Monday, 27 January 2014

How to read more!

I read every day, and I have since I was nine. I simply love reading, and those who don't often don't understand it think it's okay not to be a reader or say things like "oh, I wish I had time to read". Here's the thing - I believe we all have time to read. That's why I don't watch a lot of television. Reading is the reason I haven't worried about eating alone, why I am always entertained by something and why I have way too much general knowledge than I know what to do with. So, those of you who want to read more, read on.

1. Find a book you like.
So many people make plans about reading classics or best sellers, but if you don't enjoy them or find the book too challenging, you won't read it and there goes your great idea of reading for pleasure. If you like romance novels, if you like movie-tie-ins, if you like books by Max Walker - it doesn't matter. Even if you think your taste in books could be better, start by reading things you know you'll enjoy.

2. If you can't read it through, leave it and walk away.
I remember trying to read a terrible book called 'Big Girls Don't Cry' about a bunch of bossy ladies running a publishing business. I think I was about 21 and it was the first book I had got halfway through and just couldn't finish, even though I wanted to. Like I said, if you don't like it, you'll be a lot less inclined to read. And it isn't worth it.

3. Read every day.
If you make reading a habit, it makes the idea of being a reader a lot less scary. There's a reason primary school students are expected to read every day - they need to get better at it on many levels. Seeing as you're an adult who has mastered the English language, it can be easy to get out of the habit of reading, but if you find time to do it - and you will - it is well worth it.

4. Read wherever you can.
My book will follow me wherever I am. I am very good at multitasking - reading and doing just about anything else, but here's some places I will happily read:
-short (5-10 minutes) or long trips in the car
-during lunch breaks
-bus, trains, trams
-while eating any meal or snack
-blow drying and/or straightening my hair
-while mixing cakes and baked treats
-before I go to bed
-any place I am bound to be bored

I used to love getting Maccas and sitting under a palm tree at Moseley Square in Glenelg when I started Bible College. It was the most relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

5. Scrap the idea that reading is a 'holidays' thing to do.
I cannot state how much this annoys me.
For me, books are a reward (I often promise myself some reading time to get through boring jobs such as housework), an escape and a way to help me think about the world. This notion that people "don't have time" to read is rubbish. Do you have time to watch television? Do you have time to surf the Internet, check up on Facebook or play a console game? If yes, you have plenty of time. Get over this idea that being "busy" is cool. It isn't, and everyone can see through it.

6.   Reread old favourites.
When I first moved into my own place I felt incredibly lonely and homesick. I borrowed a stack of Roald Dahl books, which I never owned as a child, and suddenly felt okay again. It was Maltilda that got to me the most. I read young adult fiction all the time because I love it, you can put it down and they are very quick reads. So if you had a favourite series (for me it is BSC and Sweet Valley), reread them and fall back in love with the magic of reading.

7. Have books around you always.
I have a lot of books and a lot of bookcases and my fellow bookworms can all relate to the way we accumulate books on our shelves. Many of my books are old friends I love to revisit, so even if I have nothing new, I will reread them. I also have a number of books I haven't read, but plan to. Books are expensive if you by them from bookstores, and it is rare for me to buy new ones (maybe about 10 a year). But I do lots of op-shopping and visit book exchanges to restock my collection which helps. Having a library you like (and it is okay to dislike libraries) is always great too.

8. Don't bother reading book reviews.
There are plenty of book reviews online. Unless you are buying it brand new in hard cover, don't overthink it, just buy the book and be done with it. I love reading book reviews afterwards, as sometimes it settles my fears and thoughts (like The Vale Girl - I wasn't the only one who didn't love the ending), but reading them beforehand can give too much away.

9. Listen to audio books.
I drive a lot, and I hire audio books from the library to listen to. I read Mao's Last Dancer that way and formed a love for Maeve Binchy books by listening to the audio recordings.

10. Just do it.
Right now. I dare you.
Go to a book shelf, pick up a book and read a few pages. You won't be disappointed.