Not strictly for doctors only, of course!
Every January, you look at a great slate of films and television shows lined up for release over the next twelve months and as each one screens, you realize with growing dismay, how many of them start with ‘Based on the novel by…’
That little unease (‘I’ve never heard of this New York Times best-selling book!’) and your own realization that you’ve let your reading days slip by the wayside (‘But I finished Harry Potter 7 in THREE DAYS as a teen!’) starts to grow and you decide, you know what! I’m going to read more books this year!
Worry no more, my friend, the Doctor is here to help you keep at least one of your 2017 resolutions.
1. Join a book group on Facebook:
You know how you’re part of eight make-up groups on Facebook? Now imagine, four of those are book groups and see how your motivation to read more skyrockets. Two of my favourite groups are Bookay and the Desi Writer’s Lounge Reader’s Group for Islamabad– they’ve kept me from falling off the wagon more times than I can honestly confess. Be warned though, membership of too many such groups will lead to compulsive book-buying and the accumulation of unread tomes on your night-stand and your spouse’s incessant mockery.
Which is where my next tip comes in.
2. Track your progress:
Goodreads is one of the most powerful tools to keep your motivation up– you can log in each book that you’re currently reading and update your progress by page number. As you see that percentage go up book by book, trust me, your brain is going to make you want to keep reading. Pro-tip: sign up for the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge, set and achievable target of books (twelve is a good number to start with, a book a month) and presto! Watch the pages race by. If you’re a gadget freak like me, a Kindle is one of the best investments you can make. The screen is easy on the eyes and there a tonne of free e-books and audiobooks you can download onto your device and read on a commute or in a waiting room.
3. Explore Other Genres
Confession: your ‘umble literary physician was not always a voracious reader of all things medical, especially in the wake of my daughter’s birth, LIFE was hard, forget reading. Enter, John Green and The Fault in our Stars. Reading YA at that point in my life was a revelation. Yes, it was frothy teen romance but IT GOT ME READING AGAIN. Choose a similar jump-start for your self, try something you wouldn’t normally choose. Romance aficionado? Read some poetry by Sylvia Plath. Sci-Fi addict? Try some Meg Cabot for a while. Not only will the change in genre keep you hooked on finishing your book, but the mere act of completing one book will help you to reach for another. And another. Then another. Just don’t read The Forty Rules of love for the eighth time, okay?
4. Find Your Tribe
Instagram has another set of people on it other than the foodies and #OOTD gang– we’re called #bookstagram (or #bookstagrampak) and we’re more than happy to chat up with you, no matter what you’re reading. It’s a liberating feeling to know that you’re not the only one who found a book atrocious (remember, nothing brings people together like mutual hatred 😛 ) and not only will you stumble across some amazing book recommendations, you’ll also likely be hooked on sharing your favourite lines from your current read on Instagram’s Story feature. Have a favourite celebrity? Instagram can help you find their current reads so you can share that amazing book high-five with them. Get with the ‘gram, son.
5. Read to Enjoy
There are times in life when a book and a giant cup of tea are called for. Other times, when they are not. To me, the best way to stay consistent with reading was not to force it. Read when you’re genuinely compelled to and when you feel you can really enjoy it. The more you treat reading as another chore, the less likely you will be to return to it as a hobby. Explore your genres but don’t become bound by them. Give yourself room to branch off from into other book and other styles. If a book isn’t working out, set it aside, return to a favourite novel or comic and re-read that for a while. You’ll be surprised how infrequent your mindless scrolling through your apps will become as you become engrossed in one book after another.
Best of luck!