Every year, around this time, people start thinking about resolutions and changes they would like to make in the next year. Some pledge they will go to the gym more often; others will eat healthier and quit smoking. But the best resolution I’ve ever heard came from a patron at the public library where I used to work: she wanted to become a reader.
Reading is great. It is not only a great source of entertainment but helps you develop better language skills, encourages critical thinking, introduces people to new things (cultures, countries, topics, etc.); there are studies that indicate it also does wonders to your brain function. On top of that, reading is a fairly inexpensive and portable way to keep yourself amused.
But many adults, like my library patron, who did not grow up readers are not sure where or how to become one. If you’d like to start the new year better read, here are some suggestions to make it happen.
Before we start, we need to get rid of some misconceptions.
– Amount of books read DOES NOT equal intelligence.
– Genre or type of books read DOES NOT equal intelligence.
– There ARE NOT right or wrong books.
With these three statements in our heads we can now begin the process.
Find a topic you’d like to read about: This is a technique often used with children who are not fond of reading but it is also useful for adults. No matter if it is fiction or non-fiction, if you are interested in the topic, you will be more likely to get hooked on the material.
Find your type and format: We often associate reading with traditional books but reading can come in different forms. For example, many people prefer graphic novels; others find a novel too daunting and prefer anthologies (collections of short stories). You may also find books are not your thing, but magazines and journals fascinate you. Explore also what medium works for you. Do you like having an actual book in your hands? Maybe you’d prefer an e-reader? Or you maybe you are an auditory learner and would prefer an audio book.
Find an appropriate time and place: In the beginning try to do your reading when you are comfortable and relaxed. Do not make it a chore, but a way to unwind. Once you get hooked, you’ll be able to do it anywhere.
Start small: Don’t think “I’m going to read all seven Harry Potter books.” Instead, say “I’m going to check the first book of the series. If I like it, I’ll keep going.”
If a book doesn’t work, let it go: Many people feel they must finish the book even if they hate it. This librarian says you don’t have to. If you hate a book and continue reading it, you are only prolonging the agony. Instead, add the author/genre/topic/style to the list of things you know you don’t like and move on to something else.
Ask for help: If you are unsure about how to start or how to continue, if you want reading suggestions, don’t be afraid to ask. You can talk to a librarian, friends and family, even bookstore employees may be able to help you. Your local library as well as your friends and family can also help you save some money while you figure out what you like; you can borrow materials from them at little or no cost.
I hope this inspires all wannabe readers. If you have any questions, don’t be shy and comment below. Happy reading!
Photo by Hans Braxmeier, found here