This post is dedicated specially to all the people in my life who have patiently heard me ramble about books but don’t share in the joy. It is an introduction to the exciting and vast world of literature for those who would like to get into reading. In my experience, many people don’t read because of reasons like time constraints or that they’ve fallen out of touch with current releases or that they’ve read books that haven’t appealed to them, but like the idea of developing a reading habit. If you happen to belong to that category of people, I hope that you find this helpful.
Note: This post is not sponsored by Goodreads.
Step 1: Make a commitment
This is the first step in cultivating any habit and the hardest step for sure. Talking about reading is well and good, but actually sitting down to do it may feel daunting for beginners or those coming out of a long spell of no reading activity. The key to this, according to me, is to set a very reasonable goal (such as one book in a month) and dedicate a little time for purely reading (like 30 minutes before bed). I would encourage you to hold yourself accountable by either announcing this on social media or asking a loved one to keep track of your progress or using online tools (try Goodreads) to help you stay on track.
Step 2: Identify the right genre
As an avid reader, I can tell you that I prefer certain genres over others. This is true for everyone as there are a few things that interest us more than the others. If you are a movie buff or watch a lot of TV shows, you will have a fair idea as to what kind of stories are your cup of tea. Brainstorm and come up with topics you would like to delve deeper into or elements that you enjoy in a tale. Getting familiar with all the different categories within books will help narrow down the list of books that you would enjoy.
Step 3: Make a list
Once you have identified a genre, go through the synopses of the most popular books in that and give it a chance. This is where a website like Goodreads will come in handy. You can also go to a library and get the librarian to help you choose or consult your friendly (this is debatable) neighbourhood bookworm. I’d suggest starting with a list of at least three books that grab your attention. I’d also recommend going for shorter books since you’re just starting out. If you believe that long sections of text don’t hold your interest, check out graphic novels or illustrated editions of books. A lot of books these days are told in interesting formats such as letters, e-mails, IMs, texts, doodles and so on, which may be another option for you to explore.
Step 4: Get the right format
The way in which we read has dramatically changed over the years. Physical books, although still popular, are being taken over by ebooks and audiobooks. If you’re the kind of person who has very little time to read, consider getting the ebook or audiobook as they are so much more convenient. I’m gravitating towards audiobooks these days because I have a long daily commute but don’t want to stress my eyes reading on my phone screen. If you think that you are an auditory learner, this could be a better option as well. Most of the times the ebook will be cheaper than a physical copy, so if you don’t want this to become an expensive habit, make the best use of these lower priced formats.
Step 5: Never look back
The last and final step is to fall in love with reading, which, in my humble opinion, is the easiest of them all. As you begin to enjoy the first few books you read, try other books by the same author, similar books that have been released recently or retellings – the list just goes on and on. Begin discussing what you’ve read and learnt with like-minded people online (again, Goodreads) or join a book club so you will be motivated to keep reading. Support the local library or bookstores near you. Try going to events like author signings or literary festivals so you can connect with the bookish community. However, please remember not to feel bad about yourself as a reader, be it for the amount of books you manage to read (especially as a beginner) or for the kind of books you enjoy or even the fact that you love books.
I hope that this post has given you an inkling of how to develop a reading habit. If you’re already a book lover, what more would you like to add to this? Do you remember which book turned you into a reader or got you into your favourite genre? Let me know in the comments section down below. Have a lovely weekend, readers! 🙂