Books played a huge part in my life. When I first received my library card as a teenager, it felt like the ticket to adulthood. I used to immerse myself in ancient mythology and fantasies. English isn’t my native language, so books were also crucial in getting me up to the same level as my peers. I loved book clubs, and reading was a sanctuary for me whenever I felt a bit down. All the stories, and beautiful verses provided an alternative reality.
Surely, you must also remember a day when you had cool lemonade on one hand, and a book on the other…
Slowly coming to the adulthood, heavy workload and busy schedules often prevent us from reading books. Plus the information overload from the internet left those traditional books gathering dust. Time is never on our side. We want to read more books not directly related to our day-to-day job, yet we struggle to fit it in. It has been suggested by some that we should read one book a week. Surely, that’s not possible for busy people in the busy cities. However, one book a month sounds slightly more realistic. So here are some of my suggestions on how to read more books.
Invest in a portable device
You would simply read more, if it is easy to carry around. Traditional prints are just too bulky. There are many apps providing free books. One of my favourite apps is the Freebooks. This app is full of classics, ranging from novels to biographies to philosophies. You can download these apps to your mobiles or tablets.
My newest favourite is Kindle and I highly recommend it if you are able to fork out a little. I received a kindle as my birthday present and hands on my heart, it is the best present I received. The Kindle is light, and small enough to fit into my coat pocket. So I can bring it everywhere.
Additionally, it can link to my Amazon account. I have Amazon Prime, which means, I can borrow one ebook for free every month from a great range of lending library. Again, all the classics tend to be free on Kindle.
I personally prefer reading, but I have heard from many people that audio books have done them wonders. I did hear that Harry Potter audio books by Stephen Fry and David Attenborough’s Life Stories are rather magical.
If you are interested in audio books, you might want to check out Audible.
Read whilst commuting
The average commuting time in the UK is 55 minutes per day. Some even spend 4 hours a day on the public transport.On Average we spend about a year of our lives getting to and from the office (or 10,634 hours). Why not utilise the valuable time reading a book instead of flipping though mobile phones? This is when a portable device would come handy.
Read 20 mins before bed everyday
We usually do not go to sleep straight away. On average it takes about 15 minutes to fall asleep. Many people probably have the habit of looking at their tablets and mobiles, but the brightness of the screen would give the brain false signals causing us to stay awake. So reading a hard copy or from kindle would be a better choice. By reading before bed, it would calm us down before sleep.
Join a book club
There are many book clubs. Every local library would have a regular gathering. If you are still in university, there have to be book clubs too. There are also several Meetup groups you can join and you can even select which genres you prefer.
There are virtual book clubs on twitter, where at a specific time, everyone uses a pre-determined hashtag to join in the twitter chat. I never tried book club by twitter chat, but I have joined a few twitter chats on blogging, and everyone tends to be very supportive.
Southbank centre holds regular book clubs which I have attended before. The theme of the club generally revolves around current events. Do check it out on their website. It’s usually free, but you might need to book a ticket beforehand.
Another good book club is Emily’s Walking Book Club, which takes place once a month, where everyone takes a walk around Hampstead Heath whilst discussing about a book. Check out the event page on Daunts Books.
If you cannot find any book clubs you are interested in, perhaps, you can start your own. Or suggest your company to start a book club. Many companies are supportive in looking after the wellbeing of their employees.
Get out of your comfort zone
It seems a trend that men prefer reading non-fiction books whereas women prefer novels. It doesn’t have to be the case. If you are only used to reading Chick-flicks, why not try to switch to biographies or some history books. You never know, you might discover a new interest.
Similarly, if you only read business books, give some novels a go. It would be a great way improving writing skills and spellings. Some studies have suggested that reading literature novels can improve one’s empathy.
Here is a tip from me, swap a book list with someone of different gender, or someone who shares very different interests from you, then read each others’ books. You will learn some new.
“If we encounter a man (or woman) of rare intellect, we should ask him (or her) what books he ( or she) reads.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson*
* I am pretty sure Emerson meant woman as well.
Education does not stop after we graduate from colleges, so remain thirsty and curious and read more books.
Lastly, here is the list of books ‘read’ by Cotton
- The Mystery of Consciousness–John R. Searle: a book on neuroscience, philosophy and a bit of computational biology
- The Personal MBA–Josh Kaufman: a business oriented book
- It’s Vintage, Darling!–Christs Weil: this is my go-to bible on fabric, clothing and haute couture.
- Why Nations Fail–Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson: Apparently Mark Zuckerburg recommended this (?!)
- Ballet Beautiful–Mary Helen Bower: Victoria’s Secret Angels use this and so did Natalie Portman. Well, so do Cotton and I, I guess we are on our way becoming angels. 😀
- The Encyclopaedia of Flower Arranging Techniques–Marcia Hurst: I like this book so much, I haven’t returned this book for months now.