How To Be A Better Reader
2016 Los Angeles Times Festival Of Books
Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images

How To Be A Better Reader

Manon Lamy February 19, 2023

Reading books is one of those little pleasures in life that we like to do when it’s quiet. Just imagine yourself in a castle in some far away land, reading as the rain hits the windows. It’s all very poetic.

That all sounds very nice, doesn’t it? Or more simply one of your New Year’s resolutions was to read more. While it’s already February, you haven’t given up yet. And you are looking for ways to inspire your reading. We’re going to share all some tips to help with that.

Even if you are an avid reader and want to invest in some signed copies from your favourite authors, we will explain how to find those as well.

Reading doesn’t have to mean that you read 100 books a year. Realistically, who has the time? Seeing as most you will be students, you have enough reading to do with university. But reading can be fun if you find the right books.

What to read?

In order to achieve your New Year’s resolution of reading more, you need to know what you want to read. There are many categories of books. Young Adult Fiction, Adult fiction, self help books, non fiction, biographies. The list goes on and on.

YA fiction is written for young adults and teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. However, do not let that put you off. Read whatever you want, whatever category. If you’re 21 and you want to read young adult books then nothing should stop you.

Some famous YA authors include Cassandra Clare, Holly Jackson and Leigh Bardugo. Often you’ll find these YA books as popular #BookTok books.

Whatever you want to read, finding books is easy. It could be 10 books by minority authors you need to read or some of the most popular #BookTok books.

If you still can’t find your happiness and want to read some biographies, or you simply want more choice, than download the Goodreads app, or look on Pinterest. You’ll find all the inspiration you are looking for. And it is a great way to discover new authors, new genres and new styles of writing.

Photo by NegiPho on Unsplash

How to track your reading?

Are you a little competitive? Do you want to challenge your friends and families regarding who can read the most books? Or do you simply want to keep track of the books you’ve read?

Whichever answer resonates with you the most, there are a couple of ways to go about this. The first one, and one of the most popular, is Goodreads. Goodreads is a great app and website where you can take part in the 2023 Reading Challenge. You set yourself the number of books you’d like to read in the year and it will keep you accountable by telling you if you are on track, ahead of schedule or running behind.

The great way is that, if you read a book for university, you can add it as your ‘currently reading’ and, when you finish, it will automatically count towards your reading challenge. The great things about Goodreads are that you can add your friends and family, and you can keep tabs on what they are reading and how far ahead they are in their challenge.

If you are not the competitive type, you can still see what your friends are reading and potentially get some inspiration. Bonus points because the app is completely free!

Another way of keeping track is simply in your phone’s notes. It doesn’t have to be your phone. You can start a google doc, a word document or even a spreadsheet.

Finally, there is another great new app you can use called Story Graph. This app lets you see the number of pages you’ve read and view stats about your reading that are more detailed than on Goodreads. Use whichever app floats your boat. You can even use both if you prefer.

Where to buy the books?

I know, I know, this might seem so obvious. Amazon, WH Smith or Waterstones if you’re in the UK. Maybe Barnes & Nobles if you are an American reader. Yes, you can get books there, but not solely. Maybe you don’t want your cash going to big corporations and would like to support small businesses. Yes. Good idea.

However you have to argued that Amazon is great if you are in a hurry because chances are your book will arrive quickly. And they have sales, so what’s better than sales? But here are other ways to buy your books.

One great option is a local book store or They might be little bit pricier than Amazon books, but it is worth it because you’re supporting a small business. On the Bookshop website you can even use their store locator to find an independent shop near you. So simple.

If you want books for cheap, then charity shops and secondhand is a great way of finding books for cheap. Many charity shops around the UK will have book sections. However you might not find very recent books so beware. Then you have Facebook marketplace and Vinted.

Now for the fans who want signed books. That’s a little tricky but not impossible. One of the ways is Waterstones. They will often have signed copies of their books, but not always. They will usually have a little sticker on the book cover indicating that they have been signed by the author.

If some authors are local to you, like Chloe Gong in New York, then keep an eye on their Instagram stories because some authors will go to their local store and sign books there.

Finally you can check author websites. A lot of authors will have signed copies to buy on their sites.

Want books for free?

Nothing is ever, really, free but there is a way to get books without paying a penny.

One of them is to borrow from friends and family. And then just keep them. But ask them first because you don’t want to get into an argument. If your friends and family have books they don’t want but you do then going to their bookshelves is a great first idea.

Next up: your local library. Getting books out from a local library is really easy and cost efficient. Libraries will often have a large catalogs but will also be open to requests.

Free libraries. Have you ever seen libraries by the side of the road in the country side? Or by the beach? People will bring books they don’t want and you can read them and bring the ones you don’t need as well. It’s a great way to score some free books. But they are unlikely to be new. So bare that in mind.

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Manon is a freelance journalist for Freshered. She joined Freshered in February 2022 where she is still working today. As a freelance journalist she enjoys covering everything from international politics to Formula 1 and travelling. Manon is currently in her final year of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham after returning from a year abroad in Vienna, Austria. She hopes to continue her studies in Journalism.