Booknotes: Eight tips to better your reading world

Mike Selby

“Imagine you read one hour per day.”

This suggestion comes from a person one would not immediately associate with reading: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet the bodybuilder turned movie star turned politician offers some of the best advice for anyone wanting to “read more books” for their 2019 New Years Resolutions.

“Imagine you read one hour a day about history. How much would you learn after reading 365 hours per year. Think about if you read about the history of musicians and composers … how much would you learn.”

Reading more books has become one of the top resolutions people make every January, right after improving one’s health with diet, exercise, and curtailing the abuse of alcohol. Although reading books appears to be a far easier goal than joining the gym, this one too falls to the wayside as life intrudes on everyone’s good intentions.

Having said that, if you would like to read more in the upcoming year, the following strategies have helped many others.

1. Ignore impossible targets. The 100-Books-In-A-Year Challenge is usually all over social media. While not impossible (two books per week), the size of the challenge usually has most people abandoning it before the first month.

2. Always have a book at hand. Life can be tedious, and one can always be reading while one is waiting for an appointment, travelling, or even during small breaks at work. Digital books can be read on smart phones and tablets, for those who don’t want to pack around a physical book.

3. Visit your favourite bookstore. There is something about browsing which has yet to be replaced with online shopping. They are pretty exciting places.

4. Join a book club. The socializing, hearing other people’s opinions of a specific title, and a looming deadline can be terrific way to read more this year.

5. Get a library card. Strange coming from me I know, but libraries have a lot of books in every subject imaginable, including the new bestsellers. The Cranbrook Public Library has 85,000 physical books, so there is bound to be something you will enjoy.

6. Ask friends for recommendations. Good friends can usually steer you towards enjoyable books, with the added bonus of having a new topic of conversation.

7. Don’t finish books you dislike. If you hate what you are reading, simply stop and move on. Life is too short to force oneself to finish a book you cannot stand.

8. Have a new mindset. Take Arnold’s advice and make time for reading. One may have to disengage from Facebook and Netflix — but an hour a day is not unreasonable.

These tips are subjective (my girlfriend vehemently disagrees with No. 7), and they may or may not work for everyone. So try some or all of these, have fun with it, and make 2019 the year you actually read more.

Mike Selby is Information Services Librarian at the Cranbrook Public Library

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