How To Develop A Reading Habit

Reading is loved by many but practised only by a few. Ever wonder why?

More often than not daily life, responsibilities and “important” things come in between you and your love for the written (or the printed) word. Oft times we get too involved or busy in other things that we have no time for something as “time-consuming” or as “frivolous” as reading. Right? WRONG. All these are nothing more than excuses that we tell ourselves because if you really want to read, you will read – simple as that.
If you love books then they should be important enough for you to make some space for in your everyday life. Reading is my first love and I manage to read anywhere from 2 to 10 books a month. I am a novelist, editor and critic by profession, so sometimes work comes in the way (like it always does), but so far, in the last 7 years, I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading anything.

This article is for those book lovers who haven’t been able to cultivate a reading habit for some reason and need a direction to follow or have, for whatever reason, fallen out of the reading habit and looking for a way back in. This article is also for those parents who want to incorporate the habit of reading in their child’s routine.

How To Develop A Reading Habit

 

1) Sketch out a TBR list

Cultivating a reading habit, or any habit for that matter takes a bit of planning. TBR list is short for a To-Be-Read list – a list of books you want to read. Preparing a list of books ahead would not only help you in knowing what exactly to get but will also set the mood for a great start. Search the internet for top ten new releases, go through the first 10-12 lists you find and note down the books that are common in all or most of the lists. Then go through the blurbs of these books (the summaries at the back cover) and check out some reviews. You’ll know which ones you want to read.
Another thing you can do is rake the corners of your mind and try to remember what books (classics or otherwise) you’ve always wanted to read? Throw some of these names in your new TBR too. This way your TBR-list would have a mix of new and old books which will make the experience more exciting!

 

2) Get the books on your TBR pile

Check the pricing of the books online, if you like what you see then buy the books in your preferred format. If you don’t like what you see, then check your local bookstore or get the book from a library. If the prices of paperbacks or hardbacks are too much, then try going for e-books; they are generally cheaper and can be read on any device including the most basic smartphones. Lastly, try and get at least 1 audiobook. You can get the audio versions for free for almost all the classics, so you can try those instead of buying new ones.
Living in this amazing digital age provides so many options when it comes to book formats, so go crazy and try them all! You might love the snazzy new Electronic or Audiobook versions that you might have been sceptical about.

My latest books (January 2018)

3) Create goals

Now that you have the books, chalk out your goals because without goals you won’t get far. Set a monthly goal and a yearly goal (once you get into the habit of reading, you can set weekly goals too!) For monthly goals, set the number of books you want to complete in a month. To be on a safe side, start with one. Then gradually go up from there.
If you want to stick to one book a month only, then your yearly goal would be 12 books in a year, but that’s rarely the case because you’ll find books you simply can’t read fast enough and will end up finishing them earlier. Also, with each passing month, your speed will increase and so will your capacity, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be reading more than 12 books. I’d suggest setting 15 books a year at the least if you are serious about developing and sustaining a reading habit. Bookworms read 100, 200 and some even 500 books a year, so don’t underestimate yourself.

Read wherever you can!

4) Create a routine

If you want to really get into the habit of reading, set aside anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour daily as reading time. It can be while you have you are morning coffee or breakfast, or in the afternoon just before your power nap or with evening tea or, my favourite, just before sleeping in the night (bed-time reading.) Do note that this is the time you will be consciously putting into reading – you will deliberately sit in a comfortable chair or sofa or bed in the cosiest place in the house and put an effort and read the book you’ve picked up. Your reading time should not be affected by other times you might decide to read the book during the day.

 

A beautifully illustrated book of less than a 100 pages

5) Utilize weekends or holidays

Read twice (or thrice) the number of pages or chapters you generally read on the weekends. If you have a book that is not too long (under 150 pages) then try and finish it over the weekend. It’ll be a great boost to your confidence in your reading abilities.

Same way, try and use at least 2-3 days when you get some time off of work or household activities.

 

6) Always carry a book

No matter if you’re going to work or just taking a walk to the local park, or going to school or college, always (and I mean always!) carry a book. You should always have a book at hand in case if you have to wait for someone or if you get some free time on your commute from one place to another or maybe if the queue you’re waiting in, takes a really long time to move? These and many more opportunities always knock on your doors when you have a book to indulge in at hand. It can be the book you’re already reading or some other book entirely.

Always carry a book with you

7) Check off the books and add new ones

 

A couple of books I got while visiting a bookstore

Check off the books you’ve finished. Strike them through and I bet you’ll feel ecstatic doing it. Don’t forget to add new books that you find along the way or that someone recommends you, but keep in mind not to add 10 new books for every 1 book you read. It’ll be an overkill. Cut off 1 and add another. Stick to this as much as you can. But again, don’t limit yourself entirely.
Once in a while, ditch your TBR and pick up a random some good book that you come across or maybe a book whose adaptation is going to be released int he coming weeks. Or maybe ask a friend for some recommendation or their favourite book in general and give it a go – there are so many possibilities!

 

8) Explore

Something different from what I usually read

Now that you have developed or at least started with a reading habit, try to go for different genres. Explore new genres and revisit the old ones from your past. It’ll add another layer of self-indulgence to your reading experience.

Also, try and connect with other readers amongst your friends or join online or local book clubs to be in the know-how of new releases and to discuss books you’re reading or want to read. I myself run an online book club on Goodreads, RMFAO, and it has helped me tremendously in reading more and better books. I am also a member of a couple of Facebook reading pages and they all are amazing and the interacting makes reading more fun as we share our progress, book hauls and random reading related thoughts there with other like-minded people.


In a couple of months, before you even know it, you’d be reading more than you ever imagined you would and that too without even trying too hard.

Reading is a beautiful adventure and it should be enjoyed thoroughly in order to fully experience it.


Note: All the images used here are my own and can also be found at my blog's Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/thereadingbud/

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup

Want to read more classics? Re-read an old favourite? A book you missed by a favourite author? Or just browse and discover a forgotten author? This year we are moving the general guideline up to pre-1950, but there are quite a few later books (mainly from the 1960s) that are also acceptable.

A wonderful bonus advantage for this Challenge is that it is easy on the budget since so many are available free in numerous formats (including audio!) from such sites as Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks and LibriVox. You do not need to choose your books ahead of time, you’ve got all year. Late-comers are welcome.

Please note that Classics Catchup was created and is run by RMFAO’s first moderator, Dagny. You can find here on Goodreads here or at her amazingly bookish blog, Vauquer Boarding House

We have different yearly levels for which you can go for. These are listed below.

Levels:

  • Level 1: Casual Reader: 2 books
  • Level 2: Frequent Reader: 3 – 5 books
  • Level 3: Bookworm: 6 – 8 books
  • Level 4: Scholar: 9 – 11 books
  • Level 5: Professor: 12 or more books

Who’s joining? All you have to do is post here saying you plan to participate. You can choose the Level you hope to achieve now, or wait and see how it goes. Don’t know what to read and need suggestions? Just ask!

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup Thread

Other challenges that you can participate in are:

If you’re as crazy about reading and books as we are then go wild combining all or any challenges to spice up your reading lists!

One of the coolest things about this challenge is that the mods are so awesome that they even tell you the sources and links to obtain free books available online legally. What else can a bookworm ask for!?

Join RMFAO

In order to participate, simply announce your participation on the main board of RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge. Or if you have a blog just do a simple post announcing your participation and sharing details of the challenge (you can freely copy and paste from here with a due credit or reblog this post.) Don’t forget to leave a link back here.

RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge

We are here with the 4th instalment of the most amazing reading challenge on this planet *drumroll* – RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge.

For those who are new to this challenge, for Genre Challenge, we read one genre (sometimes even two when we have the alternate-genre month) every month. We post the genre list in advance (for this year’s genre list see below) so that we can plan our reads in advance. The focus of this challenge is not only to read more books in the genre you love but also to give you a chance to explore new, unfamiliar or lesser known genres. Not to mention the joy of reading with other book lovers and exploring new titles that they love and adore.

We don’t want to burden or restrict the participants by specifying sub-genres because that creates a set of problems that comes in between the actual reading. You can pick the sub-genres as per your convenience.

Another perk of this challenge is that don’t have to buy new books to participate in this challenge; all you have to do is go through your own books and organise your TBR-list as per the genres for this challenge. Simple!

One of the coolest things about this challenge is that the mods are so awesome that they even tell you the sources and links to obtain free books available online legally. What else can a bookworm ask for!?

[button size=”” color=”primary” url=”https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/147920-rmfao-reading-my-frigging-a-off?ref=nav_bar_discussions_pane_group” text=”Join RMFAO”]

In order to participate, simply announce your participation on the main board of RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge. Or if you have a blog just do a simple post announcing your participation and sharing details of the challenge (you can freely copy and paste from here with a due credit or reblog this post.) Don’t forget to leave a link back here.

[button size=”” color=”primary” url=”https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19118345-rmfao-2018-genre-challenge” text=”RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge Thread”]

And now it’s time to unveil the Genre List!

RMFAO 2018 Genre-List:

‣ January – Science-Fiction
‣ February – Mystery-Thriller
‣ March* – Women’s Fiction or Westerns
‣ April* – YA or Graphic Novels
‣ May – Classics/Literary
‣ June – Non-Fiction
‣ July – Dystopian/Apocalyptic
‣ August – Contemporary Fiction
‣ September – Humour
‣ October – Horror
‣ November* – Historical or Steampunk
‣ December – Adventure/Fantasy

*Alternate-Genre Month - For these months, we have 2 genre options. You can pick and do either of the two or both!

Monthly Levels:

  • Level 1: Casual Reader: 1 book (easy)
  • Level 2: Frequent Reader: 2 books (moderate)
  • Level 3: Bookworm: 3 books (mildly strenuous)
  • Level 4: Bibliophile: 4 books (strenuous)
  • Level 5: Bookiopath: 5 books or more (challenging)

You can announce the level you’d be going for each month on the respective discussion threads.

Also, don’t forget to mention what type of books you’d be reading:

  • HB: Hardbacks
  • PB: Paperbacks
  • EB: E-Books
  • AB: Audio Books

PLEASE READ (especially for new members):

  1. You can read any number of books for the respective genre each month in one particular month.
  2. Take your time and go through your entire TBR-list before deciding the books to read.
  3. You can join the challenge at any stage (in any month.)
  4. You can drop out of the challenge any time you like.
  5. You can select different levels every month.
  6. Use this discussion board to share your reads with other members of the group.
  7. Please be active and don’t hesitate to ask questions or recommend books.
  8. We encourage social shares, so if you’d be sharing or mentioning this challenge on your social media, don’t forget to tag – #RMFAO and @thereadingbud

Other challenges at RMFAO:

If you’re as crazy about reading and books as we are then go wild combining all or any challenges to spice up your reading lists!

For any queries, you can post a comment below or send a message to the group or the mods on Goodreads any time. We’d love to hear from you!

Ciao ❤

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

Hello dear readers,
I’m very excited to announce that I’ve created a reading-challenge: 2015 RMFAO Genre Challenge.
Every year we all think of reading atleast one book from all the genres but as the year progresses everything changes. This challenge will help you make sure that you read all the major genres in 2015.