When I was younger I liked to read. A lot. I was the biggest reader of the children in my family. I read every night before bed, it just never occurred to me to do anything different.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped reading as much. I’d pick up books all the time, but if they didn’t immediately pique my interest, I would simply put them down again. I read the books required of me for school, for the most part, but I definitely felt that some of the enjoyment I gained from reading was lost when there was a time limit put on it. I do not like being told that I have to do things. Although I cannot remember exactly when or why I began to read less, I’m sure it had to do with me falling out of the habit of reading before bed. A combination of staying up later – relatively, we’re all early sleepers in my house – spending more time on the computer, and listening to music before sleeping eventually replaced picking up a book and holding it in front of my face until I no longer had the strength to do so.
This is kind of like a detached, mangled and pretty stupid story that proves true the old cliche, ‘You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone’. I never appreciated the value of reading when I was younger, but now I marvel at those who can converse easily on topics that don’t fall within their area of study, and speak with that natural eloquence that you can tell comes from an expansive reading list.
Fact: The two most intelligent people I believe I know are in the Medicine. One is a doctor, and one is in Medical school.
Fact: I have no idea how much either knows about medicine, or how they would rank in terms of medical proficiency, but their level of general knowledge makes me green with envy.
Fact: They are the two most prolific readers I have ever met.
There is no coincidence between the first statement and the last. These people are my best friend and my dad. They just read, all the time. My best friend actually gets annoyed at how quickly she finishes books. Just listening to them talk about various subjects they’ve read about, it makes me wish I could do the same.
And you know what? I can. And I will.
Over the last two years, I have made a more conscious effort to read. I can do it quite easily on holidays, or when I find a good series to really sink myself into. However, for the rest of the year, when there are more general interferences in life, my resolve fails me. Sometimes, when I get the urge to read, I become so overwhelmed by the amount of books I have yet to read that I give up before I have even started. For Christmas, I got a Kindle, which has already dramatically increased the amount of books I’ve read this year compared to last. However, that number is still too low.
So, I’ve decided to do something that I’m not usually comfortable with. Something I’m not usually inclined to do. I’m going to set myself a task, and I’m going to force myself to complete it by being structured and organised.
If you knew me at all, you’d probably laugh. ‘Structured’ and ‘organised’ are two words which have never be affiliated with me. Nonetheless, my challenge is as follows:
Read one book per week, for the remainder of the year.
For some of you, this might be the status quo. Or even less than that. However, for me, it’s a welcome improvement. That’s 26 books! Imagine how much I could learn in 26 books! Nerdy, yes. But exciting.
I’m using tips from this article to help me get started:
I’ve only set the challenge until the end of the year to give myself a goal to meet and motivate myself. The long-term aim will be to re-establish my old reading habits.
Currently, I’ve spent the last two days getting myself into ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel’. Since I’ve had fairly little to do, and I’m going to be working all weekend, I figure that it’s best to get myself off to a good start and try and finish the book before Friday. So far, I’m making good progress!