Mindful Living

Effective tips to develop a reading habit.

November 13, 2017
Effective tips to disciplined reading.

The Sharjah International Book Festival 2017 was held from November 1st – 11that the Expo Centre Sharjah. It was a great platform for book lovers and it was my friend Ammu who told me that it is worth visiting. She and her dad would get there together and then they would split up to their respective areas of interest. And that included talks by different people on various topics.

Being a mother I always gravitate towards good books for my son and I tend to keep my personal preferences for later. So I went overboard this time at the book fair and had my husband for company. He is more into non-fiction and I like a mix of both.

Back home that initial surge of excitement took over and I rushed to start reading my first book of the lot. And that is when I looked at the bookshelf behind me and saw the very many books that I had purchased at some point in time but never got to finishing.

I identified that I had a problem there. I went from being someone who could complete a book in a day to not finding time to finish a book in a month.

The person closest to me who is a book lover and actually manages to make reading a part of her every day (sometimes to annoying levels where I am ignored over a book) is my older sister Shauna. From this point on I will refer to her as ‘S’.

S is a Harry Potter fangirl. Every year there is a very important Harry Potter re-read phase. I’ve lost track of the number of times she has read the series. Aside from that, she loves Historical fiction.

I thought it would be interesting to get a few pointers from her on how I can incorporate reading in my daily life. Here are some effective tips to disciplined reading from S to you.

Effective tips to disciplined reading.

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Setting a target
  • A monthly target of the number of books you wish to read.
  • Scale it down and set a daily target of the number of pages you should read by the end of the day, everyday.
Keeping track of your progress & good books to look out for
  • Goodreads is a great website and app for book lovers. It helps you categorize your reading and also lets you create wish lists. The website runs yearly reading challenges. It is a public platform and so you would tend to be more accountable. In terms of your current reads, it lets you update your progress with the number of pages you have completed.
  • Create an excel sheet. If you want to keep a private track of the progress you have made on your daily reading target, you could alternatively create an excel sheet. This could be pre-prepared and then every day you just punch in your daily progress.
  • S  follows popular book tubers like Peruse project. This is a space where avid book readers have channels dedicated to books and share their reviews and also provide personal recommendations for good books to look out for.

S often opts for audiobooks for the simple reason being convenience. She particularly preferred them when she got busy with work. I personally do not like audio books. But if it works for you like many others then, by all means, go for it.

My husband is someone who loves books but doesn’t have the patience to sit down with them. Audiobooks are something he finds very useful. Early on in our marriage, I had to get used to him randomly playing audiobooks when we went for long drives or something. I think one of the reasons I wasn’t too fond of it was because of the voice of the narrator on the few I listened to.

Here are a few of the many options available online with a good collection of audiobooks.

  • The ‘audible’ app (Paid app).
  • Librivox
  • Storynory (Audio stories for kids)
  • Loyal Books

Audiobooks could be particularly useful when reading classics, wherein sometimes the writing style may prove to be challenging to read through.

Effective tips to disciplined reading.

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The basics

These are some basic things to keep in mind before you settle in with your favorite book.

  • Have some relaxing music playing in the background. S likes a warm cup of tea by her side while reading. These would help to set the tone and make you comfortable.
  • Pick a favorite peaceful spot in your home or elsewhere to read.
  • Carry a book with you always. There is much time in between the busy where you could sneak in a couple more pages of your book.
If you are a newbie 

If you are new to reading then start with easy reads like contemporary novels and short stories. This will help you identify your comfort level and form a base on the kind of books you choose to read in the future.

Reading in the U.A.E.

When S was previously living in Bangalore she had access to many lending libraries like Library Walla, which would deliver books to her home. In the U.A.E a membership at the Old Library located at the Mall of the Emirates helped quite a bit but the difficulty in commuting to the place meant it didn’t last long. Kinokuniya is her go-to bookstore in the U.A.E.

Reading transports her to magical places where anything is possible.

“Once upon a time,” he said out loud to the darkness. He said these words because they were the best, the most powerful words that he knew and just the saying of them comforted him.” – Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux

Sending my dear sister love and hoping that all you fellow book lovers found this helpful. <3


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