It was lonely growing up; a foreigner among my own people, a foreigner among my classmates, a girl among boys.
Books gave me company when people thought me too weird to hang around. They provided advice in matters I couldn’t open with my family. Words that steeped into my bones, worlds that stretched my imagination, characters I fell in love with who ended up breaking my heart…
In The Two Towers, I learnt a great lesson from Treebeard who said, “I take more kindly to Elves than to others: it was the Elves that cured us of dumbness long ago, and that was a great gift that cannot be forgotten, though our ways have parted since.” The lesson was to respect every person who’s taught you something, even if it’s a tiny nugget of knowledge.
From The Harry Potter series, I learnt that bravery didn’t always require wands and spells, but sometimes can be found in the quietest of moments. I learnt about honor killing in Turkish-Kurdish society from Elif Shafak’s book, Honour, and learnt to appreciate that this custom didn’t exist in our society despite its other forms of backwardness when it comes to women issues.
My relationship with books can be deemed by some as unhealthy.
But it’s the only relationship I’ve been in that gave me more than it has taken, because it’s taught me to connect with myself at a deeper level and fall in love with myself. When I discovered problems within me concerning Empathy, I read a book to learn how to cultivate it.
A lot of people say they wish they have the time to read, and the only thing I can say is the time is there, you just need to allocate it. So if you’re looking to up your book count on Goodreads this year, here are a few tips;
- Download books into the kindle app on your smartphone. Since you’re always checking out twitter or Facebook on your smartphone as you wait in line, this will help you read books in tiny chunks.
- Subscribe to Audible.com. You can listen to audio versions of the book while you’re doing something else like working out at the gym or doing house chores.
- Stop reading when a book is hopeless. Sometimes being in the middle of a book that is difficult to read or is irrelevant might stop us from moving on to a better book. Because many of us are wired to hate the idea of ‘quitting’, we would rather trudge along than quit and by trudging along, I mean looking at the book on the bedside table from afar every day hoping the information will transfer to our brains through osmosis. In that case, just call it quits and move on to the next book instead of staying in a state of limbo for a long time.
- Read actively. Annotate, summarize and write out your favorite quotes. Interacting with text in this way makes you more likely to remember it. Draw mind maps concerning ideas from different books. Exercise your cognitive skills through pleasure reading for some of those neurons might definitely need CPR.
- Read at the same time every day. Whether it’s the first — or last — thing you do every day, once you’ve developed the habit of reading, it’ll be hard to stop. Think of all those fathers who read the newspaper at the breakfast table every day (or every Sunday) and you’ll get the picture.
- Get a reading partner or join a book club. Use social pressure to your advantage. With a reading partner or a book club, you’d have a deadline and a good conversation to look forward to. Don’t be one of those book club members who just show up for the food…
So I hope you get to fall in love with books this year. The way I did a long time ago.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and visit my blog http://ahscribbles.com/ and follow me @ahechoes on twitter/IG.
Originally published at medium.com