Read More Books (Tips When You Have No Time or Energy)

Last year I read 50 books — that’s right, 5-0. I set a goal to read that many, and I reached it. Whether you’re hoping to finish 1 book this year, or 50+ like me, you probably hit the same road blocks I do. Reading takes time and energy — something all moms are lacking these days. Here are a few things I have found to help me reach my reading goals this year:

1. Find a book that interests you.

Why have super short books taken me months to finish, yet I’ve devoured lengthy books in a weekend? Easy, the difference was interest. I’m an avid reader. And being an English-major-turned-English-teacher, I’ve been able to push through some pretty boring books. But I can also tell you if you’re reading for pleasure, the book should be enjoyable! Pick up that book you’ve been eyeing at the bookstore (First Comes Love by Emily Giffin). Have a favorite celebrity? Pick up a book about or written by them (Yes, Please by Amy Poehler or Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling). Or, turn to friends for recommendations. If your friends loved a book, chances are you’ll love it too.

2. Maximize downtime in your daily schedule.

Even it if it’s for 20 minutes, find time in your schedule to read. “But you said this was a tip if you have no TIME!” You’re right, but here are a few random “times” I have found for myself:

  • sitting by the bathtub while my son is playing in the bath
  • waiting for cake/casserole/dinner to finish in the oven
  • husband is watching *insert sport I don’t care about here*
  • my son is watching another one episode of his favorite very educational television show
  • waiting in doctor’s office
  • right before falling asleep (it helps me unwind!)

3. When all else fails, listen to an audio book.

I’m sure this is where many people will gasp and say, “but that’s not reading!!” I say audio books definitely count! When you read to your kids it counts, so why can’t it count if someone reads to you? A book is a book is a book is a book. There have been many times when I sit down to read, and the next thing I know I’ve fallen asleep. The beauty of audio books is you can read and still get things done. Listen to it when you’re commuting to work, doing the dishes, or (my favorite) hitting the gym. There have been many times an audio book has gotten me out of a reading slump. Added bonus: the public library has hundreds of audio books available.

Still not sure where to start? Here are some books on my To Read list!

The Mothers by Brit Bennett :: “It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth.”

I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert :: “Now that I’m a mom, I know the most painful part isn’t getting something giant through your hooha. It’s having a real live child. If you are the kind of mom who shapes your kiddo’s organic quinoa into reproductions of the Mona Lisa, do not read this book…But if you are the kind of parent who accidentally goes ballistic on your rugrats every morning because they won’t put their shoes on and then you feel super guilty about it all day so you take them to McDonald’s for a special treat but really it’s because you opened up your freezer and panicked because you forgot to buy more frozen pizzas, then absolutely read this book.”

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty :: “Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong? In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.”

The Magician King by Lev Grossman :: “Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.”

The Buried Giant by Kazoo Ishiguro :: “In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven’t seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share.”

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard :: “Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her? Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.”

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda :: “Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.”

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead :: “Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.”

My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey :: “In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory. Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life—in and outside the Octagon—reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth.”

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell :: “Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.”

Please share a book you read and really enjoyed. Even better, let’s hear those creative ways you find time to read!

Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


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