Q: Do you like reading?
If you answered, “Hmm…not my cup of tea”, then this post is for you.
A lot of my friends come up to me and say “Shravs, how do you read all those big books? I fall asleep as soon as I open them But, I want to read like you, tell me na?”
This post is in response to those dear friends of mine, who have a reader inside them. But unfortunately, that ‘reader’ is unable to fight the battle of drowsiness against the mighty ‘sleeper’. This post is for both novice readers and wanna-be readers and will give you some ideas on how to make reading more fun.
Right. So, how can we make this reading-thing more enjoyable so that you can actively start reading?
Since we internet-folks are raving about listicles, here is my own listicle on this topic.
1) Find a buddy
Umm… you thought reading was a solitary-confinement punishment? Time to rethink.
Reading can be as vibrant and bubbly as any other hangout. You go to the movies with your friends. You go to restaurants with them. You travel with your gang. You bring your posse everywhere. Why not read with your friends?
I’ll give you an instance: when my friend and I were reading the Chronicles of Narnia, we had crushes 😉 on different characters. She liked Peter and I thought Prince Caspian was way hotter. So, we would spend a lot of time discussing them, debating over how one was braver than the other, who was more likely to be King, who fights better, etc.
Reading about heroes suddenly became a lot more interesting for us. So find a buddy, who will read with you. It’s fun, I promise.
2) Read a series
Always find a good series that can keep you hooked on till the end.
The thing with series is that, you just cannot.stop.with.one.book. Anybody who wants to find out the climax has to read through all the books and attain it.
And it’s worth it too.
Reading a series is like running a marathon. When you finish both, you have a sense of fulfillment that compares with nothing else.
Authors like Rick Riordan, Philip Pullman and J.K.Rowling, have a knack of placing a cliffhanger in the very last paragraph. A few well-crafted lines will convert even a ‘casual reader’ into ‘avid fan’.
Although, I must warn you that if you start an unfinished series, you are in for some loooong waits. I’m warning you.
3) Read a well-designed/ illustrated book
Because, if you are not reading a well-designed book, you are making the worst of the rookie mistakes of them all.
As far as I know, the main reason many of us refuse to touch huge books is that we are not comfortable with the endless masses of paragraphs. It’s intimidating, I know. The tiny font, the tight binding and poor paper quality are all factors in a Bibliophobia.
I admit it. Books that were printed in the early 90’s (the golden age for us strange and weird creatures who are at the intersection of millennials and bookworms) weren’t that pleasant to our eyes. I remember straining to read difficult font. I’d even have to bend the book backwards (gasp!) to read the tricky paragraph edges.
But, times have changed. Publishers are moving towards a better design approach. Everything including the font, height of the page, margins of the text, binding and spine, and paper quality have changed.
Throw in illustrations and BHAM! A completely new look-and-feel to your novel. Find them and make them yours. With all these operational difficulties stripped away, your job is made simpler and instantly entertaining.
P.S. If you think these books are for children, then I really pity you.
4) Listen, don’t read
No, Listen. Read. But, don’t read, just listen.
Let’s try that again. Listen to audiobooks. Clear?
Audiobooks are an excellent way to begin your reading journey. We’ve been tuned since childhood to listen intently. Keen listening has helped us identify our mom’s footsteps up the stairs, or an approaching teacher. An ability that we have sharpened over the years. We can put that to use.
Also, unlike our eyes, our ears never get tired.
With audiobooks we get a dramatised version of the book. Most voice over artists try to bring in variance in the modulation and intonation of different characters. It makes for very interesting ‘reading’. Audiobooks remove the logistical complications of the real thing – you can listen to them on your commute, just before dozing off, while on the phone pretending to listen to your bae – just shooting ideas here.
Plus, audiobooks are hands-free and discrete. Say, you want to read your favourite erotica. But you can’t read it in public spaces, obviously. Now, you can just plug in and listen to the rousing dialogues. Cashhhhual.
5) Do what you love
If you are an artist, you can always incorporate that into your reading ritual. Draw or sing or dance a scene from the book. Make it interactive. It doesn’t always have to be the book speaking to you. You could predict the scenes, develop a sub-plot, add a dance routine to the main character’s daily grind – anything goes. Make it interactive.
It doesn’t always have to be the book speaking to you. See what you can give back to the book.
Innumerable fan arts, fan fictions and cosplays exist. They bring fans closer. People are interpreting stories in their own way and are giving back to the (fictional) universe. Basically, yeah, I’m asking you to geek out 😛 If you want to read, be prepared to become a geek.
6) Try an ebook
I could be the only bookworm on the internet who spreads the ebook propaganda. This is really a last ditch attempt to trick your brain into thinking you’re consuming media, a form of entertainment that you are used to. The act of reading ebooks secretes dopamine, serotonins and bullshits in your brain. (Seriously, I despise ebooks)
But, I wouldn’t discount them. If they can get your juices flowing, then hey, good for you.
Ebooks have some very real advantages. Reading difficult words isn’t cumbersome. You don’t have to stop reading to pick up a dictionary. Bye, bye bulky dictionaries. Hello, sexy technology. You can even share your favourite lines instantly on social media, tricking your friends into thinking you’re an intellectual.
Facebook got us clicking our selfies by re-introducing the simple thumbs-up. I wonder if sharing book quotes on twitter can get you the same self-love and prompt you into reading?
Those are all my tips to make reading more fun. Okay, maybe the last one was a little too much. Sorry about that.
I hope that all nascent readers out there get back into full-fledged reading soon. I know most of these apply to fiction. It’s what I like. Let me know if you guys have any way of making non-ficti-yaaawn more interesting.