Reading is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get when it comes to life improvement. Just think about Mark Zuckerberg. We often hear about how he devours dozens of books per month and how successful he has become for that.
To tell you the truth, there were many times I felt motivated to improve my reading habits. Unfortunately, that kind of resolution never seemed to stick.
Then, I moved into a new apartment and my roommate happened to be a real-life bookworm. I mean, I have never seen a person own SO MANY books just because she liked all of them.
It was astonishing to see how her drawers were full of books, and even more when she said they didn’t fit that she had to place them in two or even three rows. Amazed, I asked her to share some of her secrets.
Everything turned out to be simpler than I thought. So, here’s what I found out in my odyssey trying to read more books, based on both our experiences.
Forget the “Top 100 Best Books” lists
Though finding a good reading list advertised by popular magazines sounds like the best way to start your reading adventures, it is actually not. Most of the books on those lists will contradict your taste and (take it from me, I’ve tried) you’ll end up feeling unmotivated. You may even feel disappointed in yourself because you’re not able to get through the books deemed as the world’s best reads.
To start with, such lists are subjective, especially the modern books. Only time will tell how great a book is. Secondly, if you want to try a reading list, figure your taste in literature first.
It could be about fantasy, science fiction, realism, non-fiction or memoirs. After finding out your genre, do a quick search for the top ten books in that genre. This will heighten your chances of finding books you will genuinely enjoy.
Drop a book if you are reading it forcefully
This is vital at the start of your journey. If you did the most reading in your school and college years because you were too diligent, then you’ve developed a certain aversion to reading because you did it forcefully.
If you feel like you are not enjoying a book, just close it and forget about it. Knowing that you don’t have to reread every chapter of a deadly boring novel twice because your professor will give an intricately difficult quiz is truly liberating.
Forget the idea that books should educate
The idea of books being educational is one of the reasons why a lot of people quit reading books after graduation.
When we come to college and start reading difficult books, we had the idea that they were meant to educate us. Some teachers and researchers believe that at the time those books were published, they didn’t have any educational purpose and were purely written for entertainment.
So, brush off the idea that books are all meant to be technical and educational. Curl up in a blanket and enjoy your favorite book about elves, battles, love and magic.
As a kid, I enjoyed reading fairy tales. I could read the whole evening without even noticing the time because I picked stories I really liked. I read for fun.
Find someone with shared taste in books
Once you meet someone who has the same taste as yours when it comes to books, you’ll find yourself too eager to start reading the book he’s just finished. You’ll feel eager to share your views and hear his opinion.
This approach works better than any motivational quote on how to read more books.
A Few Obstacles You Might Encounter
As I struggled on my journey to start reading as much as my incredible roommate does, I made the following realizations.
You won’t love books overnight
Although I would love to get as excited about new releases and upcoming books as my roommate gets, the truth is I don’t always feel that way. This, however, doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to enjoy a good read and finish more books.
Remember, aversion can have deep roots and overcoming it can take some time.
Recently, I’ve read a book in three days, two of those days were work days. The book wasn’t big, but I still stayed up to 2 AM because I wanted to know its ending.
If you can’t bring yourself to finish a book you’ve started, then that is the wrong book for you. This doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, lazy or unmotivated. You just don’t have the right book in your hands.
Find a challenge if you are an A-type person
I actually started reading books when my roommate told me about a book challenge she was in. It’s a challenge where you need to read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet. That’s a total of 26 mandatory books per year.
Although I failed drastically, I won at one important thing: I actually started reading. Though this was little compared to my enormous plans, I was still able to conquer it.
Aim for the process, not for the aim
If you often think about how your friends are going to react to the books you’re reading, then you’re thinking about the aim. If you feel good just because you are curled up with a new amazing book, it means you genuinely love the process. The habit is more likely to stick.
Experiment with timing
If you are genuinely bad at sticking to new habits, try to trick your brain by setting tiny goals. You can make it as tiny as you want.
When you set and accomplish small goals, it becomes easier for you to feel motivated. After a month, you’ll be surprised that you just can’t stop adding more books to your list.
If you are horrified by the idea of having to read tons of books, don’t worry. All you need to do is find the genre of books you truly love and you won’t even find yourself complaining about how much reading you have to do.