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Decoding the Art of Reading: A Guide for the Laziest of Readers

All of us know it is good to read a book. But we end up not reading regularly. Why is it so hard? I mean, I decide to read religiously every day and end up not doing it. I am not always busy. Sometimes I am lazy and distracted. How easy it is to scroll on your phone and get lost in the myriad apps that have made it their mission to keep you hooked? Very. Let's quickly delve into the reasons behind it.

Why Are You Not Able To Read?

1. You Are Busy. You Don't Have The Time.

All of us are. If you are a student, you have school, homework, assignments, projects, tuition, exams, etc. If you are a businessperson or working for someone, you are working 10 hours a day almost 6 days a week (in India, weekends are working). If you are a homemaker, you are busy managing the house, elders and children. If you are a senior citizen or retired, you probably are doing some other work, managing grandkids or homes, or engaged in religious/ social activities. Where is the time? Or you can't find your spectacles?

2. You Don't Know What To Read.

Tons of books on different topics and contexts are available. There's fiction and non-fiction. Within fiction, there's Adventure, Mystery, Thrillers, Romance, and so on.

Under non-fiction, we have History, Philosophy, Religion and spirituality, DIYs, How-tos, Self-help, Politics and Social science, and so on. How do I decide what to read? I was not a wiz in school. It is difficult to understand complicated words and language. I don't follow Shashi Tharoor (he he he).

3. You Can't Finish Uninteresting Books.

Sometimes you cannot put a book down until you finish while sometimes you struggle to complete one. You realise that at times you are forcing yourself to read for the sake of it. Occasionally, what you think you should read does not always align with what you want to read. A book looks interesting but once you start, it may turn out to be quite boring. But because you have started it, you must complete it. Since it is boring, you will not pick it up. Because this one is not completed, you will not start another book. And hence goes on the cycle. You are stuck.

For example, I didn't like the book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy (This will raise a lot of eyebrows - I know!). It is not that I do not believe in manifesting or the subconscious mind - but the way this book is written, it seems like it is glorifying something and claiming it to be magical without really explaining it. And it keeps repeating the same thing. I thought I was the only one - but then I found many other reviews that reflected the same thought. I was so happy at this validation (Don't judge me - I am human!).

What is the solution?

So yeah, this vicious cycle is probably stopping you from reading too. And your gadgets. Check yourself. I was trying to find a way around this too, and this is what I think:

1. How Do I Find Time?

Set up a fixed time to read, even if it is just 15 mins a day or 4 pages a day. The goal is to read, not to finish a book in a day.

Keep your phone FAR away at this time. Do not pick it up for any reason whatsoever. If at all you do, for any important task, do it and put it away immediately without checking out social media or any other apps. Strictly.

2. When and What Can I Read?

Start reading without thinking and planning too much. Read whatever interests you. Stories? Thrillers? Adventure? Poetry? DIYs? Romance? Try and see what works for you.

Choose what is simple or advanced depending on your knowledge and interest. It is not necessary that if someone is reading classics with archaic English, you must read the same. Otherwise, you will never develop an interest in reading. You are unique, so you decide for yourself.

Waiting for a call? Start reading. Doctor's appointment? Sit there and read while waiting. In the cab or train? Carry the book with you. You can read a physical book (paperback), or on your phone, or an ebook reader like Kindle. There are so many ways. Find yours.

3. Don't Like A Book? Leave It!

Just ditch the book you dislike. For whatever reason it may be. You are not able to understand it, you cannot seem to agree with it, you do not find it interesting enough or it is not adding any value to you. There I said it - ditch it. It will block your way to many other good books and you don't want that happening. Disclaimer: This does not hold good for your curriculum books, of course.

4. How To Keep Up The Motivation To Read?

Keep track of the books you read. Join a group or start a Goodreads account that reminds you to read. It has helped me personally because I keep a target of a certain number of books each year and generally get to it. I may not always reach the exact number, but it definitely helps because I constantly remember I need to get back to reading. Sometimes, I read as many as 25 books a year. Bonus tip: Maintaining a Goodreads account is free of cost!

Reading is a gift we give to ourselves, providing not just knowledge but also a respite from the daily grind. The goal is not merely to quantify the number of books read but to savour the quality of time spent in the captivating words. By adopting these simple strategies, even the laziest among us can develop a rich and rewarding reading habit. So, let’s turn the page and get on an adventure that promises not just escapism but a deep connection with the world of words.


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