Friday, 17 March 2017

Change Your Reading Habits

This may be presumptuous, you might be very happy with your reading at the moment. The genres you read, the authors you target, fiction, non fiction, etc. But I personally have read three articles, just today, totally by accident about reading books by men or women.

Changing your habits depends, I think, entirely on what you want to achieve from reading. It is common among my reading friends, to have a goal to read more classic novels. But without the habit or knack of reading that kind of prose, it can be difficult to keep up your enthusiasm. Especially if you destroy a summer by reading one gloomy Hardy book after another, as I did. Furthermore, regardless of being a classic, you should only read what you would find interesting. If you're not a fan of crime novels, explain why you're reading The Moonstone? You're setting yourself up for failure.

But aside from my view on classics and only reading the ones you might actually enjoy and love, I would encourage alternating. One classic, one modern. Or One classic, one teen fiction. One classic, one manbooker prize. swapping in this way gives your brain a bit of a rest and leaves it ready for your next challenge.

Looking back over the books I've read recently, there are certain habits that I fall into that I think I'd like to change. For example, in the last year I've read just three classics, have a 15:13 split between female (15) and male (13) authors, three non-fiction books, and ten that I bought from Amazon. The majority of the authors I have read here are either American or British, and write in those settings, though I have a few curve balls with two Nigerian authors, a German, an Australian and an Indian. Looking at my habits in this way definitely makes me want to read more classics (Still) and I want to read more from different nationalities, specifically female writers from those other countries.

Look back over the books you've read and consider what your own patterns are. Are you reading male or female authors more? What is the ethnicity of the authors you read, or the characters you read about... In a time where publishers are asking for diverse writers to produce books that will familiarise people with other cultures besides your own, it becomes increasingly important to me to self educate through my reading.

It can be hard to alternate with too many goals, but recognising your own habits can be the first step to expanding your reading. This can even be extended, for example if you love libraries, aiming to borrow from your library would be a good goal. Or keeping bricks and morter book shops on the high street, think about where you source your books. Want to reduce waste? buy second hand. Want to support charities? Buy from charity shops.

What ever you want to get out of your reading, tweaking those habits and ruts we all fall into can be a brilliant way to expand and try out new things.

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