Tips – for people who want to make reading a habit OR want to restart, this article works as a game-changer.
As a kid, I was fond of reading. I would get so involved; that sometimes I forgot to eat & sleep. Immediately after post-grad, I started working, reading then took the back-burner.
A decade back, I felt I should uncover my once-upon-a-time treasure (books!). I heard from a working forum about a club – a diverse set of individuals who met every Sunday morning to discuss books. It was close to my residence, so I decided to give it a try, attended few sessions regularly. Realised that if I want to continue, I must start reading. The members would expect me to share views on any recently-read book.
And that’s how my reading journey restarted.
I am a phase reader (you read that right!), not a face reader, someone who reads in phases. There are spells I am lost in reading, I am excited, can’t think beyond it, and then there are intervals I look at the books on my side-table/book-shelf but don’t pick them up. However, finally, I do get around it.
I can pause but should never have to restart – that’s a promise I made to myself and kept till now.
Here are tips from my journey – for people who want to make reading a habit OR want to restart.
1. Start with something easy
How about short stories, poems, and slim books to begin with? Slowly you will get into the habit of reading. It’s important to begin and then move on to novels and more complex subjects. I personally like Sudha Murthy’s writing style; it’s a great starter for kids and adults alike.
2. Find your favourite genre/author
My favourite genre has always been mystery. When I got back to reading, I started my own Agatha Christie collection, ending up reading a few I’d not read earlier. Find what you enjoy, then advance to other genres.
3. Expand your reading repertoire
Choosing 1-2 genres will limit your joy; expand your reading horizon. I am sure, you’ll be surprised with the talent and stories out there.
I discovered classics, non-fiction, even history when I did my Masters (English) in my 40’s. I’d read those genres earlier but now openly embrace the variety in terms of subjects/authors. I haven’t tried travelogues yet; one lifetime seems less for the amount of reading one can do!
4. Surround yourself with books
If you don’t have a bunch of books already, start a compilation; at least write down the books you intend to read/buy. If you don’t want to spend, reach out to your network to check if they have what you’re interested in.
I always maintain an online watchlist. My dad/uncle are avid readers; they had few books that were on my list; I got hold of them and started reading! I know of people with a shelf full of books but never touch them. Look out for such people; check if they’ll let you borrow! If you’re comfortable with e-books, do invest, they are more economical, you get a wider range and they are easily accessible.
5. Make reading a part of your routine
Just like eating, sleeping, and exercising, set a time for reading that works best for you.
I read whenever possible, but mostly when I am getting ready to sleep. An engaging book may keep you awake; decide on a place to stop and pick it from there later.
If you’re serious about instilling the practice, eventually, it will become a part of your life.
6. Sustain it by doing related activities
So, you’ve made a routine, but you are finding it difficult to stick to it. Don’t worry; if you’re stuck in a non-reading zone, it happens. The problem is when you cannot step out of that zone.
I can’t read continuously, so I pair activities that will finally land me with a book, e.g., reading a newspaper or even writing. Reading daily news is something I can never let go of, so I am always in touch with some form of reading. Attempting to read the original story of a movie you enjoyed is another option. Genuine efforts will get you back on track.
7. Share your passion with others
If reading has been your hobby, you may already have a network to connect with about books. If you’re just starting, build one, involve others in your pursuit. Such conversations can be relaxing, enriching and ultimately motivate you to progress on your reading level.
A book club helped me then; now, I share this passion with my daughter. She’s an avid reader and inspires me to persist. Besides, I need to walk the talk, so she doesn’t lose interest.
Reading brings boundless joy; when you’re immersed in the world of books, nothing else matters!
Go on, hit your start/restart reading button now!
Keep reading, multiply the love, spread the happiness, that’s what I did, after re-discovering my reading-love!