Reading as a habit — lost and found
In the libraries, in the corners of my many homes (my parents moved quite a bit) and on rainy days when the city clogged, I read. In the wake of reality, in an attempt to live a hundred vivid lives and to learn about things only spoken as hush-hush at homes, I read. Russian czars, hidden treasures, unquenching lust, induced love, orchestrated murders and skillfully practised charm, I read them all.
As adulthood hit me in full speed, the habit became intermittent. Even more so with the advent of streaming services. Juggling screen times at work and home, chores for my survival, gym for fitness and the mind numb scrolling of Instagram termed as relaxation filled a regular day. But something was amiss. Something had to change. The stillness and stagnation of living one life, just mine, wasn’t doing it anymore.
I decided I will read as many books as I can, in 30 days.
I did a good 4.
How and what did I pick:
I wanted to dip myself into a diverse world of genres and writers. I wanted books to colour my brain the sum whole of colours on Instagram.
I began to research and review. First stop, Goodreads CHOICE AWARDS and the lists thereof. Next stop, corroborate with the ratings and reviews on Amazon to alienate the overhyped average reads(mind you, there are many!).
I ordered a book per week, elated at each delivery and quietly enjoying a gift to me from me.
What the books did to me:
On dull days, I started my day with a book. On busy days, I ended my day with a book. I made time. Yes, I managed time to fit in an hour of reading. I did it with all the eagerness of newfound love, books and me.
I reasoned with the characters, consequences and feelings. I looked at who I am through their eyes. I looked at the way I love through their love. I romanticised the little flaws in my own loved and imperfect humans.
The books voiced a message in unison though in differing sentences and circumstances, Do not be afraid.
Reading a book that appeals to your values reminds you of all the tiny but crucial intricacies of your personality. I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.
What I plan on doing:
As Harvard Business Review puts it “The quality of our reading stands as an index to the quality of our thought”.
On the plus side, reduced screentime and reading fiction greatly improve the quality of sleep.
The number of books may be a vanity metric but matters of essence are how well you enjoy reading and what you take away from them.
I intend to keep experimenting with my choice of reads. Taking breaks as necessary, I intend to keep up the habit.
And soon my books will smell of mildew and bygone lives.