How many of these do you want to do? Have many have you done?
Create a hidden room behind a book shelf.
Take a photo of a book title that perfectly epitomizes your day and share on social media.
Read in a cozy retreat like a hammock, tent, yurt, tree fort, whatever sounds cozy to you.
Pay attention to Library Angels. This is the name given to reading materials you aren’t looking for that somehow appear in your life and turn out to be exactly what you need. Here’s a peek at the strange history of book synchronicity.
Regularly exult in the wonder of libraries. In case you’re not aware, library drinking fountains dispense magic water. Really, try it.
When traveling, make a point of visiting an area library. For incentive, here are some of the world’s most beautiful libraries.
Leave a Post It note to the next reader of a library book. Maybe a simple, “Dear Next Reader, I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. warmly, Previous Reader.”
Name a child after a literary character or author. There are plenty of lists online like Flavorwire, MomJunction, and Babble but chances are, your name and the names of your family members have probably already shown up in literature. Just do a search for “name fictional character.” (My kids’ names are found in the classics, in Star Wars, and in video games although we actually chose names that seemed wise and gentle.)
Bestow literary names elsewhere in your life. When I was a kid, my pink bike was named after a fictional horse. Over the years we’ve given cows, chickens, and dogs some lofty monikers. I tend to name things around the house too, like our vacuum and our kefir starter…
As you read, drink what the characters are drinking in the book. Local microbrew with Bill McKibben’s Radio Free Vermont, gin with Anne Patchett’s Commonwealth, locally made wine with any of the Inspector Bruno mystery series by Martin Walker, Prosecco with Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan series of novels, hot chocolate mixed with a hint of hot pepper with Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate.
Start or join a book club. If you have time, don’t limit yourself to one.
Reread a favorite childhood book to figure out how it shaped your life. (I’m pretty sure The Secret Garden saved me.)
Go to a workshop offered by an author you admire.
Go through a book shelf and donate high quality volumes you no longer want to your local library or an area women’s shelter. Or ship them to Books for Soldiers, Books for Africa, or Reader to Reader. (Huzzah, you’ve just given yourself space for more books.)
Try the read and release method with BookCrossings. Once you’ve read and enjoyed a book, simply go online to print out a label, then leave your book in a public place like a coffee shop, playground, or waiting room. The label assures others the book is free to anyone interested. The label also contains a code so readers can track and follow books as they are read, discussed, and released again elsewhere in the world. Currently, nearly 12 million books are traveling through 132 countries.
Read under a tree or in a tree or anywhere in nature that inspires you.
Stay up all night to finish a book.
Buy a copy of a book you appreciated and send it to a friend, just because. Do this often.
Whenever possible, buy your books from local brick and mortar bookstores. And get to know the people who work there, they’ll have excellent book suggestions. (But beware. I was thrilled to see a bookstore open not far from me. Although it quacks like a bookstore, it doesn’t act like one. It has lots of local authors and locally made bookish crafts with a token array of bestsellers, but it turns out the owner charges “partners” a non-refundable application fee of $75 to have their book or products sold there for a limited period of time. I cannot imagine what will happen to authors if such a model becomes commonplace.)
Eat what characters are eating in the book. Thick inviting sourdough bread while reading Sourdough by Robin Sloan, hot fish and corn muffins while reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, authentic bird’s nest soup while reading The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang, peanut butter bar cookies topped with chocolate while reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, nachos with cheese sauce while reading The Nix by Nathan Hill, a hearty sandwich of the sort served at The Bistro, in nearly any of Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache Series (sign up here to get a free download of Three Pines recipes).
Read in the tub. Or a pool. Or the ocean.
When you travel, read a book set in your destination. Heading to San Francisco? Try The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson by Brian Doyle. Off to a small town in Wisconsin? Read Jewelweed by David Rhodes. New York City? Try Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.
Shape snacks that look like books out of fruit leather, honey, and chocolate.
Cancel plans, then read.
Make altered books.
Connect with your favorite authors on social media. Link to them with a meaningful quote or the way their work changed your outlook. Want more suggestions for showing authors your love? Here are 17 ways.
Let what you read inspire your own work. As Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist says, “Read deeply. Stay open. Continue to wonder.”