Tsundoku (noun, Japanese)
buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves and floors and nightstands
Oniochalasia (noun, English)
buying or shopping as a method of stress relief or relaxation
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of one or both of the above. Looking around my room now, I have books on my bookshelf, my desk and the floor. Not to mention the ones in my bag and in my room at halls. How many of them have I read? Um… I’m getting there, ok? Reading is one of the most beneficial hobbies a person can have. Books take you on adventures, reshape your mind and open your eyes to new possibilities. During term time it can be difficult to set aside the time to read anything, even that pdf list of set texts and recommended reading waiting for you on Moodle. However, if you know how to maximise your reading time you can read more and get more out of it than you ever thought possible. Here are just three tips to help you in 2021.
What To Read
Figuring out what to read seems like an appropriate place to start. This first step is probably the most important. You have to like what you’re reading and have an incentive to finish it. If you’re not enjoying yourself then you won’t enjoy reading and risk throwing yourself into a total slump.
Pick up a book. Does it spark joy? Do you feel any sense of excitement? Look at the back. Is the book relevant to how you feel in the moment? If not, set it down and keep looking. (Note: this does not apply to your required reading. I didn’t want to read Great Expectations either but you’ve got to read that.) When you’re running low on time, this method of picking books can help you stay motivated and weed out things that will waste your time.
Mixing The Modes
So you’ve picked out a book. Now how are you going to read it? The earliest example of a physical book can be traced back to 868AD. Since then new technology has given us eBooks and audiobooks. Some people say those don’t count as reading; I say don’t listen to them. If you struggle to see words on a page you can zoom in on eBooks and be good to go. If you struggle to find time in the day to sit down and read, audiobooks are perfect to listen to when cooking, walking and so much more. Stories were told aloud before they were written down.
These three forms are perfect to flip between. If you can’t get into a book by reading it, try listening to it instead. Furthermore, a great way to get through books quickly is to read along with the audiobook. By upping the speed of the audiobook, you can get through books at record pace. (That’s what I did with my literature set texts.) This method can also help you understand the text better, perfect if you’re going to be taking exams on it!
By switching between modes often and combining them, you’ll find yourself reading more books more quickly. You can have multiple books on the go and read more that way.
Fun With Stats
One of the best, and nerdiest, ways to keep on reading is by keeping track of your reading. Start out just by writing down what you’ve read. If you want to delve deeper, keep track of more. Make a note of how many pages the book had, the year it was published and what mode you used to read it. You can use this data to make charts and it also comes in useful when you need to go back and site things. There’s something satisfying about finishing a book and adding it to your stats like you levelled up in a video game. Wanting to up your stats will help motivate you to read more.
If you don’t want to go full booknerd and make a spreadsheet, try Goodreads. It’s a book based social media that lets you keep track of, rate and write reviews on what you’ve read. You can post updates for your friends and see what they’ve been reading, too. This is yet another good archive to use when putting together your bibliography.
By keeping close track of what you’ve read, you will find yourself wanting to read even more. You’ll be setting more goals and challenging yourself to keep up with it.
Henry Miller said, “A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition.” If you want to use that ammunition, you have to set aside the time to read it. The past year was a rough one for all humanity and it seems it may stay that way for the foreseeable future. Reading is a great way to spend your spare time. If you want to read more the only thing stopping you is yourself. Read for fun. Read for education. Read to develop yourself. Just read.
By Chessie Dowdeswell
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