“Reading is to mind what exercise to the body.”
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. It gives you endless possibilities of experiencing so many different things, traveling in your imagination, getting to know numerous cultures and people etc. It’s like living a thousand interesting lives instead of one. It’s like watching a movie in your head, where you’re the casting director, you’re in charge of everything, and it’s really amazing.
Many people though have difficulties in reading regularly. Somehow even if they enjoy it, they can’t concentrate on the book. I’ve heard and seen the question “how to start reading books?” so much, and I never knew how to properly answer them. To me, the answer was kinda obvious, you just sit and read, and that’s literally it.
However, throughout time, I’ve gathered a few tips or just general thoughts, that can make the reading process a real pleasure, rather than a mandatory activity. It may be a little hard at first, because making new habits (especially good ones) always causes some difficulties in the beginning. But once you fully enhance it, it will become a normal part of your routine. So, without further ado, let’s start with the tips.
1. Choosing the right book. This one may sound strange and kind of cheesy, but I think it’s the most important point among the list. The problem of people who can’t enjoy reading is mostly because they’re choosing the wrong book. Some people choose a book from the classics, you know that long list of “books you have to read in order to be considerate clever or literate“. Or maybe it’s a nowadays’ bestseller, a hit, and people read it to be seem cool and trendy. Or a recommendation from a friend or colleague, doesn’t really matter. They pick a book with a topic that doesn’t truly interest them, and then wonder why they can’t finish it. So, put all the bookish prejudices aside, and choose what genre you like, whether it’s a romance, a fantasy or horror, even if it’s not famous or trendy at all. You can also start with reading the book that was adapted into your favorite movie. Or maybe reading fiction isn’t really your thing, and you’ll be much more interested in non-fiction.
2. Setting a limit. Whenever you have some free time, and are ready to read, set yourself a limit. It can be either via pages or chapters. For example, if the chapters are long, then at least 1-2 chapters per sitting, if the chapters are short, then 3-5. Easier with pages, choose how many pages you want to read a day, and make sure to finish them. You’ll notice how much faster you’ll start reading the books. And this limit will become a usual thing for you after a short while.
3. Joining a library or a book-club. When you own the book yourself, you can read it for weeks and even months. But when you take a book from a library, you have to finish it before the deadline, which is usually 10-14 days or sometimes maybe a month. This will give you great motivation to finish the book in time and even earlier. If you join a book-club, you’ll meet many other bookworms who can become a great portion of inspiration. And just like with libraries, you’d have to finish one book in a certain period of time in order to be able to discuss it. Plus you can make new friends.
4. Bedtime Reading. I’ve already talked about this, but it’s the best hack for reading. You may not have a proper time throughout the day, but you’ll definitely have some free time before sleeping. And it doesn’t have to be hours of reading. Once I did my own little experiment, and by reading 20 minutes before sleep, I finished one book of 500+ pages in approximately 7-9 days (don’t remember now the precise number). If you have time to read during the day, and you want to read much more, you can pick two books-one for the day, one for the night. I do this when I want to start sth new, but also want to reread an old favorite of mine.
5. Skipping the unnecessary. I reckon all other bookworms will kill me for this, but it’s a hack that really helped me, especially with getting over with a bad book. If you for some reason don’t like the book you’re currently reading, but still want to finish it, or maybe some parts of it are too boring and not interesting for you, don’t feel guilty about skipping them. If you’re not reading for your exams or job or anything important, if you’re reading for pleasure, then why can’t you skip those parts that you don’t want to read? There are many great books, that have prolonged and quite boring descriptions, or books that tell the plot in some chapters, and tell the unnecessary (meaning not connected to the plot) history of a character or country in others. Or the ones that tell the story from different points of views. I’ve heard many people wanting to read these type of books but not having enough nerves. So skipping the “bad” parts is a life changer.
6. Setting an example. This one is mostly for parents, who want to make their kids read a lot. You can’t really force someone into doing sth they don’t want to do. However, you can set a good example. There are lots of studies, telling that when children see their parents reading for pleasure, they also copy that behavior. They grow up knowing that it’s a normal and good thing to do. And of course when parents read books for their children. They like the various interesting stories, they get very curious about what’s going to happen in the next chapter. And once they grow up enough to be able to read by themselves, they start doing that.
These are all the little tips that I got. And another important advice that I have, is putting your phone away while you’re reading. I’ve mentioned this a lot, how it causes great distraction, and even when you enjoy the book you’re reading and want to know what’ll happen next, you will still be tempted to look at a new notification, or check something you forgot earlier.
Other than this, don’t consider reading books an obligation. If you don’t want to read, then simply don’t, there’s nothing shameful or wrong about that. My post was for those, who want to start reading but somehow can’t. And my main advice still would be-just get some time, sit and read, and do it for your fun, not for being considered as smart or literate or anything. It’s your leisure time, you should decide for yourself what will make your soul happy.