Un-official guide on “How to start reading today?”

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

Lot of people I interact with keep telling me how they want to read but cannot do it. Lot of them rate time as one of the biggest factors. Others point out to the effort in reading, a lot of them know the benefits but shy away quoting it as boring. On some levels, I feel this is just a pattern we see with every good habit we should be having.

Take exercising for instance. Finding time, putting in the work, doing the repetitions and waiting on the gains, sometimes it feels like eternity.

Take healthy eating for instance, cutting sugar, cutting out unhealthy snacks, cooking healthy food, cutting on cola. Tough, mental strain, missing the 🍩 we all do.

Some small handy tips to get you started

Read daily

A little obvious and plain sight advice. Read daily. Make it a goal for you to read. You can read newspaper articles, online articles, short stories or proper softcover or hardcover. Do not miss out on reading. Like any good habit, our brains need to accept the new patterns forming.
Compare it with learning to drive, when you start everything seems difficult and complex but soon you are pumping up the bass and running around like a wild beast with horns blazing.

Protect the streak

For any habit building we have to go over the peak, if you break the streak you miss the peak. The learning curve is like a mountain, you have to keep walking to reach the top. Small achievable goals like any other good habit forming. Start small, few pages , you might feel like going in for more but don’t. Keep yourself wanting for more. Be the tortoise, slow and steady.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Friction is thy enemy

Friction is another strong deterrent, it is one of the strongest forces in the universe. Make it easy for you to pick a book. Take the book with you in your bag, get a book on phone. Keep books next to you. Keep the book on bed table. It should be always accessible.

“Out of Sight is Out of mind”

Finding time

This also plagues anyone who wants to start something new. Finding time to pursue passion seems to be a problem and here we are taking about something entirely new. This would need a little push and retrospection. Where does your time go? If you are clueless like me. Most probably in the procrastination device, commute and Netflix.

Like we take insta-scrolling breaks on mobile, take read a page break. When commuting flip through few pages. Waiting in a line, read a few pages. It can be a Game “Whack a page”

What to read?

Take sports, you will probably spend an hour playing 🏸 but run away from gym because you and your mind enjoy the activity of playing not working.

Read what you like. Take inspiration from your youtube history or series or movies you like. Science fiction, fiction, fantasy, productivity, history, biographies etc.

Some great introduction to books can be graphic novels
Try these

  • Presepolis — Marjane Satrapi
  • MAUS — Art Spiegelman
  • Logicomix an Epic Search for Truth — Christos H. Papadimitriou & Apostolos Doxiadia

You can also start with books with mini chapters

  • Wonder — R. J. Palacio
  • ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever —
    Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Or you can pick up short stories collection, go for classics.

My personal journey into books were comics and then short stories and then books. You can have a totally different path.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Where to next?

Once you are into the thick of it. Try reading books of domains you have not explored much

Read art and craft, read about productivity, read about history, philosophy and more. Go wild.

Read more than one book, no don’t multitask. Reading is a mood. Start multiple books and have options.

P.S. If you don’t like the book drop it.

Life is too short to read a bad book.”― James Joyce

If this article got you started or restarted, do let me know. Happy reading.

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