For the longest time I know, I used to be fascinated with books. It started when I was around 7 – 8 years old. The pass me down Enid Blyton’s were my first windows to the world of reading. And by the time I had realised it, I had left behind a huge library at my mom’s home, only to start collecting more after I got married. While I settled with a Greg Iles, the better half would be wading through the tome called Lord of the Rings. All was good. Between us we had a good 2000 books and then just like that, quite suddenly, reading became a task. The habit of reading became such a chore that I just kept those books away in trunks never to open them again for a good few years.
I am assuming that one of the reasons I completely gave up reading was because I was busy being a parent. Yes, I know I a m looking for escapism, but sometimes life happens and you get side tracked. But that does not mean you cannot start all over again. And just like me, if you’ve given up reading, let me assure you that there is hope for people like us! Here are some ways to get back to your reading habit again.
It’s been a crazy journey so far with my binging on book buying, just to stash them away! But, what the heck, I can always look at ways to get back to reading again than making space in the trunks for them!
10 WAYS TO GET BACK TO YOUR READING HABIT
Here are 10 ways to get back to your reading habit and reclaim your mojo. These easy ways will surely help you start slowly without causing any overwhelm. You can start at your own pace, but research has shown that when you follow this consistently, is when you will form a habit.
Start slow. Allot at least 3-4 reading intervals in a day where you devote time for reading Start with at least 7 – 10 minutes and slowly increase the duration in a day. These are sacrosanct timings where you will read, no matter what. Life will happen. But you need to set aside this time completely for books. While most people recommend eating during meal times, I like to focus and enjoy the meal instead. But if that rocks your boat, but do follow it. A few pages in the morning, some at mid-noon, a couple in the evening and add a f ew before you sleep. You have 4 scheduled slots for your reading!
Always Carry A Book
Because you never know when you get the time! Back in college, it used to take me an hour to commute one way. My bag always had a book or two! Reading a book waiting for the bus. Or when seated in the bus. Reading a book between the classes. Get the drift? I used to love reading so much that I would just grab the first chance I got to read. Sometimes I just head to a café and read a book between coffees.
The To-Go Box Method
When researching for this topic, I came across a very interesting method called the To-Go Method. Yes, I research a lot of my articles! It gives me the scope to present perspectives that were unknown to me or something that I learnt. The concept is something like this. As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask for half the portion to packed or added to the to-go home box. Common in dieting, its a way of controlling the portions that your eat. Now apply the same to reading. Let’s say you binge on Netflix every day. So if you spent 2 hours on Netflix a day, cut it into half and give the rest of the time to reading. So what the method actually asks you to do is watch probably one episode and move to reading for the same time.
If you like something in the book, make a note of the same by using a post it or a sticky marker. It helps you to revisit the post when you to look over something important that you may like to re-visit or read again. This is important is self-help books or just marking something that resonated with you. This way you will also read portions in a book yet again. Whether I read from a physical book or a kindle, I always mark information out. Else, make notes of it in your book. Now if you are a writer, this is particularly important because you never know where inspiration comes from!
Make Your Reading Nook(s)
If you like particular places in and about or outside your home that gets you feel all doozy, go for it! Like for me, it’s comfortably seated in my couch in the living room or my study with the leg propped up against a stool. Better still, heading to my favorite café and enjoying the cool breeze outside, drinking more than that allocated quota of my coffee and catching up on my reading. Any place that makes you feel happy should be in the list.
Add Some Variety
If you are one of those who gets bored following a story line, juggle between 2 books if you can and if you are the ambitious sort, add some more. I can never juggle between books, honestly, but this particular option came up in various articles I read. I’d be able to do this if I was reading a non-fiction or rather more of a self-help or feel-good books. I can’t switch if I am reading fiction because I’ll just end up confusing myself. People have strong opinions about whether it’s good to be reading multiple books at once. But if you can juggle, between books, do that to break the monotony.
Overwhelmed By Books? Give Them Away
At one point of time we had so many books that just the thought of cleaning the house would make me feel jittery. But I also learned that if something overwhelms me, I need to let it go. So I do take to donating my books to a local library or give it to a friend who is particularly interested in the book without having to worry about how much space it will take up in my home. I have this picture in my head about how a reading nook should be. I am just worried that if I create it, I might just stop working! But yes, once or twice a year, we make that trip to donate the physical books we have. Some books are special. Like the ones that have been signed off by the author or we have picked during a travel. Those books stay. I try to pick up Kindle copies to reduce the clutter as much as I can, but sometimes holding a physical book can be comforting.
Read Interesting Books
I cannot point to interesting books here. What rocks my boat may not necessarily be elixir for you. You really have no one to prove to with your book choices. Every single literary genre is different. As much as I love writing Women Writing in English while pursuing my Masters, I loved reading Indian Writing in English too. It was a different world of books altogether. The key here is to find books that really grip you and keep you going. You don’t have pick literary masterpieces. Pick up books that make you want to read — and that’s the goal here, right? Ways to get back to your reading habit. Make that a priority and choose things that are breezy. Keep the serious stuff for days you want to read heavy stuff and are comfortable with reading.
Enjoy The Reading Experience
You will enjoy reading only when you make the reading time your favorite time of day. Brew some tea or coffee while you read. Set up your reading space. For some reason, I like to have the diffuser wafting an aroma or light a candle and make myself comfortable as I settle down to read a book. In a way its not just comforting, but also relaxing. I came across an interesting study that says reading at sunrise and sunset helps to absorb the reading. Treat yourself when you read the book, even if it is as simple as getting into a comfortable chair with a good blanket.
Cultivate a Board of Recommended Reading
I do indulge in this. In the pre-pandemic era, my friend and I would exchange our books through our boys. Slipping one for each other and telling the boys,” Give to X, Y, Z in your free class.” It’s been a good year and a half since we exchanged books, but we do share recommendations. Like a friend recommended The Midnight Library by Matt Haig a few months ago with so much passion that I left all that I was reading and wrapped that book in a matter of 3 days. The key here is to connect with those who know what you would like to read and what your genre is so that they can recommend books to you. And do share your likes too. You never know when you will discover a good book.
These were some ways to get back to your reading habit. You don’t have to start with all of them at once. Pick up the one that resonates with you. If you have tried and tested tips on ways to get back to your reading habit that have not been listed here, please share them with me in the comments box. I would love to read what works for you. And bonus points if you leave a comment suggesting what I can read. And a virtual high five, if you suggest an Indian author.
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