“The more that you read, the more things that you’ll know
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss
Some people would happily spend their lives in a library while others balk at the thought of spending their time with books. The fact, however, remains that reading is an important and effective tool for self-development. It makes you a more interesting person and equips you to take part in intellectual conversations. So how do you get yourself to read more? Well, the fact that you want to is half the battle won! Here are some tips that will help you cultivate an interest in reading.
Start small: If you haven’t been much of a reader before, it helps to start with short, simple reads because literary heavyweights will likely intimidate you and put you off the whole exercise. Don’t be shy to try out children’s books if that is what will set your ball rolling. It is never too late to immerse yourself in the fascinating worlds created by Enid Blyton or Rudyard Kipling. Short stories, on the other hand, are a good choice if you are looking to build your attention span.
Choose a genre that you like: You are more likely to finish a book if the subject aligns with your passions. What is it that you like – crime, history, horror, romance, vampires? Choose a book that piques your interest, be it fiction or non-fiction. The kind of movies you like to watch can be a good indicator of your preferred genres.
Watch a movie adaption of a famous book: You don’t have to feel left out the next time your book-loving friends talk about Memoirs of a Geisha. Reading a book becomes considerably easier if you have already watched the movie. You will quickly latch on to the plot and connect with the characters if you have already seen them on screen. Book and movie versions often make for an interesting comparison, which can lead to a lively debate between friends.
Join a book club: Joining a book club is a superb way to get introduced to some worthy books and discuss the nuances of storytelling. Book club members usually pick a book to read each week and share what they liked/disliked about the book. Not only will you be pushed to read a book every week, you might also come across some great friends!
Read a little everyday: Seasoned readers might be able to finish a 500-page novel in a day but you don’t have to. At least not right away. Read a little every day (even it is just a page) and scale up gradually. You will find your attention span growing and soon you will join the league of bookworms you have been envying for so long.
Get cozy: Reading becomes a lot more fun when you brew yourself a hot cup of coffee and cozy up on the couch with a blanket. Make your reading time as pleasurable as you can. Keep some treats on the side and sit outdoors if the weather is pleasant.
Keep away from distractions: If you are a new reader, it helps to choose a quiet spot with minimal interruptions. Leave your laptop and phone in the other room as these can constantly distract you from your reading goals.
Always keep a book handy: One of the most effective ways of getting yourself to read is to always keep a book on your person. Whether you are travelling to work or waiting for an appointment, you can always whip it out and read a few pages. This isn’t as cumbersome as it sounds – with the advent of e-books, you can store hundreds of books on your smartphone and carry them everywhere you go!
Take up a course: If you have the time and inclination, why not take up a short course in literature or literary criticism? That would usually involve reading several books as part of the coursework and by the time you are through with it, you will find yourself quite conversant in everything ‘literature’. What a grand way to impress your friends!
Read aloud: If you are a parent, reading bed time stories aloud to your kids can be a good way to exercise your “reading muscles” and set a positive example for your children. As your children grow older, you can have book-centric conversations with them and exchange notes.
Make a bucket list of books: Set tangible goals by making a list of books you want to finish reading this year. This can be as few as five or as many as hundred – just make sure you decide on a realistic number. You can ask your friends and family for recommendations or scour websites like Goodreads which is a treasure trove for book lovers.
Attend author events: If you have a large bookstore in your city, there’s a good chance that it hosts events like book launches and signings on a regular basis. Sign up for invites and don’t miss the chance to meet up with authors. Hearing them speak passionately about their books and the inspiration behind them might just motivate you to buy some of them. And there are few things as precious to a book lover as an author signed copy of a book.
Give audio books a chance: Sure they don’t beat the charm of a real book but audio books still count as “reading” because they impart knowledge and boost your vocabulary. They are a good way to step into the wondrous world of storytelling and, before long, you will find yourself devouring voluminous paperbacks all by yourself.
Visit bookstores often: Whenever you go to the market, do stop by at the bookstore. You need not make a purchase – just browse through the shelves, pick up books, smell the freshly printed pages and admire the cover art. Being around books will make you love them even more and encourage you to read.