Building And Sustaining A Reading Habit: Experiences From Three Passionate Readers I Know

Hello!

It feels great to come your way again with another write-up about writing. I am happy you liked my short story from last week and I’m glad I decided to add it to the schedule.

Today and maybe for the next few weeks, I want to talk about reading. There is a cliché that we don’t like reading. Stephen Fry, an English comedian and writer once said, “It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue.” I agree with him and that is why I am doing this series to share the experiences of people who have cultivated the habit of reading and continue to do so.

My objectives for doing this are two. First, I want all avid readers out there to know that they are not alone. There is a whole community of us who are like them, sharing the same passion and building knowledge through reading. Then, to ginger some of our fallen soldiers on this path. To let them know that all hope is not lost if they have dropped their reading glasses for some time now and help them pick it right up and continue where they left off.

Therefore, the following are the experiences of three of my friends – Dorcas Fafali Tsey, OB Amponsah and Pearl Ama Amoateng – who read so much. I asked them about how they became book lovers and how they are sustaining their passion for books now. Whichever category you belong to in my objectives stated above, I hope these are useful to you.

Enjoy!

Pearl Ama Amoateng:

Reading books gives me unrivaled pleasure, and allows me to be imaginative. In my ingenious world, I travel to explore, discover and learn amazing things – which feels so real. It feeds my soul with tranquility.

I discovered reading when I was five. My Mum, a book lover, ‘harshly’ taught me how to read and love books. She would cane me any time I delayed reading a book. She ensured every vocabulary I acquired was used in essays, and made me read every signpost we came across. She’d explain the words I misunderstood. I felt I was being punished, albeit I gradually began picking few books to read. I realized my essays in school were getting better. Frankly, I got very good appraisals from my tutors.

My love for books became fervent in JHS when I changed schools. I met a group of girls who were enthusiastic about reading. Surprisingly, I joined the squad. We read and exchanged books, and oh, this good peer pressure was beatific.

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One element that really helps me sustain my journey is meeting like-minded people to discuss what I read. A near-perfect example is joining a book club. Here, I’ve found some of my best reads. I get top-notch recommendations, and communities to brainstorm with. I feel ‘obliged’ to consider titles and genres I’d never have checked in a century; some of these ending up being favourites.

Another thing I do is setting monthly goals on a time schedule, and ultimately rewarding myself after accomplishing them, making the reading worthwhile and irresistible.

Lastly, I encourage others to read. This psyches me to read more. Recently, a friend who admires my ‘crazy’ love for reading has decided to start reading with me. I set reading goals for him, so it behooves on me to lead an exemplary life by reading faster.

Reading has shaped and transformed me into the zealous woman I am now. I wish I could personify reading, and treat it like how kids treat their teddy bears – hugging it each and every passing day of my reading life.

OB Amponsah:

My dad used to be a librarian before I was born. So he always had books laying around home. Being a staunch Adventist too, he always had health books and other church books around in the house.

These did not influence my uptake of reading as a hobby till I started getting bullied in school and sought respite in all the books laying around my house. I would lose myself in these books and forget about everything I went through in school. I realized it gave me a firm grip of grammar and spelling for a young boy, so I kept immersing myself in them to the extent that I almost became a biblioklept (story for another day). I guess I became a book lover because books were my safe haven.

Here is what I do to sustain my reading habit: Ebooks.

I do a lot of Ebooks now since they are easily accessible and convenient to carry around. I love Hardcopy books though. The leafy smell that I am engulfed in anytime I open them is just ethereal. So I try to do more of Hard copy books on long journeys. In this social media era, the best way to sustain a reading habit is discipline, and that is what I do when I want to read something. I put off my data and plunge myself into the world of imaginations and beyond.

Dorcas Fafali Tsey:

I was privileged to grow up in a household that had access to books. Having both parents being teachers made books a necessary commodity at home. My dad by habit from time memorial is always to be found behind his mathematics books by 5am. He made me fall in love with books. I do remember that my interest in reading piqued when my dad came back from the UK with fairytale books and other classic books namely, Cinderella, Snow white, Gulliver’s travel, Robin Crusoe and others.

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My love for books turned into an addiction at the Cape Coast Regional Board Library. I will forever be grateful to the Ghana Board Library authority for that. I was always at the library, reading, borrowing and writing. It was a repetitive cycle that I just couldn’t do without. Fast forward to my adult years, I can boldly say nothing has changed except the fact that I have a personal library collection of 500+ books and I want more.

Life happens, schedules change and adulthood comes with its own cross to bear. So gone is the freedom I once had to read any day and anytime. So I had to re-strategize or else face the loss of a habit I so genuinely love.

To sustain my habit, I formed a book club called the BOOK ADDICTS GROUP. My book club members being avid readers themselves constantly and without meaning to push me to read more. I always have to stay ahead, read the books and research each book chosen to be read each month. Also, the discussion days where we break down the books we are reading collectively and discuss by chapters encourages me to read more. Another check and balance to help sustain my habit is to ensure that I set book goals for myself. My 2018 book goal is to read 96 books and I am happy to say I am on course.

Another check and balance is never leaving my house without a book, it’s funny but works like magic when I am able to squeeze in 5/10 minutes amidst a busy day just to read.

My name is Dorcas Fafali Tsey and I am proud to be a lady who loves to read

Did you enjoy the reads? What did you glean for the three experiences? Do you love reading too? Would you like to share your experience with me? Do you have challenges with reading these days? Do you want help in any way to help you get your reading mojo back? Do you want book recommendations?

Whatever you answer to any of these questions are, write to me via elikemaflakpui@gmail.com and let’s talk about it. I’d very much like that. Until I hear from you, live, love, write and read. It can only get better and we can only get better.

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