We have published an article about how to read more books. Now this post is for those who used to read in past and now stopped it for some reasons. Recently a friend asked how he could start reading habit. When I asked him what kinds of books he liked to read, his answer surprised me that he couldn’t remember the last time he had read an entire book but he read a lot of news and stuffs online. Another friend admitted her own difficulties with reading as much as she used to, especially fiction. According to her there is enough drama going on around the world, so she didn’t feel to read fictionalized drama.
There was one who said he ‘prefer to experience real life rather than reading about it in books.’ As for this kind of people who think their lives are more interesting and so diverse to give them all the wisdom and emotional skills to direct them through our increasingly complex societies, then I cannot shatter their sweet illusion. So here I want to address those who really want to read but somehow they can’t.
There is a difference in reading online news and articles and reading a book. I mean the long-form (books or novels) and shorter pieces (online news and articles). Our cognitive processes are such that we read quicker and with less comprehension and retention when scrolling through short online articles, blogs, and news and clicking on link after link. Though I also read a lot online (news, book reviews, author interviews, etc.), books remains my primary source of knowledge and thoughts. Reading is not only about improving quality of our lives but also the quality of the attention we pay to the things and people in our daily lives. It changes our ways of engaging with the people and being in the world.
Here I’m suggesting some approaches to rekindle and cultivate the habit of reading. It’s better to find a way for a regular reading practice organically rather than forcing yourself to read.
Move to Books from Online Articles
If you enjoy reading online about some specific topics, look for the best books published on those topics online or at your local library or bookstore. Don’t forget to check the writer’s name of that article you liked reading online as they might have books published too. You will get a deeper and more considered dive into those topics in book-length works. Also ask booksellers and librarian about the book on that topic you liked as they truly enjoy engaging with readers and recommend specific kinds of books. If you’re living where there is no library or a bookstore nearby, you can join online library and download books on an electronic device.
Move to Books from Movies
If you enjoy movies, look for those adapted from a book and then read that book. If possible (I insist) don’t watch movie before you read the book. By a little search in Google, You can find the movies based on books which are already released or will release in near future. Once you are done with that book, try to watch movie adaptation, and you’ll realize what you were missing while watching only movie and not reading book.
Read Literature on Travelling
If travelling is your thing, look for books written about or around the next place you are planning to visit. Read those books before, during, and after your trip. It will make the whole travelling experience richer and more satisfying. Often, travel books are about going down the beaten path and it not only enlighten but also encourage us to wander the unknown places.
Read Short Stories
If book-length fiction is frightening you, then pick a short story book. You can usually finish them in a single sitting but they can stimulate your appetite for longer book-length fiction works. There are so many wonderful short stories available online. These short stories can leverage your regular reading habit.
Read with friends
If you can’t read alone or need company while reading, Join or start a book club. I personally prefer reading alone but I enjoy those odd book discussions with readers in Book clubs. If you can’t find book club nearby you, you can find it online. I love to discuss the books online with the readers from across the world. It fascinates me how differently we all interpret the same book and I always learn something new. Another way is find a friend who likes to read, and ask him (or make him) to read the same book you want to read or read the same book he is reading and then discuss chapter by chapter. This will make you understand and enjoy the book at another level.
Buy an e-Reader
If you are strapped for time, invest in an e-reader or a good audiobook membership. Then you can read while waiting in the grocery checkout line, during daily commutes, or while doing daily chores. You will be amazed to know that you have this much time for reading which was wasted. So recuperate some of this time and use it in reading.
Start a Journal
Begin to write a books journal daily where you write about whatever you’ve read that day. This will help you to form your thoughts and reflections on the topics and themes you’ve read about, which is the whole point of reading after all. Write in a private journal or in an online blog, whichever suits you.
Set Reading Goals
If goal achievements and quantified self-hood drives you, then sign up on a website like Goodreads or LibraryThing to log every book you read by date, you can also add rating based on how much liked that book. I use one of these sites to keep track of my personal library and to read list. Set daily goals for reading. Achieving these goals will encourage you to set bigger reading goals and achieve them.
Listen to Book Podcasts
Listen to some good book related podcasts, where they invite authors and discuss their books. I have, many times, bought a certain book after hearing its writer speak about it. There are many podcasts you can choose from. For short stories I like The New Yorker Fiction, The New Yorker Writer’s Voice and NPR’s Selected Shorts. And for authors’ interviews, I prefer BBC World Book Club, CBC’s Writers and Company, BBC Radio 4 Bookclub and The Guardian Books.
Attend the Literary events or Festivals
If there are any book related literary festivals near you, try to go there at least once a year. Every year we have a book fair and literature festival for a week, I never missed this event. I can’t go there for whole week but I find time on weekend. Celebrating books with other readers is an exceptional delight.
Mix up your reading list with different genres and topics. There are many book recommendation websites out there and ours is one of them. Subscribe us for getting regular book recommendation and get yourself a book interests you most. You can read one book at a time or can pick multiple books from different genres and read few pages or chapters from each book every day. Do not try to keep reading the book you have lost interest in. It will kill your enthusiasm and passion for reading. There are so many books out there on every imaginable topics and themes, so drop that book and pick another one.
Reading book is a personal investment that will pay off in long run. The Best books go beyond the education, entertainment, and altering perspectives. It helps us to develop and strengthen our cognitive and emotional muscles to deal better with whatever comes on our way.