I’ll start with a little backstory about how I became a book addict first. (You can skip this part if you want!)
Those who know me well are aware of the fact that I am an avid reader. Most readers speak about how they have loved books since they were little, but for me it happened just before I turned sixteen. And it started with none other than the Fifty Shades Trilogy (no judgy snorts, please! I was curious.). To be honest though, I was a fanfiction addict of an Indian soap way before (nuh uh, not revealing which) and read fanfics all the time, if that counts. But even that happened when I was around fourteen. Before that, I did read, but not too often. As a kid, I loved goosebumps and Famous Five and Nancy Drew, but I was never really a book fanatic.
Anyway, I didn’t like Fifty Shades too much (surprising much?), but it made me realize that I kind of enjoyed romantic stories (mind you, those books weren’t even remotely romantic) and I started looking for some good romance novels. When I found some of those, I wanted to read more.
Then, a friend of mine, who had, back then read The Hunger Games trilogy, almost forced me to read those books. She couldn’t stop gushing about the romance and the love triangle between the leads in the book. So I gave in to her demand (big of me, right?) and my god, I fell in love. I just couldn’t stop reading! I even got in trouble at school because I’d hidden the book under my desk during math class, so I could read whenever the teacher wasn’t paying attention.
So that was it! I fell in love with another genre. Young-adult dystopian fiction. It simply got me to look for more books of the same genre and try them out.
Alright, I’m sorry I lied. The backstory wasn’t really little but let me come to the point now if that story didn’t make it clear.
So, the first and foremost tip I would give non-readers who want to read is that read something you find interesting. You all have favorite genres of movies, right? Action, romance, comedy, drama, etc. Just like that, select a genre that you like and choose books based on that particular genre. It can be any genre. Romance, thriller, horror, historical, science fiction, mystery, self-help…literally anything. You won’t really enjoy a book if you don’t enjoy it’s basic trope.
There are a lot of people who try to tell us the kind of books we should read. Happened to me, when my teacher saw me reading a romance novel and promptly said, “these fictional books will do you no good. Read biographies of great people. You’ll learn something from those.” Other than this, I have often met people who give me condescending smiles when I tell them I like reading romance novels and young-adult fiction.
People in general have this perception that if you are a reader or as they say, a connoisseur of literature, it means you have to love classics. Now wait a second. What if you don’t find classics interesting? What if you don’t find relatable? What if you don’t enjoy the language that was used back then? What if you enjoy contemporary literature more? Are you not a reader then? Of course you are! Just read something that makes you want to keep turning the pages and never stop (not literally) and don’t care about what other’s think or say about your choice of books. Don’t feel guilty about what you enjoy reading (even if it is Fifty Shades or *shudders* Chetan Bhagat)!
Okay, I just talked about people imposing their own perceptions about reading on others, and I’m clarifying this from the start – I’m not saying you have to read Harry Potter. But…if you are even a little bit into fantasy novels, I politely suggest you dive right into this series. I know many of you must have seen the movies, but trust me when I say, the books are So. Much. Better. Obviously, I have a biased opinion since I am a huge Potterhead but I think this series will definitely awaken the little bookworm within you. There is a reason why so much hype surrounds the books and the movies. Try the books out and you won’t regret!
A lot of you will disagree with me on this but I am speaking from personal experience again, so it might or might not apply to a lot of people.
So here’s what happened. There was a time when I was in 7th or 8th grade, when I had suddenly started reading a lot, as in a little more that my usual once in a few months style. I read a couple of Roald Dahl books, and I was suddenly in love with books. I wanted to read something all the time. But then, the idiot I was, I listened to the advice of this older girl who said I should read some books which had real literary value (snorts) and not this sort of childish crap. And sooo, that is what I tried reading. God, I was bored to death. I tried reading these biographies and classic and i could not get past a few chapters. For a couple of years after that…I sort of lost the desire and drive to read and went back to the one-book-in-three-months system.
What I have now realized is that, back then, I should have first at least got used to the habit of reading before diving into other genres I had no interest in. It only helped in reducing the appeal of reading for me. Now, when I try out books of different tropes, it does not affect my love for reading in case I don’t like the particular book. Experimenting either makes me love more new tropes, or it makes me aware that I don’t enjoy some genres.
It might not happen with everyone, but I would still recommend that one should start experimenting after he/she has been reading for while at least.
This is something I’m sure a LOT of readers have experienced. When we start reading regularly, we suddenly fall in love with the process of buying new books. With these great deals and discounts we find on online book stores, it is much easier to get more books with the same amount of money. And it kind of becomes an addiction. We keep getting more and more books to fill our shelves irrespective of whether we read even a single one or not. That is what I mean by hoarding. Simply buying books for the fun of it and not reading them, or reading them at a VERY slow rate. I mean, for example, you get 5 books in a month and end up reading only 1 of those. Do the math. You read only 12 books out of the 60 you have bought in the year. It’s completely stupid (of course, unless you are uber rich and have lots of money to spend). It actually happened to me, until one day I realized what an idiot I was being and the money I was wasting. So for a few months, I completely stopped buying new books and read the ones I had purchased before. It also helped me save a ton of money!
I have nothing against purchasing new books. Hell, I love the feeling that courses through me after every book haul. But you’re not a reader if you simply own a lot of books. You have to have read those too.
So these are the few main pointers I have for a beginner. Feel free to comment or contact me if you want to talk more about this. Let me know how you feel about the tips, if you think they are useful or useless or if you have more ideas, I’d love to hear them.