benefits of developing a daily reading habit, including gaining knowledge, reducing stress, and becoming a better writer.
I read 108 books during my first reading challenge, and I learned so much along the way. I challenged myself to read 150 books in 2014. I ended that year having read exactly 150 books, but it wasn’t nearly as fun. I felt like I was pushing myself to finish books I didn’t particularly appreciate because I was too far in and needed to count them. Finishing books I don’t like goes directly against my belief that life’s too short to read bad books. There are just too many excellent options out there. I didn’t set a reading challenge after 2014, but a strange thing happened. I kept reading at the same level. I had developed a life-long reading habit.
But, as I said previously, I’m not here to shame you. I know most people don’t read as much as I do, and that’s ok. I do, however, want to encourage you to read.
Why You Should Read
Most Americans read about four books a year, but nearly 30% of Americans don’t read books at all. So, while Joe Hight, Best of Books owner, calls me a “super reader,” I’m thrilled by anyone who reads at least a book a year. Why? Because there are so many incredible benefits to reading, aside from just the pleasure of the story. They include:
Increased Knowledge. Everything you read teaches you something. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you are for life. Also, it makes you super nerdy fun at parties.
Better Brain Health. Your brain responds to being used. MRI-scan brain studies have shown that reading fires up circuits and signals in the brain that make you smarter and your brain physically stronger. Reading also keeps your brain engaged as you get older, which helps you avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Reduced Stress. Reading reduces stress, which is something most of us want to do and likely need to do. Researchers determined that reading just 30 minutes reduces stress as much as yoga.
Improved Focus. The internet has made it more difficult for people to focus, reducing our ability to focus to less than that of a goldfish. When you read a book, you help strengthen your focus because it requires your undivided attention.
Making Time to Read
I may not be telling you much you didn’t already know. Lots of folks tell me that they love reading and they know it’s good for them. The problem is they don’t have the time. I get it! When people learn how much I read, they assume I’m a fast reader. I’m not at all. I make time to read because it’s important to me. Here are some ways you can make time to read:
Always Have Something to Read. Life creates little opportunities for reading, like when you’re sitting in a waiting room. There is no reason with current technology that you should ever be without something to read. I do a lot of reading on my iPhone. This reading habit boggles peoples’ minds because they can’t imagine reading on that tiny screen, but it works for me. You can carry around a physical book or buy ebooks or audiobooks from Best of Books.
Read Before Bed. I usually read for about 30 minutes before I go to sleep at night. That’s about all I can handle before my eyelids begin to droop, but it’s enough to get through a chapter or two. It helps me relax my body and my mind before I drift to sleep.
Embrace Audiobooks. One of my great secrets to reading a lot is that you don’t have to physically read everything you “read.” Audiobooks are an excellent alternative to reading that still allow you to consume information. Audiobooks work well during exercise while preparing for your day, doing chores, and commuting. One-in-five people now read audiobooks because they offer all of the same benefits of reading in a different format. Hear me now — audiobooks count.
Reduce TV Time. If books make you smarter, TV makes you dumber. I’m sorry, it’s just true. Television doesn’t engage your brain the same way reading does. And while people talk about having no time to read, they’re watching an average of four hours of TV a day and spending more than two hours a day on social media.
How Best of Books Can Help You Embrace Your Inner Reader
A bookstore can help you develop or improve your reading habit in an obvious way — by providing books for you to read. But that’s not all. Best of Books partnered with me to help you with a critical step in embracing your inner reader — always knowing what you want to read next. The most active readers have a list of books they want to read. There are several ways I can help you.
First, check out my list of my favorite books. I love true crime and thrillers, but I think you’ll find something for everyone on the list.
Second, visit Best of Books in person (They have so much great stuff!) or order your next read from them online in whatever format serves you best.
Finally, if you’re interested, consider liking my Real Nerds Read Facebook page. You can learn more about the books I’m reading and even join my Real Nerds Read Book Club.
I’m not here to shame you. I want you to embrace your inner reader that you keep making excuses to avoid.
As always, happy reading!