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It’s summer! And that means it is time for summer reading. This may be the time where you’re spending more time than ever with your family and you just need a break with a book!
I get so many questions about how I read so much, what books I recommend, that I wanted to put together a whole resource episode with absolutely everything – my best tips, the tools I use, the sites I read, the books I recommend for your business and for your summer.
Usually I talk about running a business and mindset and once a month I share what I’m reading, but here’s the truth: I’m recording this ahead of time before it’s even June, so I can’t tell you what I read in June. And I’m taking a break from the podcast to spend my summer with my foster kids and with lots of books and the pool. But no fear! You’ll still get episodes every single week, because I planned WAY ahead!
What better way to go into the summer than to talk about what I love best about summer, which is ALSO the number one key to building my business: books! Everything I know about my business I learned through trial and error and experimenting and I figured out what to try and how to experiment from books.
But I know a lot of us struggle with reading more, so today I’m going to help with that! We’ll talk about how to read more, how to find a book you’ll like, and resources of my favorite book lists, (including the best books for your business, mindset and mental health).
Summer and books have been linked in my mind ever since I was a kid and participated in the library reading challenges – did you have these? The library would publish cards like a game board and you’d fill it in with the books you read, and then you’d win prizes. And do you remember “The Pizza Hut Book It!” program? I had to look it up because it was such a huge part of my childhood – winning PIZZA for reading (and getting the fabulous holographic pin) was really the highlight of my year, and also just about the only sport I ever competed in! While I was writing this episode, I went to look it up and Book It! is still around! Their website has tons of good resources – reading trackers, activities – for you and your kids! You can sign up for the Summer Reading Program and get weekly emails with reading suggestions and projects.
I record this it’s late May and I’ve already read more than 75 books in 2019. I often get asked: How do I read so much? A few years ago I put together a guide: How to read 100 books a year.
How to read more
The key to reading more is to read what you like, always have plenty of books on your list and on your shelf and to stop when you want.
The thing so many adults struggle with is to read what you like – give yourself permission to read what feels good, even if it’s not what you think you “should” be reading. Maybe you love YA fantasy, maybe you love romances, maybe you love comics. It really doesn’t matter, reading anything gets yourself into the habit, and you can use that habit to read more of the books that will educate you on what you want to learn (ie. business or psychology).
You also have to have ENOUGH books, so that you can immediately pick up the next one. That means enough on your To Read list and enough in your actual home (or on your Kindle). If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I bring home anywhere from 5-15 books at a time from the library. In the rest of the episode we’ll cover how to find more books for your list, how to keep track of it, and how to find more of what you like.
And finally, you really need to let yourself stop when you want to. Maybe you put the book down for just a few days, or you wait until your more awake, or you just don’t like it and you stop altogether – life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy!
How to find books you’ll like
Did you know your library has a Reader Advisory? They can suggest books, if you know what you like. They also published lists of books that are like other books, or that are on a topic you wanna learn more about!
There’s also a great online resource, through your library, called Books and Authors. (I think your library has to have hooked it up for you to access it. Check your library’s website. You can look up any book and it will tell you other books like it. Even if it’s been years since you really liked a book, if you can identify even one, you can find another!
Another way to find the books that YOU are likely to like is to find reviewers you like and read what they suggest.
- on Goodreads (look at reviews of your favorite books, click on the profile of a review you particularly like and then read a few other reviews by them. If you agree and/or you like they’re writing, check out their most recent reviews and you will find some new books you’ll like!). I like Emily May.
- in papers (NY review of books, LA Times, etc)
Check out lists!
- I highly recommend Anne Bogel’s Summer Reading Guide at Modern Mrs. Darcy
- Read along with a challenge, like the Read Harder Challenge.
- Check out the massive list of resources for Diverse Books at DiverseBooks.org.
- I share my favorite books of the month every month – you can search my site for “reading” or find a direct link to ALL of my reading posts, going back 6 years here.
- I have put together lists and lists of books on different topics – you can find all the lists at https://www.amazon.com/shop/taraswiger
- I have my favorite Business Books, my favorite trauma and mental health books, my favorite parenting books, and a lot more.
How to find books for kids?
- Help your kid(s) identify what they like in a story. Start with 3-5 stories they’ve loved (movies, video games) and help them dig into the aspects they liked best. This is a great way to help them find the words to talk about books and stories, too!
- Check out nonfiction! If your kid nerds out about ANYTHING (even movies and video games!) there are books about it!
Comics are a great way to get a reticent reader to read!
You can find “graphic novels” which are the collected issues of a storyline of a comic, at your library! Once you know you like a comic, you can start buying it (or the graphic novels) at your local comic shop. And if you don’t have a comic shop, you can get it on your Kindle comics with a Comixology subscription.
A few of my faves that are appropriate for anyone 10+:
- Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
- LumberJanes (written by Noelle Stevenson new creator of She-Ra)
- Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman
- Mile Morales: Spiderman – there is a novel, and a comic (esp if you loved Into The Spiderverse)
Ask me on Instagram! I LOVE helping you find books, I not-so-secretly really want to be a librarian (if only I can do it from home?) – tag me on your post, I’m @taraswiger or send me a DM! (Maybe I need a book recommendation podcast? Hmmm.)
How to keep track of it all? Tools I use:
- Goodreads – I use it mostly to track books I want to read. It’s great to track books I have read, but the way I use it nearly daily is to add ANY book I’ve heard of that sounds good to my list. I’m not worried this is every going to be too big. I want it to be as big as possible, so I never run out of books that I’m excited about.
- Library holds & requests – A few times a week (usually when I’m waiting somewhere or need a break from work), I open up my GoodReads To Read list, open up my library catalog and place a hold on a few books (Holds top out at 15 books and a lot of times this spring I topped it out. I read more than ever, but it stresses me a bit, so I’m keeping it under 10 at a time now). What about books your library doesn’t have? I just discovered the “request book” page on my library site and now I request that the library buy the books I want! This is great for new books that haven’t been released yet – by requesting it you get at the front of the line on the holds (great if a book is going to be on hold to like 20 people). I’ve also requested some quilt books and instead of buying them, my library borrowed them from another library (not one that’s connected in our catalog)
- Libby – get ebooks and audiobooks from your library, all from your phone.
- Book of the Month Club – if you want new books before they’re released AND you want to own your books, you can’t do better than Book of The Month – you get access to brand-new books, each month. You can skip any month you want. (If you sign up from this link, I get a free book!)
Other reading bits and bobs
Favorite book podcasts:
My own summer To Read List
This summer I’m focusing on the newest books – from Anne Bogels list – and those that I already own. This list is only those I currently have, or have on reserve at the library:
- Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
- Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel
- Still Life, by Louise Penny
- Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
- Life after Life by Kate Atkinson (and maybe her fourth Jackson Brodie novel, Started Early Took my Dog, because she has a new book coming out this summer)
- Before She Knew Him, by Peter Swanson
- Waiting for Tom Hanks, by Kerry Winfrey
- The River, by Peter Heller
- The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth,
- Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, by Lori Gottlieb
- The Better Sister, by Alafair Burke
- Anything by Megan Abbott
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