Tips to cultivate reading habit

By Puteri Othman

I learned that reading is the cheapest way of travelling. Once you start to read a very interesting book, it immediately knocks you off the reality. A good book can be oddly satisfying. It can teach you beyond your daily horizons, and help create characters so vivid that you feel as if you really know them.

For an avid reader like me, I find solace in reading. For me, reading is an epitome of relaxing. Recently, Asian literature genre became my cup of tea. I am hooked up on reading Asian literature books like Haruki Murakami’s who is famous for his notable works like “Kafka on the Shore” and “Norwegian Woods”. He has a very mysterious way of thinking and I could almost imagine he sits in a coffee shop, ready to write another detailed magical story that will attract people like me.

As a reader, I would say that reading reduces your stress and helps you to feel a range of emotions, from sad to angry to laughing your head off. All can be achieved in reading a single chapter of the book. A good book can help readers broaden their imagination and contribute in making them more creative. Not to mention that daily reading can help ward off Alzheimer’s and Dementia. However, different people prefer reading different genre. I am sure only certain quarters of those of my age choose to read books on Asian literature.

I often come across people who frequently ask on how to nurture reading habit. To some, they might have set a goal to read a certain number of books annually. But for some they still do not have an idea how to start. How could you acquire the reading goal when you do not make reading a habit?

I like to share herewith a number of ways to help you cultivate your reading habit:

1) Know your reading atmosphere

To identify your reading atmosphere is very important. It will attract you and motivate you to read daily. It is also important to find a quiet place where you can sit down comfortably and curl up with a good book without any interruption. You can also set up a reading corner at home for your own reading comfort. In addition, you can create a reading playlist that would help you soothe your mind. For me, having a cup of coffee and listening to classical music playlist are enough to set my reading mood.

2) Set daily goal

Having a daily goal will make you feel productive. It will also train you to exercise self-control. You should allocate at least an hour per day to read. Turn off your television and any other gadgets and get into your favourite reading spot.

3) Read fun and compelling books

Reading should be fun, and not treating it as a chore, or you will feel pressured to read. Find books that can really grip you and keep you going. Life is too short to read books that you don’t want to read. Don’t try to read books just to make yourself look more appealing to someone else. Read books with their front cover descriptions that can get you all excited. If you are not sure what to read, get a recommendation from your friends or go to the nearest bookstore. I’m pretty sure most of the staff at the bookstore are book lovers (if they are not, why would they even work at a bookstore?) and they will be more than happy to share their favourite books with you.

4) Bring your book anywhere

Make it a habit to always bring a book anywhere you go. Treat your book like a companion. When you have any appointment, bring along your book and show up early so you will get extra time while waiting for the appointment. For those who regularly use the public transport, make it a habit to read while you are on your way to your destination. If you find bringing a book everywhere is very troublesome, you can always download Kindle app on your phone. Having a Kindle app feels like you bringing the whole library with you because you can access to more than 4,000,000 books and audiobooks. It is definitely amazing.

5) Give it a go

Here’s a little piece of advice for you: if after 50 pages of reading, the book does not float your boat, leave it. Reading should be a fun thing to do, and in order to develop reading habit, you must find books that you are fond of. I have read countless number of books and based on my experience, if the first 50 pages do not grab your attention, give yourself a permission to move on to the next book.

With all the tips given above, I hope it will help you to develop the reading habit. So pick up books that excite you and start reading. Happy escaping from the reality and travel metaphorically! ***

Puteri Othman

a pr student and currently the managing editor of IIUMToday

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