5 Ways to Form a Positive Reading Habit

Here’s how to pick books that enrich, comfort and renew your perspective on life.

Posted in , Oct 18, 2019

PIck books you love

“The habit of reading is the only one I know in which there is no alloy,” said the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, “It lasts when all other pleasures fade.”

One of my favorite Guideposts blogs to write is what I call a “Positive Reading List.” Books, whether hand-held or electronic, are an unending source of joy, learning, insight and imagination. How we choose what to read says a lot about our priorities and passions.

Here are some tips for making reading a perpetually positive habit in your life.

1) Give Old Favorites a Re-Read
There is a particular kind of pleasure that comes with easing open a well-worn book, flipping through pages you have thumbed before, maybe multiple times. Re-reading favorite books can do more than bring you back into beloved worlds and stories—it can bring you back to the time in your life when you last met those characters. You’re left with a rich reflection on who you were, who you are and where you turn for meaning and inspiration.

2) Learn Something New 
If you are a lover of novels, think about what your favorites have in common. A particular time in history, region of the world or type of character may emerge as a theme. That can send you down a glorious rabbit hole of non-fiction books that will illuminate your understanding of times, places and people who already live in your imagination.

3) Get Social
Book clubs are positive on so many levels, not least of which is that they open your mind to books you might not otherwise have considered. If you don’t belong to one—and even if you do—try to think about your reading choices in a communal way. Ask friends what they are reading and go with any recommendations that intrigue you. 

4) Give Yourself Permission to Move On
Sometimes you just can’t get through a book—and that’s okay. Just like living positively means acknowledging when it’s time to let go of something that isn’t serving you well, reading positively means giving yourself permission to close a book that isn’t keeping you interested or inspired. There are infinite choices to turn to instead, after all. The positive pleasure of reading is indeed un-ending.

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