Reading a long form content is hard in today which is fulled with various format of attention grabbers from screens and entertainment format. To sit down and read a book becomes a more or less challenge for people, especially the ones who spend a lot of time on computers and internet. Back to 10–15 years, I can recall the time I have 300–400 collection of books that I read and keep in my home library. I can read books with not much struggle. Just grab a book and enjoy it in home, school and between commute. Everything is different after I started workforce. Spend more of the spare time on a much more relaxing activities from jumping screen to screen. Netflix to PS4. PS4 to Mobile Phone. Flipping through social media and news reader. A vicious cycle of sinking into the dark. These are some of the lifestyle adjustment and ideas that I revived for myself to read more books.
To read books, we need to find books that we interested to read. I find books from Goodreads recommendations based on my reading profile. Browsing bookstore and local library is also give new interesting books to read. It’s a bit expensive to have physical books but if you have time and money, go for it. I buy books from amazon book store and rend out from Libby with local library account. For audiobooks, I also use Libby app to rent out books to listen during commute and gym sessions.
I upgraded my kindle reader OG to PaperWhite version to have backlit at night time. My work place have a library with some limited sources and I use Libby from local library for audiobooks.
Reflect on your habits for a change
The first reflection I have is that I spent too much time listening to music and podcasts. There is not a commitment or a slot on reading. I tend to play games, watch TV or scroll though magazines, blog posts and news. I made a self-commitment or habit change to read more frequently by adding reading as part of daily routine. I start by adapting to listen audiobooks during commute, gym session and chores. I carry around my kindle with me to the pool to read 15–30 minutes before swimming and reading at cafe’ after lunch.
1. Toilet book
Yes. it’s gross but it’s good to have a book that you can flip a page or two during the nature call.
I have a English vocabulary book in my toilet to expand my ESL vocabulary range and a language book to learn new phrases and words. Instead of scrolling your Instagram page, this 2–3 pages reading surprises the progress you made in a short term.
2. Two books at the same time
The first thing I made up my mind is to read and listen one book. I read a soft-copy book or kindle e-book when I have time to sit down and read. Another book is to read on the go at places at gym and commute. It helps in a way that you take a short break from one book for mental reset and switch to another topic. It works for me but might not be the best pick for everyone. A mix of fiction and non-fiction books is the ideal approach for me.
3. Selecting book category for audiobooks
Not all books are good for for listening. The images and diagrams is used in most book genres to take advantage of visual presentation to explain complex ideas and thoughts. I found the following type of books are good for listening:
- Non-fictional books with a storied and anecdotes such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, the Tipping Points.
- Fictional story telling books such as Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
- The books read by the authors him/herself. The author can give emotional content that missing in text.
4. No Guilt Stop
There are people going back to back on the books they are not really enjoying. In my opinion, it is OK to stop reading in the middle of the book if you are certain that you are not interested in the topics, the story and feel like pushing yourself to go forward. Reflect on the reasons and explore another books that pick your interest. Nobody can read all the books in the world. It is important to find what you enjoy reading and find the books that matches your interest.
Thanks for reading. It’s a cluster of my reflection on making a habit of reading enjoyable with minimal effort. I hope you find a point or two that can help in your reading journey.