8 steps on how to start reading (again)
On this period of time, through the pandemic, we found ourselves in a numb, shocking situation. Reading has always been a way of escaping but even that couldn’t create a safe space for my thinking. As a result, I have been neglecting my reading. I can think of a million reasons why that happened but the most crucial one is that I had to adjust to this new situation. My reading ritual used to include returning home from work but now all I do is being home. I had to find my balances. This got me thinking how I was when I started reading regularly at a younger age and what I did then to get back again on my reading now. How I discovered the magic in reading?
Below you will find 8 ways on how to start reading even if you are new to reading regularly or even if you pushed the pause button for a while.
1. Make your picks wisely
When you feel the need to start reading (again) make sure you choose books you would enjoy. Even if the theme of the book revolves around a crime, or a love story make sure you would pick something that you would like at first glance. Always a good way to make sure of your pick is to check on Goodreads for critiques. Regardless of other people’s opinion, yours is the one that matters the most. At the end of the day when you pick your own next read the chances are higher you are going to finish it.
2. Start small
It is tempting to start that huge novel you heard so much about but at first begin to read smaller books. It is a technique I use that gets me going. Also, I feel really accomplished once I finish them. I tend to read two books at the same time and guess what kind of books can take me months. The huge ones! I can read a big one for weeks and finish small ones in days.
3. Leave classics out
Even though I appreciate classics I tend to find them difficult to grasp their feeling after a book slump. I need the voice of an author more contemporary to me so that I can feel the sentiments of the characters and experience their lives like a human being. When I read a quite old novel I tend to think of the characters as something far away from me. Of course there are exceptions when the writing is exceptional but that theme is for another post.
4. Sense your needs
It is important to understand what you may need at the moment. Even though in normal circumstances I would love Dracula, I read it at the beginning of the whole lockdown situation and it took me 2 months. Reading about a person who was a hostage in a great castle while his host was sucking the life out of him wasn’t the best choice for me during a lockdown. I am wondering if I would have enjoyed it more during another period of time. Maybe I should have done the one on number five.
5. Quit the ones you don’t like
I find it hard to do this myself but you would spare so much time and storage of your brain if you could just quit the ones you do not enjoy. I have a compulsive urge to finish any book I read so that I can say “I didn’t like it” or “I loved it” afterwards with pride. I know I must stop doing this.
Life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy! And also the timing must be wrong which bring us to number 6.
6. Create the mood (and time)
Make your appointment with a book. Decide what time of the day works best for you and try to be consistent. I know that I tend to find the wrong time to read but then again no wrong time to read. You can have a book with you while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or while commuting to work. I have missed my stop several times when I read in the train. That happens if you have done number one and four correctly. The mood is also important because you need to create a safe spot, not always easy to create a safe space, on the couch or on the bed to begin your journey.
7. Consider joining a book club
I did it twice in my life and it was great. The one was before pandemic so we could get together and discuss the books and it was really nice. The other time was post pandemic and let’s say it was more loose because the whole team was all over the world. But in any case you could discuss with people that have read more books than you and you could discover some real gems. It can motivate you even if you are not an avid reader. You can find lots of groups online.
8. Always have them around
To be honest I just love to look at them. Also, if you have them close to you the chances are you can take a peek at any time. It gives you a sense of stability that it will be there even if you choose to read or even if you don’t. In any case just do what’s best for you and do not feel guilty if you left that book half way. Just hide that one, high up in a self.
We all need time to do things we enjoy. One page at a time.