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10 Thoughtful Tips to Be a Better Reader

If you are one of those lovely people who wish they were avid readers but cannot stick to reading, then this post is for you. I used to be a voracious reader as a kid and then lost interest in reading as a teenager. It was only during the pandemic when the world was too bleak that I retrieved my reading skills. To be honest with you, I only restarted my reading journey so that I could put an end to my irritating insomnia (Yes, I see the irony of me writing this post!). Surprisingly though, I found myself postponing my precious sleep for the love of reading and exploring beautiful worlds through words.

There are quite a lot of lessons that I have learned in this journey of mine. So, for someone who is genuinely interested in expanding their reading horizons, here are 10 tips to help you be the reader of your dreams! And for someone who wishes to develop the habit, congratulations on finding a habit that makes you smarter, more creative, more empathetic, and altogether a calmer person. I am sure these tips will help you stay loyal to reading.

  1. Pick the right book. I cannot stress the importance of this one enough, my friend. You have got to read books that you enjoy, and not just because some celebrity liked them or because the book is trending on Bookstagram, or because everyone around you thinks the book is cool. Choosing a book that is not to your taste, and bullying yourself into reading it when you clearly can never like the book is not the way. This will only make you lose the already waning interest you have and the effort you put in, and we do not want that, do we? Remember that there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. Pleasure isn't guilty. That's just 21st-century hogwash that foolishly equates pleasure with unproductivity.

  2. Schedule time to read. Make reading a part of your daily routine. Set a time in your schedule to read. You could go by fixing a certain amount of time or a certain number of pages per day - whatever suits your fancy! It is perfectly alright if you couldn't read a day - just read the next day. I like to end my day by cozying up on my bed with a good book. I also find time within the day whenever I am free to read. Now, I get that finding this time can be a privilege. But, even a good 15 minutes is a good start, my friend.

  3. Create a pleasant reading environment. I cannot read in a loud and noisy environment. I am just stuck in a loop where I keep reading the same line a hundred times at least until I figure out that I need to sit somewhere calm and quiet to let the book talk to my brain. So, if possible, I go to a park, read with the birds and the squirrels, and maybe with a hot cup of coffee. Or at my cozy nook at home with peppermint tea and lavender candles lit up. Again, whatever suits your fancy, dearest! I also find reading instrumentals to listen to whilst reading. In fact, these days you can even find wonderful Spotify playlists curated for the book you are reading if it's a popular one!

  4. Carry your book wherever you go. While I cannot always find the time to read during my workday or during my travels, it sure feels good to know that I have a book right in my bag that I can dive into whenever the situation would present itself.

  5. Read actively and deeply. I am a strong supporter of Quality-Over-Quantity. It does not matter to me how many books I read but it sure matters to me how good a time I have whilst reading them. Also, I love to be an active participant in the reading process. I need to understand every little joke the characters make, even if it means they use a reference from a few hundred pages ago. It makes me feel good to know that I know the characters well enough, though obviously fictional characters, very much like real-life human beings are complicated and unpredictable creatures. I also believe that if you are deeply invested in the book, the book will reward you for it as long as you have picked a book that interests you. It will also help you read more consistently and with conviction.

  6. Maintain a reading log. It is completely possible to forget the details of a book long after you have read it. While you still might remember how the book made you feel as a whole, you might not have a great picture of what it is you liked about it, disliked about it, what made the book relatable to you, what traits of the characters you wished you could incorporate into your life, and so on. It is best to keep notes of what you read for this reason. I believe one could read more deeply with this habit because of the nerd that I am. I am deeply enchanted by the Instagram kiddos who make beautiful annotations (though it definitely is not my cup of tea). I also make notes because I have a poor memory. Considering all the information that a human being needs to remember to survive the huge overwhelm that daily life is, it is more than possible to forget stuff no matter how deeply I read. My little conversations with the author and the characters help me remember the important stuff! But, if you are someone who would just like to have a distant memory of the book and be nonchalant about it, then you may skip this one.

  7. Find your book tribe to share what you read. I like to only read books that I love and that too without a deadline. I prefer to skip books that do not engage me. My brain can be quite the swaying pendulum when it comes to the books I pick. For these reasons, I do not engage in book clubs that read a specific book a month. However, I love having conversations with people who are reading the books that I am reading. I love sharing what I love about the books that I love. I can be quite passionate about how much I hate a book that I hate too! It feels good to be connected to complete strangers through books that are written by people who live miles and miles away from me.

  8. Trust your instincts and inclinations. One key rule to consistent reading is to drop the books that disinterest you and stick to books that make you want to keep reading. Trust me when I say that it is not as hard as it sounds. Of course, do not drop a book you seem to dislike right after a few pages. Give the book a chance. When you feel like you have read enough of it and still do not seem to be engaged by it, drop it. There is no need to feel guilty over not finishing the book. You have got only one life. Also, there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 12 months in a year. You do not want to spend this limited time on earth reading books that you loathe. Choose your time and books wisely, my friend.

  9. Choose a way of finding your next book that works for you. Finding your next book after having finished your current read can be quite exhausting. A little preparation here might help, my friend. You may choose books of genres that interest you, books by the authors you love. You could also use technology to your advantage. There are hundreds of book recommendation tools online that can help with this. I have found Bookstagrammers who read the same books as me, and their next reads often help me find mine. It also serves good to be open to new and exciting books. I recently used Chat GPT to find my next read after having loved Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason, and I was quite content and thrilled with the recommendations!

  10. Read at your pace. Reading is no race. This one's quite obvious, is it not? While it is good to keep yourself motivated to read as many books as you would love to, keep in mind the Quality-Over-Quantity rule. There are no awards won for the number of books you read (except for the Guinness of course!). So, take pleasure in the beautiful activity of reading and take your sweet time to finish a book. If you come across a storyline that needs your time and complete attention, there is nothing you can do except give it the deserved time!

That's all the advice I have for you, my friend. These are a few things that I have learnt in my journey. Your journey might not be like mine at all. So, feel free to develop your journey as you would like to and please do me the favor of dropping any tips that you have when it comes to becoming a better and awesome reader.

Cheers to books for making mankind a lesser-lonely species!

Until next time,

Nikhila :)


1 comment

1 Comment

Feb 22

I had this guilty feeling that I was unable to finish few classics which I tried few times and failed. Now I feel ok with that. As you rightly said, read whatever you like and try to maintain that consistency of reading daily and keeping the book handy so that we can cultivate that habit. Good article Nikhila.

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