I am a rising Sophomore attending school in Austin, Texas. I'm a proud member of the Vandegrift Marching Band and I'm excited to write for Fiveable!

Schools and libraries never fail to remind us one thing: reading more. Whether you’re an athlete or artist, teacher or student, the literary world is full of material that begs to be explored! Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy; however, the journey is never as difficult as we believe it to be.

The first step is the hardest, but always the most important. I read that in a book and I stand by it!

Setting Your Goal(s)

Where do you want your literary journey to take you? Do you want to read a book every week? Every month? What sort of scheduling capability can you reasonably deliver? Take into consideration the resources you’d need to achieve this goal: Where can you find books? Do you have the time to read?

As a member of the school marching band, I know that the fall semester will be very hectic. Therefore, my goal is to read three books in the fall semester (one every other month) and five books in the spring semester (one every month). I can check out physical books from my school’s library, as well as borrow books from my friends, but I most often use Kindle Unlimited and read via the app itself. As for time, I’ve started reading for a few minutes after I complete assignments or errands to help me wind down!

Getting Started

Assess your current literary ability. What type of material do you usually read? Think of the subject areas that you are interested in: what genres you want to read? Poetry? Self-help? Non-fiction? Mystery thrillers? Sci-fi? Fantasy?

I for one would definitely like to read more non-fiction, with my primary interest being historical non-fiction. In addition to that, I absolutely love legal thrillers and I definitely want to start reading them more often! There are so many genres and if you don’t know where to start, check this out! Want to read up on different genres? Take a look at this!

If you already know what type of books you like to read, consider following up on their other works! For example, I loved reading The Hate U Give. Its author, Angie Thomas, has a phenomenal follow-up sequel entitled On The Come Up that contains the same themes, ideas, and writing style as her debut novel.

Book Listing

With all of this in mind, pull out a pen and paper… or a phone or computer. List book titles that you feel an urge to read. Think about that series your friend has been begging you to read. Think of classics that you’ve heard of but haven’t yet had a chance to read.

Still skeptical? Read a book review online! What was that book that the class bookworm was reading the other day? What books do you have in your own home library? Sample reviews and overviews previously featured here in Fiveable’s blog include Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers, which are both worthwhile reads!

My friend has been absolutely begging me to read Dumpling, and it’s next up on my plan-to-read list! I already saw it in the school library so I’ll definitely be reading it come August! My list is very fluid and is always being added to. Find a way to document the books you want to read in a way that works for you such that you continuously check up on it and add to it! My form of documentation, comically speaking, is a collection of papers with book titles hastily scribbled on them located on a specific corner of my desk.

Accountability

Now that you have a list of books you want to read and a rough idea of how and where to get them, time to hold yourself accountable! Create a book log, a reading log, any sort of documentation that you know that you will use! Personally, I can’t be bothered to write down a number every single time I read, but at the same time, I know that if I don’t write down something I won’t get anywhere at all! It’s so easy to download a reading log but of course, you can make your own! I myself use a simple Google spreadsheet detailing what I read with the most important information being:

  • Book Title
  • Book Author
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Genre
  • Words/Quotes/Thoughts etc.

To condense this five-step voyage to read more literary texts into several bullet points:

  • Set a goal for how often you want to read. Make it reasonable therefore achievable.
  • Consider the resources needed to achieve your goal. (Time constraints? Material availability?)
  • Assess your reading interests. (Genre? Author? Fiction or non-fiction?)
  • List book titles that you are genuinely interested in reading. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or librarian for their advice! Peruse your home or local library.
  • Record the books that you read and see where your literary journey takes you!

Whenever one compares a process to an adventure, our brains tend to process this as something intimidating. As life progresses, though, our goals should focus on eliminating these involuntary fears and take on the challenges ahead of us, and this journey is a good way to prepare for the even bigger hurdles out there!