Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Reading Trend




“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. 
The man who never reads lives only one.”
-George R.R.Martin, A Dance With Dragons.
 
Reading, as a hobby has evolved for me over the past three years. As smartphones became more economic, I got access to pages and pages worth reading text, online.It is known that when the options in front of you are limited you have no choice but to pick one. Things became topsy-turvy when I had access to so many soft copies of books, Wikipedia articles, magazines etc. Maybe that would not have changed a lot of things for me just yet. Then I was introduced to the world of blogs.

Most of the blogs I come across are through being shared on Facebook. I read all kinds of blogs be it Science, Fashion, Fitness or anything for that matter. Some of the blogs that I always end up on include Mashable, ScienceAlert, Storypick, iDiva, MensXP (Yes! It's always good to know the other side of the story). I would say I read about 4-5 blogs a day on a hectic day. Some of them do not have a lot of reading content in it and instead have tumblr images that list out relate-able things to do with my best friends or trips that I should take (you know what I am talking about...)

So why am I writing a blog about this? The title 'the reading trend' refers to how my reading behavior has changed. I used to read novels (mostly fiction) before I started college (three years ago). Mystery and adventure driven books would get my undivided attention. I like the work of Sydney Sheldon and Dan Brown to mention a few. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite classics. It' such a simple story about five sisters yet it is so much more.One of my favorite books is The Host by Stephenie Meyer.Despite being a love story it was very unpredictable and that's what reeled me in. I started reading novels in the sixth grade and some of the first few books I read were the stories of Sweet Valley Twins (Jessica and Elizabeth) and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen books. Stories about high school and boyfriend drama had us all going crazy and these books just happened to be things that our teachers' would confiscate when we were found reading them secretly.(There were no mobile phones at the time :p)

Reading very suddenly changed from something I did leisurely to a 'To-do' in my list because I was required to read huge text books for college. Watching TV shows and YouTube quickly replaced reading. It was just easier to watch a movie than read a book after so much mandatory reading. I didn't realize this about myself until I met my sister after a year who would be deep in her fictional world of novels and said I had become 'shallow' since I stopped reading. At that time I did not see her point. I was part of the college Editorial board and  deep down I knew that I needed to keep myself updated and that I was failing to do that. I did manage to read one full novel somewhere along my second year. The brilliant book was  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

I have made the choice of watching TV Shows over books and only now have I realized how much I have missed. My vocabulary has suffered terribly and yes, I have become shallow. If I was reading books I am sure they would not have been about gossip or something along those lines which is irrelevant when it comes to the bigger picture of life. As I was looking at the introductory points for my GRE exam I came across the words 'cumulative knowledge'. I have let mine fall during the past three years by indulging in repeat episodes of my favorite TV Shows or watching YouTube vlogs.

So what now?
The past can't be undone. We can only work on the present and improve the future.As my blog says "Hakuna Matata" it means no worries :)

I hope to slowly pick up reading novels once again and tune down other useless internet wanderings. I did manage to complete an excellent non-fiction book about entrepreneurship called Dream With Your Eyes Open by Ronnie Screwvala. I am not against the online reading-writing process. Just make sure the content is relevant and is helping you grow as a person.


TIPS TO START READING AGAIN


1. Read what you truly interests you. Now this is obvious but very important. Don't just read a book because everyone is reading it. If you are not drawn towards the book you are probably not going to finish it.

2. Everyday or once in two days set aside some specific time for reading. I recommend right before you go to bed. Just one chapter a day if you are on a bus schedule.

3. Discuss it with your friends. As your book progresses you can talk about it with your friends even if they are non-readers. It will make you want to continue the story and hence you will keep reading.

4.Carry a book with you everywhere. The truth is we all get time between our hectic schedule like when we are travelling etc which is spent aimlessly. Instead use this time gaps to refresh your brain with some light reading.

5. The next book: It's good to know what book you'll be reading next. This will keep you motivated to finish the current one so you can start the new one.

As you develop as a reader you can set goals and make lists or even join book-clubs! The bottom line is you should enjoy it and it should not come as a chore or else it will become boring.

I hope that through this blog I have been able to motivate you to read more just the way writing it has inspired me to do the same.
Happy Reading!

Signing off,
-Nishma Khetia.

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