Growing up I used to spend hours with my head between the pages of a book. Summer holidays for me meant I would have unlimited time to read as many books as I could – and I did. Reading for me, was a way to travel to different places, meet new people, solve a mystery, experience a new culture, without leaving my physical space.
Unfortunately, going to University and entering the workforce meant I had little to no time to read. In 2012 my new year resolution included rekindling my love for reading, and to make it more measurable, I decided to read 100 books in 365 days. During that year I got my reading mojo back by doing these 5 things.
MAKE TIME FOR READING:
I am a strong believer in making time for what is important. In 2012 I decided I would spend at least 30 minutes a day reading – reading social media updates does not count. When I actively carved out time for reading, I found I read a lot longer than 30 minutes.
Most of us don’t have a lot of free time to play with but try starting with half an hour daily and progressing upwards help. What works for me is I take my book/Kindle with me everywhere I go. Whenever I have free time, for example waiting in a bank line, daily commute, waiting for an appointment – instead of pulling out my phone, I take out my book.
JOIN THE LIBRARY:
Reading as a hobby can be expensive in the Caribbean, which is why I decided to join the Port of Spain Public Library. I became a member back in 2016, the process was surprisingly simple and free of charge. Being a member means you can check out 6 books of your choosing monthly.
I find the Library’s selection to be extensive and the books are generally readily available. They have the facility for you to check online for books before heading into the library to collect. Having a deadline in which to return books makes me more inclined to read them.
I have been a member of Goodreads for the last seven years. Goodreads is basically Facebook for Readers, I use it as my online library. It tracks all the books I’ve read, want to read, currently reading and I can categorize each book by shelves.
I use the platform to get readers’ book reviews and most importantly, at the start of the year I take part in the Reading Challenge. With the Reading Challenge I can decide how many books I want to read for the year and Goodreads tracks my progress. This is a great app to keep you aware of your reading progress and goals.
BUYING OR SOURCING BOOKS FOR FREE:
If you are a fast reader like me, you will generally find yourself spending a lot of money on books. One of the obvious complaints for a lot of Caribbean readers is the price point for books locally.
To read as widely as I do, I generally borrow books from friends, visit garage sales and scout for used books. The Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TTSPCA) sells books for $1-$2TTD. There is also the organization called ForTheLoveOfReadingTT they have been installing books shelves across Trinidad for the public to take books for free- no strings attached.
If you love reading, limited funds should not be a deterrent, between the avenues above and the Public Library access to reading materials will come easy.
MEETING BOOKISH PEOPLE:
I started my Bookstagram (Instagram for books) page @BookOfCinz in January 2018 to share my love of reading and to encourage people to read more and widely. One thing I’ve gained from starting this Instagram page is a community of Readers and Bookish people.
Having Bookish friends will help in sparking and maintaining your love for reading. I suggest you inject some Bookish people in your life by following the hashtag Bookstagram on Instagram or joining a book club. Having a weekly or daily injection of Readers in your life will make your bookish journey more exciting.
These five things really helped in rekindling my love for reading, I hope they work for you. If you need to start your journey a bit slower, I recommend choosing one book and deciding to finish it before the end of the year.
Cindy Allman is a Caribbean Girl Reading the World. A Jamaican living in Trinidad & Tobago, she is a top Goodreads reviewer and hopes to inspire you with her passion for books. Follow her at www.bookofcinz.com or @bookofcinz on Twitter and Instagram.
(Photo by Corri Latapy)