How to get into reading as an adult

It’s no secret that the Polygon employees loves to learn. We’re style agnostic, with tastes spanning classes such as thriller, science fiction and fantasy, literary fiction, romance, and even nonfiction, and we love manga and comics, too. However we’re additionally sympathetic to how onerous it’s to discover time to do it. By the point the workday is over, you could be too exhausted to eat phrases on the web page — or possibly you’re a father or mother, working onerous to handle your self and your loved ones. It additionally will be troublesome to focus, with countless emails, texts, and social media notifications taking over mind area or needing speedy consideration.

However there are such a lot of other ways to add reading into your life. There’s this notion of reading as an exercise that you simply want to dedicate discrete time and area to — that it’s uninterrupted and stress-free. Possibly that’s an accessible possibility for you, which is great, however possibly it’s merely develop into troublesome to focus for lengthy stretches. Possibly you attempt to learn earlier than mattress however preserve falling asleep. Or possibly you’re busy as hell and marvel, How might I even discover time to begin a e-book, a lot much less end it?

We’re right here to assist. A few of the common readers on the Polygon employees have shared our tales of how we’ve discovered time to learn up to now 12 months. All of us had wildly completely different solutions, which is to say, there are numerous other ways to add it to your life. We hope these concepts can serve you in your reading journey.

Begin your day with an excellent e-book

Working from house is the very best factor that’s occurred to my reading habits. After I stopped going into the workplace in 2020, I abruptly had an further hour within the morning the place my commute used to be. As a substitute of taking this as an alternative to sleep in, I saved the time of my morning alarm the identical, giving myself a bonus hour every morning to fill nonetheless I wished. I attempted quite a lot of issues, together with yoga and lengthy walks with my canine, however nothing set a greater tone for my day than utilizing that point to learn.

To today, as soon as I end preparing for work, I make myself a cup of espresso, curl up with my cats and a comfortable blanket, and browse for anyplace from 30 to 60 minutes. Beginning my mornings this fashion helps me chill out and really feel extra grounded earlier than signing on to work, and the enjoyment I nonetheless get from this routine practically 4 years later is greater than value shedding that bonus hour of sleep. —Sadie Gennis

Attempt a devoted reading gadget

Picture: Ana Diaz/Polygon

I’ve most likely written about this sufficient already, however I obtained again into reading by reading manga on my pill utilizing the Shonen Leap app.

I believe it’s very easy to get all excessive and mighty about what’s and isn’t value reading, however comics are nice. Reading manga earlier than mattress has develop into a treasured a part of my night routine, and genuinely appears like me time. My pill doesn’t have any messaging or social media apps, so I’m not interrupted whereas reading and I get a pleasant break from the web. It’s like just a little oasis of my very own each evening.

All you want is a shitty pill, or perhaps a telephone for those who’re OK with squinting, and you may learn acclaimed tales with gorgeous artwork. Moreover, reading a novel appears much more doable after breezing by means of a thousand chapters of One Piece. —Ana Diaz

Attempt one thing that was as soon as forbidden

Folks have already shared variations of the golden rule for locating pleasure in reading: “Stop assigning yourself homework.” Now let’s go a step additional. Attempt stuff that you simply explicitly weren’t allowed to learn in class. Books are sick, and I don’t imply cool; I imply wicked.

In highschool, I, like so many millennial youngsters, had my Chuck Palahniuk interval. Giggle all you need, however reading novels like Survivor and Choke felt like gaining entry behind the beaded curtain. You’ll be able to go intellectual with Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, the story of a pier-loitering teenage sociopath. Or you may go for a legend of the airport bookstore, like Anne Rice. You’ve heard of Interview with the Vampire, however for those who haven’t learn it, belief me, you’re in for some grade-A filth. —Chris Plante

‘Having fun isn’t onerous when you have got a library card’

In 2023, I learn extra books than I had within the earlier three years mixed. My favourite animated aardvark knew what he was about. Shifting to a spot with a library lower than a 10-minute stroll away has been a recreation changer. I’d beforehand used apps like Libby and Overdrive, however there’s simply one thing about waltzing into a library with out figuring out precisely what you’re searching for and letting the stacks whisper to you. Final 12 months, I found a bunch of latest favorites and in addition grew to become an authorized romance reader, all as a result of I took an opportunity on a library e-book.

However whereas the library undoubtedly solved my “access to books without committing to buying something that you may not like and it will take up space on your bookshelf and haunt you for years to come” downside, there’s additionally one other hurdle to deal with. Even with library entry, you continue to have to discover the time to learn — which will be onerous, with 1,000,000 exhibits and films on streaming, a ton of video games in my backlog to play, and different hobbies that I could possibly be spending time on.

Final 12 months, although, I made it a degree to get off social media. It truly wasn’t that onerous, contemplating that Twitter kinda set itself on fireplace and TikTok was making me so enraged that I simply deleted the app. I began to use that point to learn as an alternative. It particularly works for in-between moments — ready for my pasta water to boil, or grabbing a snack and never wanting to commit to watching a tv present. As a lot as I like to simply spend hours poring over a e-book, that’s not the one method to learn. I can get the identical repair in bite-sized chunks, the identical fast hit I used to get from Twitter or TikTok. It’s simply as entertaining (dare I say… much more so?), with out the adverse unwanted side effects of doomscrolling! —Petrana Radulovic

Combine it up with an previous basic or a brand new co-reader

A whole lot of issues have helped me pull out of periodic reading slumps — taking suggestions from pals, monitoring down previous favourite authors to see what they’ve been up to, getting into ebooks and prompt downloads from libraries by way of Libby and Hoopla, reading plenty of Book Riot for gross sales and suggestions. However two comparatively offbeat issues spiced up my reading greater than common final 12 months, and I’d advocate giving each of them a attempt.

Return to some previous favorites — I imply actually previous favorites. Susana Polo’s 2023 piece on Disney’s animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians jogged my memory of a author I haven’t thought of in many years: Invoice Peet, the film’s author and storyboarder, and the writer of a huge pile of weird, wild picture books I learn in childhood. Armed with nostalgia, I hit the library and reread a bunch of these image books — none of them have been difficult or enlightening reading, clearly, however the recollections they known as up have been plenty of enjoyable, they usually reconnected me with a distinct period of my connection to books. After which I obtained to advocate them to, and purchase a few of them for, my pals with younger youngsters.

Equally, a stray reminiscence late final 12 months took me again to Island of the Blue Dolphins, a favourite basic from my early reading years. It solely took an hour or so to reread, and it introduced again plenty of recollections — and despatched me off searching for extra modern books about Native islanders, ones up to at this time’s requirements as an alternative of the requirements of when it was written. Touching base with issues I learn and beloved in childhood let me assume extra about what I like to learn at this time, and why — and helped me take into consideration a number of the messages I internalized from books as a child, which has been value considering and speaking about with pals.

Learn to another person, or have somebody learn to you. Revisiting childhood image books jogged my memory of the occasions I’ve learn books to youngsters, and made me need to spend extra time doing that. However we don’t put sufficient worth on adults reading to one another. Impressed by a buddy of mine who says he and his spouse take turns reading A Christmas Carol to one another each vacation season, I began asking my husband to learn out loud to me on lengthy automobile journeys. It’s a surprisingly nice social exercise, with all of the enjoyment of an excellent audiobook mixed with the connection issue of focusing us each on the identical story and making it an lively course of as an alternative of a passive one.

It is a good one to attempt for evenings at residence with a big different or member of the family. Most of us who don’t have youngsters within the speedy household have most likely gotten out of the behavior of reading out loud, however it may be a very satisfying method to take pleasure in and interact with a narrative — and with another person who’s inquisitive about reading extra, too! —Tasha Robinson

Listening can also be reading

Photo of a man wearing headphones standing against a blue background

Picture illustration: James Bareham/Polygon | Supply picture: Netflix

Reading has at all times been one among my favourite pastimes, to the extent that it’s a interest I determine with on the extent of who I’m as an individual. However as I’ve balanced increasingly more duties in my life, I’ve had to get extra artistic with how I preserve reading. For the previous few years, I’ve discovered it tougher to discover uninterrupted reading time — which has atrophied the muscle of having the ability to focus, even, with a e-book. I saved assuming that I’d ease again into it, however I by no means did. I’d sit with a e-book and discover myself hopelessly distracted only a few pages in.

As a substitute, I’ve gotten actually into audiobooks, which I can hear to whereas occurring a every day stroll, doing the laundry, or washing the dishes. It motivates me to truly get the chores carried out — I need to know what’s occurring subsequent — but it surely helps settle my fidgety nature, too. I’ve additionally began reading essay collections whereas my accomplice performs single-player video video games. We each love gaming and reading, so if both of us hits an exhaustion level, we’ll merely commerce: I’ll play the part he’s caught in, and he’ll make his method by means of an essay within the assortment. It’s a enjoyable method of sharing media collectively that’s usually consumed individually. And it’s made the entire thing far more social. —Nicole Clark

Don’t overlook — there are different kinds of reading on the market

You need to learn extra books? Sorry, can’t allow you to there; I begin far more of them than I end, and haven’t learn them often since school.

Wouldn’t it be good if I learn extra books? Certain, and possibly I’ll try a number of the strategies from my co-workers above. However my spouse and I are about to have our first little one, so I don’t know that I’ll have the time or the inclination to make it by means of book-length works anytime quickly.

What I do learn a ton of, although, is journalism. I used to be a information junkie lengthy earlier than I began working within the media, however I’d say that it contains one thing like 90% of what I learn today — and that’s every part from bullet-point news bites to magazine-length features. I’m not simply speaking about reporting right here; I additionally imply evaluation, explainers, film/TV/recreation criticism, private essays, interviews, and knowledge journalism. I’ve at all times been a fundamentally curious person, and reading journalism is the primary method that I study and keep knowledgeable in regards to the world and what’s occurring in it.

Twitter used to be my major curation software right here — I presently have practically 180 tabs open throughout three Chrome home windows, and the overwhelming majority of them operate as bookmarks: They’re tweets of tales that I meant to learn in some unspecified time in the future. It’s not the very best technique for truly reading extra journalism, as you may see, however I do make makes an attempt to chip away at that backlog on occasion.

One thing that facilitates that is that I keep subscriptions to the New York Occasions (together with The Athletic), the Washington Publish, and The New Yorker. If you would like to learn extra journalism, and specifically, nice journalism, it helps for those who can afford to pay for it! —Samit Sarkar

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