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…and I never really planned to do so!

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Dr. Seuss

I’m sure you remember the days in high school where you HAD to read a certain book and write a book review. It might come as a surprise, but I never really enjoyed reading then!

I guess it was because of the kind of books we had to read and usually I was too late in the library to borrow that specific book. On top of that, I really sucked at writing book reviews or better, I really didn’t score well on writing any essays for that matter. 

After I found my way around the literature world, I discovered books that I actually enjoyed reading. It were mostly Belgian writers and two who stood out for me were Jef Geeraerts and Tom Lanoye. I can say that it is because of these two authors I found the pleasure of reading. They carried me away into a world I was yet to discover myself. Doing so through books was a perfect way!

So, when someone tells me that they don’t like reading, I’m not convinced. I believe that everybody likes reading but you have to like what you read.

I started to read more and more but, then life happened and there wasn’t really time left to pick up a book. Or, more correctly, I didn’t take the time to read books. I only bought books for my next vacation and occasionally one found its way to the bedside table only to be returned unread, and usually too late, to the library. Sounds familiar?

In the past years, however, I rediscovered my love for reading. I allow myself again to get carried away by the wonderful stories somebody put to paper. The perfect way, besides going for a walk of course, to escape the everyday burdens and stress that life can bring.

But, I also embrace those books that put me into action, that open up my mind and question my thought pattern. Yes, even transform my life!

I found out about the app Goodreads and started to keep track of the books I’ve read. A total of 26 in 2018 and 28 in 2019. Since I like to challenge myself, I thought that reading 30 books in 2020 would be an achievable goal. I made the goal I set for myself and I even managed to read a couple more. 34 more to be exact! Yes, you read it correctly, in 2020 I read 64 books. You can say reading has become a habit.

I not only challenged myself but, I also challenged my two nephews, Lucas (12) and Thibeau (10). If the two of them could read more books than me, I would buy them each a book. If not, then they had to buy me a book. On the 31st December, the score was 71 – 64 for the nephews and I was delighted that I could get them each a book! Since one wasn’t really an avid reader. He found it boring‚ until he found something that he loves reading about 😉

I challenged them again‚ who will be the first to read 30 books in 2021? I’ll keep you in the loop of the progress on my IG account.

How about you, are you an avid reader, or is your reading restricted to emails and Instagram captions? It’s never too late to get back to reading!

Not sure where to start? Maybe these tips could help you out…

1. When are you going to read?

Look, it’s going to be a lot easier if you plan when you are going to read. Is it in the evening, when you are on your train commute, during your lunch break, or are you going to replace your binge-watching by binge-reading? It doesn’t matter when, as long you make a plan to do so!

I’ve incorporated reading into my morning and evening routine. In the mornings I read non-fiction. If I got a really busy day ahead, then I sometimes just read a couple of pages, but I read every morning nonetheless. I refrain from reading non-fiction in the evening because my mind could go in overdrive of everything I’ve read and then I find it hard falling asleep 🤯

In the evening I read fiction. I love to get lost in different worlds and it takes my mind of any worries the day could have brought me. I fall asleep quicker and I sleep well. The only problem? If it is a really thrilling book, then I find myself reading way too late because I just can’t put the book down. Just one more page 😅

2. Read something you actually like reading

Please, don’t waste your time reading something you really don’t like! Life is too short to read something that you ‘should’ because that is what the rest of the world is reading.

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami

Reading should be FUN! The more you enjoy it, the more you will want to continue to read. I believe my nephew and myself are perfect examples

Oh, and if you are reading a book you really don’t like? Put it down and don’t force yourself to keep going. Find a genre you enjoy and you’ll find authors you can appreciate quickly enough.

3. Know what your next book is going to be!

Once you found out what kind of genre you like to read, decide what your next book is going to be. In Goodreads, you easily mark books you would like to read, and you’ll also get suggestions.

I’ve got 10 books waiting for me to be read and a list of about 30 books I would like to read. Every time I see a title that seems interesting, I just add it to my list. And, I pass by the bookstore almost weekly 🤷🏼‍♀️

4. Read multiple books at a time

As I mentioned earlier, I read non-fiction in the morning and in the evening fiction. So usually, I’m reading two books at a time. When my non-fiction book seems to be very complicated then I add a third one, just to avoid my brain to get fried. 

There are really no rules for reading so do what you feel like, as long as you’re reading.

5. Find a friend that you can swap books with

I got a couple of friends that like to read as well, and we swap books. It’s very interesting because you often get a genre you would otherwise not have picked up. Swapping books is just one of the reasons why I still like good old-fashioned printed books. It’s so nice to share them with others! More on that in a next post.

Just make sure that you give the books back in a reasonable time and in the same condition you received them.

6. Challenge yourself or your nephews  

If you need some motivation, then challenge yourself! Start small, reading for 10 minutes a day is starting small. Allow yourself to grow into the habit of reading again and page by page you can build up your time.

Bottom line…

Don’t let reading become a thing of the past. It is really easy to pick up the habit of reading again and it has got a lot of benefits as well. It will stimulate your creativity, lower your stress levels and you’ll become more knowledgeable. But more importantly, just have FUN!

P.S. If you want to get inspired of the books I’m reading or have read, check out the highlights in my IG account.

Peggy

Peggy

Hi, I'm Peggy, A Backyard Hiker. I like to inspire you to go outside, to explore your Backyard. All our backyards look different but we can all hike!