How to start reading more?

One of the questions I often get asked by my friends is how am I able to read two or sometimes three books a week especially since I work full time as a Software Engineer and also engage in a number of other activities. So in this article, I want to talk about how you can also develop the habit of reading and enjoy the great world of books out there.

Why should you read more?

Before I tell you how can you read more, I feel it’s important that I tell you that why should you read more. We can agree that books contain some of the most profound and in-depth insights ever recorded. And if you are not reading that much you are probably missing out on these. There are a number of other reasons why reading is a great habit to develop such as, it enhances one’s vocabulary, imagination, and understanding. I believe there are a few reasons why people are not able to commit to reading. Let’s see what are those.

What NOT to do to develop the habit of reading?

  • In my opinion, the biggest mistake people make is that they consider reading as “work”. More often than not we think we have to read something just because everyone else around us is reading that. When we start reading with that mindset we don’t enjoy the process. I would rather read a book about a wizard going to a mystical land with talking trees and falling in love with another attractive wizard with supernatural powers than a book on human anatomy. Simply because I will enjoy reading that. I will not read a book if it doesn’t appeal to me. What is most important to understand is that people’s choices differ and what may be interesting for your friend may not be interesting for you.
  • This brings me to the second thing which you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t get demoralized and give up reading altogether if the first book you picked up wasn’t able to hold your interest. I read this book recently, “On Writing Well” by William Zienser and in that book, he mentions that it is up to the writer to write in such a way that keeps the reader glued to the book. So if I open a book and don’t enjoy reading it, I close the book and move on to the next one.
  • And finally, another problem why a lot of us are not able to commit to the habit of reading is that we give up reading a book midway. Just think about the number of times it has happened to you that you were reading a book that you liked, and then you got so caught up in other activities that you stopped reading and now it’s just another book in your unfinished list. This I believe is the easiest obstacle to get over from.
With this, now let’s talk about some tips which you can follow to start reading more books.

What steps can you follow to read more?

1. Listen to audiobooks

If you love that book but just can’t find the time to sit, concentrate and complete it, audiobooks are the way to go rather than leaving the book unfinished. You can listen to these audiobooks while you are doing other activities like cooking or taking your evening stroll or doing laundry. Moreover, audiobooks set the pace for you like TV in the sense that a person is reading you a story. Audiobooks are a great way to start a book as well if you find it hard to sit and read.

2. Move on to the next one

Back in the day, I used to treat books as these sacred objects which once picked must be read till the last page. So if I picked a book that was not of my interest I would struggle to complete it for months. When you start a book and you feel after a couple of pages or a couple of chapters that this book doesn’t interest you. Then close that book and move on to some other book. There is absolutely no shame in moving on if the book is not able to keep you interested. While I encourage you to not give up reading a book that you love, I totally support the idea of moving on to a new book if it does not appeal to you. So stay motivated and get a new book.

3. Read what you enjoy reading

The only way you are going to enjoy reading is when you read what you enjoy. I started out by reading a lot of Agatha Christie’s novels. Every book doesn’t need to give a lesson to change your life dramatically. Some books you read for lessons and some you read just for the story. You have to start reading a book first and foremost for the pleasure of reading. So you don’t necessarily have to read everything someone else is reading. Because is very possible that your interests are different from that person and you may not enjoy reading what they are reading.

4. Start Small

When you are just starting out it’s important to pick up books with fewer pages than lengthy classics. You don’t want to get intimated by the sheer size of the book. Additionally, in the beginning, it is a good idea to set a small number in terms of pages that you want to read every day. You don’t want to set some unrealistic goal like 100 pages a day and get demotivated when you are not able to meet that goal. So start with reading a few pages of a small book of your favorite genre and then eventually you can go up to reading a book in just a couple of days.

5. Make what you have read a part of your coffee-table discussions

I personally find this a big driving factor for me to read more and more books. When you read a book you are enriched with so much knowledge and it so fun sharing it with your family or friends. Additionally, when you share your point of view you also get to learn about the other person’s opinions and understandings. This in turn enhances and broadens your horizons.

6. Stay away from distractions

Try to keep yourself away from distractions for the 15 mins or half an hour you have dedicated to reading in your daily routine. Turn off the internet, get off Instagram, and give your undivided attention to the book in your hand. So these were my tips on how you can read more. I hope you found that useful. I will see you in the next one.
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