I Read Over 100 Books a Year—Here Are the 14 Products That Help Me Do It

Hello, New Year’s resolution.

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UGG Clifton Backrest Pillow in Oatmeal Melange
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Real Simple / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

I’ve been running a book review blog since I was twelve, which is actually how I became a professional product reviewer in the first place; reading is an ingrained habit for me, a method of my identity, and I read over 100 books per year on average. The question I most often get, especially as we prepare to tackle New Year’s resolutions (and the perpetual desire to be less on our phones) is how to start. How do you build the habit of reading regularly, and how does it stick?

Whether you’re new to the concept of cracking open a paperback, or you love the feeling but have a hard time committing to actually doing it, there are some tips, tricks, and yes, products that can help you rediscover the sheer pleasure of a good book. Plus, it’s nearly winter—cozy, bundled up, I’ll-just-stay-in-bed season: the perfect time to try it out.

I’ve rounded up 14 products that will boost your habit, keep you comfy, and make you a bigger reader. Read on for my recommendations.

The 14 Best Products to Help You Build a Reading Habit:

  • Analog Timer: eTradewinds Digital Kitchen Timer, $15; amazon.com.
  • Reading Lamp: Light Accents Rechargeable Dimmable Floor Lamp, $60 (was $80); verishop.com.
  • Comfy Blanket: unHide Lil Marsh, $49; nordstrom.com.
  • Noise-Canceling Headphones: AirPods Pro, $199 (was $250); bestbuy.com.
  • Candle: Glasshouse Fragrances Heavy Petal Candle, $55; dermstore.com.
  • Bathtub Tray: Royal Craft Luxury Wood Bathtub Caddy, $30 (was $55); amazon.com.
  • Reading Suggestions: Fiction Prescriptions Card Deck, $20; uncommongoods.com.
  • E-Reader: Kindle Paperwhite 8GB, $110 (was $140); amazon.com.
  • Supportive Pillow: Ugg Clifton Backrest Pillow, $56; instacart.com.
  • Alarm Clock: Loftie Alarm Clock, $119 (was $149); byloftie.com.
  • Planner: 2023 Day Designer Planner, $19; target.com.
  • Double-Duty Bookshelf: Open Spaces Entryway Rack, $174; nordstrom.com.
  • Book Subscription: Book of the Month, $15/box; bookofthemonth.com.
  • Wild Card: The Light Phone, $300; huckberry.com.
Elegant Digital Kitchen Timer Stainless Steel - Silver

Amazon

eTradewinds Digital Kitchen Timer

The best way to start a habit? Start a timer. You can start with a goal of five minutes per day, or five pages, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you fall into the routine and find yourself five chapters in. This top-rated simple touch timer has a large display, kickstand, auto-off feature, and even lifetime warranty. (Oh, and don’t start the timer on your phone—rookie mistake.)

To buy: $15; amazon.com.

Light Accents

Verishop

Light Accents Rechargeable Dimmable Floor Lamp

The first rule of becoming a reader is to protect your vision. This 25-percent-off rechargeable, dimmable floor lamp will help you find the ideal level of brightness—and ideal temperature—for your reading preferences. 

To buy: $60 (was $80); verishop.com.

Lil' Marsh Traveller Plush Blanket UNHIDE

Nordstrom

unHide Lil Marsh

Of course, a cozy blanket is priority numero uno for having a delightful evening with a paperback. Bundle up and snuggle into this vegan faux fur blanket that’s buttery soft to the touch.

To buy: $49; nordstrom.com.

Apple - AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

Best Buy

AirPods Pro

I’m one of a family of six, so I’m used to a high-decibel level of noise and distraction in my household—which, of course, makes it difficult to settle into a story when I’m trying to relax. Scrolling through my phone just seems easier amidst the chaos. Buying a pair of noise-canceling headphones? An absolute game-changer, and one of my best purchases for cost-per-use. If you can’t focus with lyrical music on, put on some light classical or white noise soundscapes instead. And yes, audiobooks count as building a reading habit, so queue up a book on tape using these bad boys.

To buy: $199 (was $250); bestbuy.com.

Glasshouse Fragrances Humidor Collection Heavy Petal LE Candle 380g

Dermstore

Glasshouse Fragrances Heavy Petal Candle

For me, candles help me shift into different phases throughout my day because the scents can cue my various states of mind. Plus, they’re relaxing. I have my workday candle that I light while writing, an evening candle that I use for winding down, and I could use a third scent to classically condition myself to pick up a new habit like reading more. Candle, book, activity. This rich scent, with smoked tulips and sandalwood, is a darkly spiced and delicious candle that would align nicely with a new addition to an evening routine.

To buy: $55; dermstore.com.

Fiction Prescriptions Card Deck

Uncommon Goods

Fiction Prescriptions Card Deck

The most crucial aspect of creating a New Year’s resolution to read more? The book recommendations, which is why I’ve spent most of my life making them for other people. But if you’re not going to come to me for your next page-turner, this quirky, charming card deck comes packed with 80 book recommendations, divided into helpful categories like coming-of-age, parenting and family, health, and more.

To buy: $20; uncommongoods.com.

ROYAL CRAFT WOOD Luxury Bathtub Tray Caddy - Bamboo Adjustable Bath Tub Table Caddy for Bathroom

Amazon

Royal Craft Luxury Wood Bathtub Caddy

One of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures has got to be sinking into a warm, bubbly bathtub. Adding in a glass of wine and some aromatic bath salts? Heaven. If you’re trying to build a reading habit and already use your bathing ritual as a wind-down, this could be a good opportunity to spend an extra ten minutes per day—or make an every-so-often occasion out of—spending time with a good book. This bathtub caddy priced at 45 percent off will keep you from dropping your book into the tub (I’ve been there) and can hold your rosé to boot.

To buy: $30 (was $55); amazon.com.

Kindle Paperwhite (8 GB) – Now with a 6.8" display and adjustable warm light

Amazon

Kindle Paperwhite 8GB

This 21-percent-off Kindle is a lightweight way to keep your entire library with you on the go, making it easier to keep the habit going. I’ve noticed that I can rip through books simply by reading in scraps of time we normally waste: grocery lines, taxis, and while everyone else is tapping through Instagram. This e-reader device is even lighter than most paperbacks and the battery lasts for days at a time. This version is even waterproof, so you can read it with or without the bath caddy. Oh, and a life hack for you: the Kindle is compatible with ebooks you can check out from your local library, so I’ve kept my reading pipeline full with (free) library holds and bestsellers that take only seconds to download.

To buy: $110 (was $140); amazon.com.

UGG® Clifton Backrest Pillow in Oatmeal Melange

Bed Bath and Beyond

Ugg Clifton Backrest Pillow

While I love to lose myself in a good book for several hours at a time, it does wreak havoc on your posture after a while, which may be prohibitive. This beloved slipper brand expanded beyond its shearling puff boots to create this fluffy backrest pillow that will keep your back supported throughout your literary adventures.

To buy: $56; instacart.com.

Loftie Clock

Loftie

Loftie Alarm Clock

One of the easiest times for people to create a reading habit is to lull themselves to sleep, right before bed. An added benefit is that weaning our eyes from the blue light of our phones increases our sleep duration and quality, so reading can make you feel physically healthier too. Instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, try charging it outside the bedroom and switching to a smart alarm clock instead; loaded with soundscapes and meditations, the Loftie is a deluxe machine that allows you to protect your reading window and create the consistency that builds a routine.

To buy: $119 (was $149); byloftie.com.

2023 Planner Weekly/Monthly 8.5"x11" Twilight Floral

Target

2023 Day Designer Planner

One of the most enduring ways to create a habit is to record it. Plus, it’s nearly 2023; of course, it’s the exact time to purchase a planner, whether to hold all your tasks or to track one specific goal. I’ve used the Day Designer version several times and this 8.5 x 11 size is super convenient.

To buy: $19; target.com.

Entryway Rack OPEN SPACES

Nordstrom

Open Spaces Entryway Rack

This gorgeous piece of furniture is technically an entryway rack, but you can style it with your newest bookstore haul without feeling pressured to fill an entire bookshelf. It’s steel, multi-use, and three-tiered—and comes in multiple striking colorways.

To buy: $174; nordstrom.com.

Book of the Month

Book of the Month

Book of the Month Subscription

My family loves the Book of the Month subscription, a service first established in 1926 and largely credited for launching the careers of famous figures in literature like Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger. The service hand-picks five titles for you to choose from each month so you can spend more time reading and less time researching. Plus, each month’s credit is only $15, less than the price of a paperback, and its hardcover editions come stamped with a high-quality Book of the Month decal. Don’t love the month’s picks? Roll over your credit or pick from its extensive library of previous titles and add-ons.

To buy: $15; bookofthemonth.com.

Light Phone II Distraction-Free Cell Phone

Huckberry

The Light Phone II

If your habit still has trouble sticking and you dread your weekly screen time alert, it may be worth considering if most of your time is going to your phone instead of your goals. While many may balk at the terror of forking over their smartphones in favor of a simpler device, the Light Phone is an intriguing “dumb phone” option that actually seems reasonable in a modern world reliant on features like mobile hotspots and calculators. It has everything you need (phone, texting, music, alarms, and more) and nothing that you don’t; it even uses an electronic paper screen so you don’t suffer from blue light exposure. More reading time for us, thanks!

To buy: $300; huckberry.com.

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