Reading is not difficult. What is difficult, however, is choosing to reach for your book as opposed to your smartphone or TV remote, and to avoid those distractions while you are reading. If that sounds all too familiar to you, these tips may well help…
April 23 is the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, an annual event in which celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the magical power of books. It’s a great opportunity to grab a book yourself, make a cup of tea or coffee, and lose yourself in a good story. Yet many people find this difficult, especially if they don’t see themselves as a ‘reader’. “Where do I start?” is a frequently asked question.
And the only answer to that is: Wherever you want. Just as with movies, not everyone likes the same thing; reading is also very subjective. The most important thing is to find a book that you like the sound of, and then the reading part comes easily. But there are a number of things you can do to make reading a new habit for you.
Try a new genre
Sometimes you get bored of the books you have, and the motivation to read disappears completely. In this instance, it sometimes helps to challenge yourself and try to read something that you wouldn’t normally pick up. A thriller from your father or brother, an interesting self-help book or a fascinating biography, for example. Who knows—you might just discover a whole new genre that you did not know you liked.
View book lists
There are countless book lists for different genres, topics and more. Do you like plot twists? Then Google ‘books with a plot twist’ and loads of recommendations will pop up. Or try ‘books that everyone should read’ and, again, you’ll find plenty of choices. On Goodreads, users can create their own lists and add books by subject. Books about racism, the best memoirs, books written by women… Whatever you can think of, there’s sure to be a list for it.
Go to the library
If you want to start reading, but don’t know where to start, the library is a great place to go. After all, it would be a real shame if you were to buy books that, once you start reading them, you realize they aren’t quite your thing. The beauty of the library is that you can simply bring them back. And try something else.
Try a new format
Maybe reading a paper book is not for you; perhaps you’ll find an e-reader much nicer. Or even listening to an audio book? Lots of people like it when the story is ‘told’ to them. Furthermore, you can also dive into your story while in the car or doing your household chores.
Find a book club
Reading is extra fun when you can talk about it with others. What did they think of such-and-such event? Which character was their favorite? When you can talk to someone else about the books you have read, you learn to understand and view the stories in a different way and from a different perspective. Ask your local library or bookstore about existing book clubs, start one yourself, or join/follow an online book club.
Set a reading target
People perform better with a deadline. Be careful, though, that reading doesn’t become something you ‘must’ do, as you may well lose the pleasure in it. But setting a reading goal could be a good way to motivate yourself. You can do this any way you like. Perhaps by reading ten pages every day? Or would setting yourself a certain number of books per month or year work better for you? There are also apps and websites where you can set and track goals, like Goodreads.
Set a timer
In a similar league as the above-mentioned reading target, setting a timer can help against distractions. When you know that you can have a break in half an hour (and look at your smartphone then), you’ll find that you don’t get distracted so easily while reading.
Take your book everywhere you go
Getting through a book faster is done best when you can reach for it during any free moment you have in your day. In the dentist’s waiting room, on the train, in that nice coffee bar: these are moments when you usually grab your phone and scroll through all sorts of other things.
Photography Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash.com