Friday, August 02, 2013

read at will !!

I have often heard this from a lot of people, that they don't read books that much anymore like they used to do in their younger days, or bachelor/spinster days. I have gone through that stage after my year of solitary reading , where my reading speed reduced after my marriage. After marriage things were not the same as my bachelor days. I couldn't just come back home and pick up the book to read anymore. There would be something or the other waiting for me after I reach from office. It could be a dine out, a help with the domestic work, or a visit to family friend or just the i-am-waiting-here-for-you-and-you-are-reading look from your spouse. So this post is about how I got around it, and improved my reading speed even if that is not as good as my bachelor years, but better than my initial few months of marriage.

All my books stacked up during our house shift last year
Here are some of things I thought will help others:
  • In office:
    • Carry one or two books in your office bag. You can read them while you are on the bus/metro to office. You can also read them while you have lunch at your desk.
    • If you work in a start-up, and there are only few people who have the office keys,  and the office is not yet opened by the time you reach, then you can read till the colleague with the key comes and opens it. You can also read it when there is a power outage and the UPS is drained, or when you do not have any other work in office :)
  • If you are taking your car/bike for a water service, chances are that you will have to wait for more than an hour for your turn. Take a book every time you go for a water service. Read it when you are waiting in the car/bike and while they are washing, read it standing outside on the road. People may look at you as if you are a nut case, but do you really care?
  • If you don't have the habit of reading while going to toilet, then inculcate that habit. Take a book with you and read, but please mind that too much sitting in the toilet is also not good ;)
  • If you are going to a barber shop to cut your hair on a Sunday, you might end up waiting for atleast 15 minutes until you are called. Read a book during that time. Ignore the old film magazines lying there. When you are called to the chair, keep your book in a safe place, make sure you don't lose the sight of it.
  • Carry them on your long train journeys. It might increase your baggage weight and your spouse might dislike it. But offer to carry that bag yourselves.
    • Reach station early on the pretext of getting delayed in the traffic, if you start late. Find a nice cozy place and just read till the train arrives. Don't forget to listen to the announcements once in a while or else you may miss your train.
    • Once you board the train and have settled in your seat/berth get on with the reading. Don't bother about what others think, just read until they say they want to sleep. If you are traveling with your spouse or friends, then chances are that it may not happen.
    • If some passenger wants to exchange their seats, in the first or last cabins of a sleeper class Indian Railways train, with you, please don't hesitate. There will be always light there in the entries of a train bogies and that light may be enough to read a book, depending on your eye power. If your berth is somewhere in the middle, but the book is interesting go to the entrances/lavatory area of the trains and read from there. If you are lucky you may get a seat, but do carry your ticket along with you. It helps when police or TTE comes.
  • Take books to all public sector offices you have to visit. Your job there might take a long time, and chances are there that you get lot of free time. Like you have gone to SBI for withdrawing some money (assuming your ATM card is not working) and your token number is 50 more than the current one, it might easily take half an hour for you to be called by the cashier. In that time read :)
  • If you are a person who travels to office by car, and it takes an hour to reach your office, chances are that you will be spending 15 minutes of that time on traffic signals. Don't waste that time. Read a paragraph in junctions like Silk Board or Vallara junction in Bangalore
  • Stack your bed-side table with variety of books, and make sure you read at least one or two pages from them every night before you go to sleep.
    • The variety of books can be a novel, a short story, a screenplay, a non-fiction, a biography, a movie/sport related book. This helps in context switching. You might be able to finish a story or a few scenes from a screenplay in 15 minutes. Mostly your partner will take more than that time to settle his/her work and get to sleep.
  • Keep a count of the books you have in your personal library. This is just for motivation, so that you feel you are doing a good job. If you are techie, think that is equivalent to your StackOverflow points. If you are a Facebook or Twitter addict, think that it is equivalent to the number of likes for your post or the number tweets you make.
    • The count can be made for 'read' books and 'un-read' books. Whenever you read a book reduce the count of 'un-read' books and increase the count of 'read' books. If you are more interested you can separate the count in different genres(10 novels, 5 stories) and time periods (monthly, quarterly). A bit of analytics is good.
    • Reading variety of books helps in improving your reading count. For e.g. If you start a novel, story and a screenplay on the same day, at different times, your 'read' books count increases by 3 in one single day.
  • Watch the TV only if you really want to. Don't waste your time sitting there just surfing channels. Instead you can finish a short story in that time.
  • Spend time on the internet or computer only if you need to. Divert that time for reading.
The most important aspect here is that you need to have books around and with you. You need to have that urge to finish a book, even if you are on with it for 2 months. This means that there are books on your bed-side table, in your office bag, in your travel bag, on your teapoy, in your car and even in your bathroom. If it is not conducive to stock books (like in bathrooms and car/bike), then its better you carry them with you. In short always keep it in your vicinity so that it is easily accessible. Always use a bookmark because you never know when your reading will be interrupted.

Happy Reading !!

PS: This post is mostly based on my experience after marriage. In this period I have also become the father of a baby boy, and I am not sure if these ideas I shared with you will work in future. :)
PPS: In future if I find new ideas for improving your reading while raising kids, I will be coming up with another post for that.
PPPS: Follow these suggestions at your own discretion. I am not responsible for the wrath from your spouse :)


Dhanya said...

I do most of these :) But you have given some more innovative ideas. LEt me see how it works out

Arun U R said...

Dhanu, good one !. One more thing that could work is an e-reader. I know it doesnt have the appeal of holding a real book, but if reading is what you want, you could chug along tons of books where ever you go.

Dhanush | ധനുഷ് said...

Dhanya - Try It !!

Arun - Da, I don't like it on an e-reader. I know it save lot of space, but can miss the freshness of the books and wearing & color change on pages as I progress. The no of pages that is still new in a book keeps me going :) .Weird ! I know

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