When we were little, we read a lot of books. From romantic Harlequin books, intriguing James Hadley Chase to John Grisham‘s suspense-filled novels and so on. There seemed to be no end to our thirst for stories.
We also read African books. It was a thing of joy to be able to talk about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and the rest. From Weep Not Child by Ngugi Wa Thiong’0, to Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Joys of Motherhood and so on. These books shaped our sense of identity, filled us with patriotic emotions at the ordeal of our forefathers and enlightened us about who we are as Africans.
Today, we are all grown. Hustling and bustling beneath the sting of the sun and the lashing economy. We also have smartphones now and our fingers are always busy swiping across the screen.
It is little wonder then that while we chase our dreams and hustle to make the most of our existence, our love for books is beginning to dwindle.
When we were little, to get enough information and be knowledgeable, you had to read books and fall in love with the library. In fact, avid readers were termed to be the intelligent ones. The Efiwes. You must be super brilliant to be able to consume large volumes of books and tongue out jaw cracking words.
The case is different today. With a click of your fingers (well, not literally) you can get information. The advent of the internet and social media has not only made the world smaller in the sense that you can be in Nigeria and be talking with someone across the continent, but it has also ensured that you have almost no excuse to be ignorant of certain things.
Although we are acquiring knowledge, there is still the case of plenty gist, bants, and distractions that have unfortunately been one of our greatest undoings as book lovers. It is very easy to be reading a book and then say to yourself, “make I quickly enter Twitter small make I see wetin dey happen for this country…” and then before you know it, boom! Two hours has fallen on you. Just like that!
We will be deceiving ourselves if we say we do not like aproko, because we do! Our love for gist is what makes us spend hourzzz on social media without realizing that time is rolling past. Before we give ourselves brain and decide to continue from where we left off, we’ll realize that we have lost interest in that book at that moment… and then the procrastination begins. Laslas, you’ll read one book for 4 months.
Anyway, for all book lovers who have become lazy and have been hypnotized by social media, we have the perfect hacks that will help your ministry. Did we hear a thank you? You’re welcome!
Recognise that social media can never replace books Have you ever gotten a newly printed hard copied book, opened it in the middle and brought it very close to your nose? Ahhh.. the fresh smell of books! It is something you can never get on social media. And no, don’t even try to bring your phone close to your nose.
On a serious note, you need to realise that reading on social media is different from reading books. In this world of summaries, abbreviation, faux intellectualism, and half-baked research, explicitly painted scenarios, good use of dictions, amazing imaginative and creative skill being put down on paper and a well-researched book is not to be taken for granted.
When you recognise the difference between khaki and leather, you will be able to make the right choice and also respect the choice you made.
Read e-books/Listen to audio books
Life has been made easier with a lot of books being sold online now. You don’t have to carry that voluminous book everywhere you go. Buy books online and while away the time reading them. The best part of e-books and audio books is that you can have a mini-library right on your phone. Bored of a particular book? Switch to the next! Convenience makes reading more appealing.
If your excuse for not reading books is because you are addicted to your phone, you can as well feed your addiction with e-books.
And for those of you who are always looking for the PDF file to download, hmmn, see us looking at you with the corner of our eyes.
If you are just about to rejuvenate your reading habits, start small. Don’t rush. Start by giving yourself a quarterly target, that is, you pick a book to read within a space of three months. Then you can start reading a book every other month and then every month. You can even become a book guru and start reading every week.
Another hack is to read less voluminous books. Start with a 100-page book, 200 pages and then you can start reading books with more pages. Don’t just wake up and decide to read a 1000 page book within a month, you might get tired along the line.
Get a reading schedule
Although you can read when you’re stuck in traffic, when you’re bored and all. But sometimes, it is better to have reading time. Within this period of time, you just don’t read, but you also digest what you’re reading, ruminate on the words and then relate/apply them to your practical life. Your reading time can also be your me-time – where there are no distractions or third parties.
Quick tip: switch off your phone(s).
Find your area of interest
There is nothing wrong with being a lover of fiction. Don’t let anyone start forming maturity for you because they love non-fiction books. If you read books that are outside your area of interest, you will easily get bored. So, read books that are of interest to you.
On another note. After establishing a proper reading schedule that works for you, you also need to learn how to read books outside your scope of interest. That is because you need to know what is happening in the world, and outside your area of specialization. The world of literature is so big, don’t box yourself.
Final quick tip: It is also advisable to have a social media time. Social media can get very addictive (even if you don’t want it to be) and you’ll end up discovering that you are wasting so much time scrolling down your timeline. So, set aside a particular time for social media, it could be two hours or more daily – depending on your schedule.
Have more tips on how to rejuvenate our reading culture? We’d love to hear it.