8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

A lot of people love reading but when it comes to practising it on a regular basis most of them fail. Wonder why?

More often than not daily life, responsibilities and “important” things come in between you and your love for the written 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! 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 place for them in your daily life. Reading is my first love and I manage to read anywhere from 5 to 8 books a month. I am a writer, editor in chief and  a manuscript critic, so sometimes work does come in the way, but so far as I can remember, in the last 7 years I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading something. Being a writer it is kind of a necessity for me, but the truth of the matter is that I would not have been a writer in the first place had it not been for my love of reading books.

Just like achieving anything else in life, it needs a bit of patience, effort and planning, and of course, the will to do it.

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

8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

Reading should be fun, but sometimes to get into a habit you have to make a conscious effort until it comes naturally to you. As a writer, I have to do the same for writing in order to get work done and reading is no different. Please remember that this is only for those who actually love reading and want to develop a routine that’ll help them in reading the books they long to read and not for those who love the idea of reading and have no particular interest in it.

 

1) Make a reading list

Cultivating a consistent reading habit, or any other habit for that matter takes a bit of planning. Reading list, or as we bookworms call it TBR-list) is a list of books that you want to read. Preparing a list of books ahead would not only help you in knowing what exactly to buy, borrow or issue from the library but will also set the mood for a great start. Write down the names of books you’ve always wanted to read. They can be classics or the latest releases. Don’t forget to add the books whose movie adaptations you like because chances are the book would be a hundred times better than the movie.

Search the internet for the top ten books in genres you prefer and go through the first 5-10 lists you find and note down the books that catch your attention, or simply the ones that are common in all or most of the lists. If you want to research further, then read a couple of reviews of these books but be sure of spoilers. Throw some of these names too in your reading list. This way your list would have a nice mix of new and old books which will make reading more exciting for you.

 

2) Get the books in your reading list:

Check the pricing of the books on your reading list online, if you like what you see then buy the books in your preferred format. If the prices of paperbacks and 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. If you don’t like what you see, then check your local bookstores or get the book from a library in your area (if you are in India, JustBooks is a very good library option and has a great online service too.)

Living in this amazing digital age provides us with so many options when it comes to book formats, so go crazy and try them all! You might love the snazzy new Electronic or Audio versions of books that you might have been sceptical about. Get at least two e-books and one audiobook. You can get free classic ebooks at Project Gutenberg (if you are in India, this link might not work, try this one instead.) For free classic audiobooks, you can visit LibriVox. Audiobooks are horrendously priced in India so this website is a great starting point if you are new to audiobooks. Though, you can try the free trial of Audible as well (I did and liked it so I buy a lot from there as they are pretty good.)

 

3) Create goals

Now that you have the books, chalk out your goals because without goals you won’t get far. Set a simple monthly goal or if you really want to be doing this, go for 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 and likewise for yearly goals. If you are just starting or re-starting after a long time, start with only one book as your goal. Then gradually go up from there. In setting an unreal goal you would only be setting yourself up for failure.

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 on your reading journey you’ll find some books you simply won’t be able to read fast enough and will end up finishing them earlier than planned and there will be some books that will turn out to be not as good as you expected them to be. 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 in the first year itself. I’d suggest setting 15 books a year as your first goal if you are serious about developing a consistent reading habit. A lot of my fellow book readers read 100, 200 and some even 500 books a year, so don’t underestimate yourself.

 

4) Create a routine

In order to develop the habit of reading, set aside anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour daily as your ‘reading time.’ It can be while you have your morning coffee or your breakfast, or in the afternoon just before taking a nap or with the evening tea/coffee 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 – which means for your ‘reading time’ you will deliberately sit, preferably in a comfortable chair or sofa or bed, and put a conscious effort and read the book you’ve picked up. Initially, you might not enjoy reading this way every time, but it’s okay to feel that way, just make sure to read for the minimum amount of time you’ve set for yourself. As the days will pass by and as you’ll start to take interest in the book you are reading, you’ll settle into the routine nicely. You can even set a number of chapters or pages to read every day instead of setting time.
Note that your ‘reading time’ should not be affected by any other times you might decide to read the book during the rest of the day. Treat these extra opportunities as a bonus.

 

5) Utilize weekends and holidays

Read twice or thrice the number of pages or chapters or minutes you generally read on the weekdays. If you have a book that is not too long, say 100-150 pages, then try and finish it over the weekend. It’ll be a great boost to your confidence and will help you ward off boredom which might otherwise settle upon you if you keep on following your routine for long periods of months.
Same way, try and use any unexpected holidays and vacations as an opportunity to get some extra reading time and finishing the book you started. A great way to make use of holidays is to listen to audiobooks while doing something mundane such as doing the laundry or gardening or cooking.

 

6) Always carry a book

This is like a thumb rule or a ‘mantra’ for all bibliophiles. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to work or just taking a walk to the local park or going to school or college or the mall or the movies; always carry a book with you. You should have a book at hand when you are out in the real world in case if you have to wait for someone at a cafe or classroom or if you get some free time on your commute from one place to another or maybe if the queue you’re waiting on takes a really long time to move? These and many more opportunities will always knock on your doors when you are outdoors and it is the best thing to have a book to indulge in at hand. It can be the book you’re already reading or some other book entirely. If carrying a book is physically impossible, then carry ebooks or audiobooks on your smartphones or tablet.
Most of the time I read more than one book at one time so I always carry my Kindle with me whenever I go out in addition to the audiobooks and ebooks that I can access on my phone through LibriVox Audio Books and GuteBooks Ebooks apps respectively.

 

7) Check off the books read and add new ones to the list

Check off the books you’ve finished on your to-read list – strike them off and I bet you’ll feel ecstatic doing it. Don’t forget to add new books to your list that you find along the way or that someone recommends you, but keep in mind not to add ten new books for every one book you read. It’ll only lead you down a path where you might get unnecessarily overwhelmed. Cut off one book and add another. Stick to this as much as you can. But again, don’t limit yourself entirely.
Once in a while, ditch your to-read list and pick up some random good book that you come across in a bookstore or a friend’s place or maybe a book whose adaptation is going to be released in the coming weeks.

 

8) Explore, experiment and enjoy

Once you have developed or at least have 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 of new releases and to discuss books you’re reading or want to read. I highly recommend that you join Goodreads because it is the best place to be online for any book aficionado. I myself run an online book club on Goodreads – RMFAO, and it has helped me and many others tremendously in reading a lot more and better books. I am also a member of a couple of book-dedicated Facebook pages and groups, such as Did You Read Today, and they 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 bibliophiles.
Apart from that, you can even join various reading challenges on Instagram (if you are a regular ‘grammar.) They greatly help in making the to-read lists more fun and diverse. You can also follow book-related accounts and hashtags like #bookstagrammers, #readingislife, and many, many more in order to get creative and fun ideas to make your reading a bit more rewarding.

 

In a couple of months, before you even know it, you’d be reading more than you ever imagined you could and that too without even trying too hard. You’ll just have to put in a little effort at the beginning and then once you develop the habit, you won’t even have to try at all. I followed these steps when I re-started reading 7 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I started with reading 1 book in 2-3 months and now can read up to 10 books in a month.

Reading is a beautiful adventure and it should be enjoyed thoroughly in order to experience it completely. keep these steps in mind only at the beginning, later, when you develop your reading routine, forget all the preconceived notions and follow your instincts. This article is just to get you started on the right track.

If you have any questions related to reading or want any book recommendations or want to share your bookish thoughts then feel free to comment below.

Happy Reading!

Ciao ❤

Note: All the images used in this article are my own (except for the featured image which was taken from Pixabay). Visit me @crazycatwriter on Instagram.

10 Books To Read While Social-Distancing During Corona Virus Or COVID-19

I was born in the year 1990 and since then I do not remember a single instance in my life where I have been in quarantine. Although it can get tiring and frustrating sometimes, I still feel that this is something that we might never get to see again. In this time of self-quarantine or social-isolation, you can either be negative about it and sit and crib or you can simply roll along with it and try to stay positive and make the best out of it.

I am simply reading a lot and writing a lot so I am basically catching up with all the reading and writing I missed out on in the last few months. So here I am with a list of 10 books that I recommend reading in this time of social-distancing during the outbreak of Corona Virus or COVID-19.

Please note – All these books belong to dark fiction, mostly apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic or horror with an odd psychological thriller and a non-fiction true-crime book. I will be doing another list of books in which I will be listing lighter reads.

10 Books To Read While Social-Distancing During Corona Virus Or COVID-19

  1. Duma Key by Stephen King
  2. Swan Song by Robert McCammon
  3. The Grown-Up by Gillian Flynn
  4. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
  5. The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler
  6. The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston
  7. Haunting Of The Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  8. Strange Weather by Joe Hill
  9. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
  10. World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks + The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

So these are my picks based on the dark writing style and the overall gloomy tone of the books with resonates a lot with the current situation. What are your picks?

You can also check out my video of 10 Books To Read While Social-Distancing on my YouTube Channel:


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Monthly Updates: February’19

And finally, I’m doing the monthly Updates post after a long, long time. I loved doing these posts before and I’m really excited to do it now. To be honest, these update posts help me in knowing exactly where I stand in terms of my writing and helps me plan ahead serving as the much-needed motivation.

February was a good month for me, not only as compared to January’19 but also as compared to all the months in the last year. I did have some good writing days last year, especially in the second half where I edited a lot and wrote a considerable number of words, but my muse only came in bursts of 5-7 days at a time and then faded away for good. But this February, I not only wrote consistently but was also able to work on posts for my blogs. This makes me feel like I’ve finally reached the headspace I wanted to be in order to complete the projects I’ve been working on for a while now.

Health-wise, it was a good month for me. I even started visiting with my dietician again and slowly getting back into my morning walk routine. Though Eva, my 1.5-year-old cat, got a liver infection probably because of the cat tree we got in January (it happened due to some chemical and we cannot think of anything else as the source.) She had to undergo a very extensive IV therapy which lasted more than a week. 4-5 days into the treatment and the poor girl started running away and hiding from Vishal and me whenever we tried to get close to her in the evenings thinking we might put her in the crate and take her to the vet. She continued doing this even after her treatment was over for around 1 full week. It was disheartening and I’m just glad that now we all are back to our merry old selves.

Anyhow, moving on here’s what I was able to do this month:

Writing Updates:

  • Wrote around 10K words, not counting the scenes I wrote while plotting my projects
  • Plotted and planned the contemporary fiction novel I started working on last year. I call it the Unnamed Project (UP.)
  • Got a new story idea, a really good one! It’s more on the lines of slasher fiction – pure, mind-numbing gory fest. I have already written 8 chapters for it, which is big for me because it has been a long time since I wrote with such fierceness.
  • Learned new ways of plotting and story structures and will try and implement these in March for the projects listed above.
  • I didn’t work on Sinister Town this month as I was trying to distance myself from it in order to figure out an issue I’ facing with one of the characters and it seems like I’ve figured out what the issue is so distancing myself from it paid off. I’m planning to work on Sinister Town in March.

Reading Updates:

  • Read 2 very disappointing reads: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent and The Nightmare by Lars Kepler. I had big expectations from both these books: Stillwater Girls had a great blurb (because of which I requested it off NetGalley) and The Nightmare is the sequel to Hypnotist, a book I fell in love with. But both turned out to be very dissatisfying reads and I had to mark them as DNF reads, much to my dismay.
  • Read 4 decent reads by the authors I know: The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings, Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown, The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt and The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon. I’ve reviewed all these books on my book blog, The Reading Bud, so do check out my reviews there.
  • Apart from these, I read a book that completely changed the definition of Classics and Cosy Mysteries for me – The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Greene. My very good friend and co-moderator of RMFAO, Dagny, introduced me to this author and after reading her book and biography, I’m totally blown away by the fact that I never heard of her before and that she is so underappreciated. I’m presently reading another one of her books, That Affair Next Door, and it even better than the one I read for Feb.
  • Overall, I read 7 books this month. Out of these, 3 were for RMFAO 2019 Genre Challenge‘s Mystery-Thriller month.

Movies & Series:

  • 8 episodes of the 6th season of Orange Is The New Black. It was good as usual.
  • Cargo on Netflix. Not good at all. They totally ruined a potentially good concept.
  • Tidying Up with Mari Kondo on Netflix. It was kind of a life-changing event and I will be doing a blog post soon on how I’ve adapted the Kon Mari method in my life and home.
  • In new releases, watched Gully Boy and Uri – two of the best movies till date in Bollywood.

Apart from this, I hosted a lot of guests (well, the same guests over and over a couple of times) and was busy in taking care of Eva. So the month went by in a flash. I’m just glad that I was able to get some writing done.

Hope February treated you all well. I’d love to know how you spent your month and what progress you made in your writing, reading and other aspects of life. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ciao ❤

RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old way by having 1 unique mainstream genre per month. The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR.7

The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR. Most of the times we end up reading the new recommendations and our TBR pile grows more than ever, but that’s how the life of a book lover is, isn’t it?

Anyway, in case if you guys want to participate, just join the group (if you haven’t already) and announce your participation on the main challenge thread. It can be found here: RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge.

Apart from this, we have other fun Challenges too:

  • Classic Catchup:
    Hosted by RMFAO’s Classics’ Professor Dagny, this challenge gives you a chance to read the Classics. But the best part for me about this challenge is Dagny’s Classic recommendations. I’ve read so many different classics (so much more than I’d have ever read on my own) since I started joining this challenge. So if you’re a classic lover then this place is definitely for you, but in case if you’re like me who is not into classics and have no clue what to read, then is the place to start.classics-catchup
  • RMFAO 2017 Series Challenge:
    This challenge focuses on completing book series. You can either complete a series your started earlier and never got around to finishing it, or you can start a new one and try to finish it within the year.
    To participate all you have to do is drop by the thread (click the name of the challenge above) and announce your participation.series
  • RMFAO 2017 NetGalley Challenge: This challenge needs no explanation. If you are on NetGalley then you should definitely check this one out! The challenge will help you finish all those books that you requested and were accepted for once upon a time, and as a result, it will help you improve your Ratio. It can’t get better than this, can it?!netgalley

New members are welcome to join any time of the year, so don’t forget to drop by and have a look around! Also, feel free to share about these challenges with your friends and reading buddies. The more, the merrier.

Ciao ❤

The Book Courtship Book Tag

Thank you, Marje, for tagging me for the Book Courtship Book Tag.

Marje is one of my really close (and favourite) blogger buddies and is an amazing writer. Do visit her blog, Kyrosmagica, if you want to befriend an insightful and talented author.  

Here’s a link to Marje’s blog post about the tag:

https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-book-courtship-book-tag/

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction:

A book that you bought because of the cover?

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Phase 2 – First Impressions:

A book that you got because of the summary?DSC05326

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk:

A book with great writing?

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Phase 4 – First Date:

A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?

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Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls:

A book that kept you up all night?

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Phase 6 – Always on my mind:

A book you could not stop thinking about?

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Phase 7 – Getting Physical:

A book which you love the way it feels?

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Phase 8 – Meeting the parents:

A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?

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Phase 9 – Thinking about the future:

A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?

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Phase 10 – Share the love: Who do you tag?

Galit Balli

Phoenix Grey

Molly Mortensen

Bruce

Heather Mostella

Rosema 

Michelle James

Dagny

Please don’t feel obliged to do this tag. And if you aren’t tagged and want to do it, then go ahead and consider yourself tagged by me 🙂

Have a great day!

Ciao ❤

Featured Reviewer At NetGalley (NetGalley Blogger Spotlight: The Reading Bud)

I’m the featured reviewer at NetGalley for my book blog, The Reading Bud, for their monthly series, Blogger Spotlight, for Mystery & Thriller edition.

I was really excited when I received a mail from NetGalley inviting me for this spotlight. I really enjoyed answering each and every question for this interview and consider myself lucky to be interviewed by and featured at NetGalley’s blog!

You can read my interview here.

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A snapshot of my interview at NetGalley’s blog

If you’re wondering what NetGalley is or if you want to know how to get accepted for the books by some of the biggest publishers in the world, then you can read my article: Are You A “Professional Reader” At NetGalley.

If you’re already a NetGalley member then do check out this month’s Mystery & Thriller reads as there are some amazing books this month. The best one being Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz. And did you know that NetGalley has introduced the Horror genre category as well!? How amazing is that!

Hope you guys are having a great week.