Doing this one thing changed my reading life!
I have loved books my entire adult life. But I only rediscovered my enthusiasm for reading just a few years ago. Since then, I’ve read plenty of articles about how to read more, improve your reading, and find great books to read. And I’ve found lots of great tips and resources.
In fact, I shared a whole bunch of ways to read more in your everyday life – tips I got from actual avid readers.
But the one thing I’ve done that has vastly improved my reading life is this:
Connect with other readers.
Seriously. There are so many amazing benefits to getting to know other people who love books and reading.
The Benefits of Connecting with Other Readers
Talking with other readers regularly has greatly improved my reading overall. I have read more books that I felt earned a 5 star rating than ever before. And my to-be-read list has grown extraordinarily as I get higher quality reading recommendations from readers who’s opinions I have come to trust.
I also get more out of the books I read because I have people to discuss with afterward. In fact, I’ve learned not to give a book a star rating until after I’ve chatted with a few other readers about it. There have been times I’ve changed my rating after hearing other perspectives!
The most surprising, yet impactful benefit I’ve found is that connecting with other readers keeps me excited about reading. If you’re a book lover, you may have a hard time imagining a need to have encouragement from others to keep reading. But I’ve been in reading slumps many times – sometimes lasting years! And since I have made more of an effort to connect with other readers, I haven’t slowed down.
How to Connect with Other Readers
At this point, you might be thinking, Ok great, but how does one ‘connect with other readers’? And I’ll tell you, it might be easier than you think.
The easiest way to connect with other readers is to use social media. If you are on Facebook do a quick search in the ‘groups’ section and you’ll find many! Be sure you read through the group description and rules before joining to find a group that is the right fit for you.
If you are on Instagram, you can use hashtags to find other readers. This may take some digging and investigating because there are so many accounts out there. My advice is to look for posts about recent books you’ve enjoyed and check out the accounts sharing those posts. It’s a good place to start.
Another route I like is to find my favorite authors on social media and follow their accounts. Not only do I like to see what they are reading, sometimes they tease their current works-in-progress! And you can sometimes connect with readers who have similar tastes as you scroll through the content your favorite authors post.
If you don’t already belong to your local library, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a library card. Aside from saving tons of money on books, supporting the library is a great community cause. Libraries provide tons of resources in addition to lending books.
At your library, you can get to know the librarians by asking them for reading recommendations. The easiest thing is to share with them the types of books you like, or the title of your favorite book, and ask them if they know of anything similar. If you strike out on your first try – say you get an epic fantasy buff while you’re more into romance -, look for someone different to ask next time.
Libraries also often have reading groups or book clubs. This is a fantastic way to find other readers in your community whom you may not have ever had the chance to know otherwise. Which brings me to my next point.
Start a Book Club
If joining up with a random book club with members you’ve never met feels a bit out of your comfort zone, you could always start your own. That’s what I did!
First decide what type of book club you want to form. Super casual? Reading the classics? Non-fiction only? Whatever suits you!
Then pick a few people you think would be a good fit. They don’t have to be close friends. Just people you know love to read (or even just like to read when they have time). You can always ask one or two people and then ask them if they know of anyone they’d like to also invite if you’re comfortable building a group that way.
Join a Reading Challenge
There are all sorts of reading challenges that will help you connect with other readers. I am partial to #FriendsWhoRead2020 since it’s the one I created. 😉 But you can find all sorts of other reading challenges as well.
To clarify, I am not talking about a reading goal that gives you a set number of books to try to read in a month or year. The type of reading challenge I mean is the type that gives you ideas, or even specific titles to read. A reading challenge is very similar to a book club with the main difference being that not everyone is necessarily reading the same book at the same time. Many reading challenges allow you to jump in at any time.
If you want to use a reading challenge to connect with other readers, I encourage you to find one that has an organized way of interacting. It might be a private Facebook group, or a hashtag used to mark discussions on social media.
Reading may seem like a solitary pursuit. And it mostly is. But sharing and discussing with other readers does so much to enrich the experience. What are some ways you connect with other readers? I’d love to know in the comments.