I loved Michelle Obama's book Becoming. But this is not a review of the book. It is my journey of how i became a serious book reader or something like that.

A few years ago I had some time on my hands and so I ended up noting how many books I had read so far. I consider myself to be a voracious reader, reading everything from fashion blogs, news articles, biographies, fiction , car reviews and so probably everything under the sun. ( Reading everything “under the sun” may not be the best description, but i'll leave that for a later post ).

My analysis showed that I was able to jot down at most some 200 odd books. Now in all fairness I might have read more than 200 books , just that I don’t recall all of them. Mind you 200 odd includes all of the adult , young adult books of all genres i could recall. Seriously 200? And I have the audacity to call myself voracious, you say?

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So that brings me to the year 2017. The year i became a serious reader and ended up reading 25 books. These are actual physical books and not some small tidbits /blog/ flash news articles that i read.

HY2017 and i was down 18 books naively thinking that i could extrapolate the data and finish another 18 by year end to close a considerable 36. I had forgotten that i had an exam to give in October.

I failed the exam.

As bumped as i was on failing, i was happy nonetheless to get back to reading and finishing off two books that i had left in the middle. Diary of a young girl by Anne Frank, which was on my reading list for like forever and Capital in the twenty first century by Thomas Piketty.

So 2017 ended on a good note and i am glad to report i have averaged at least 1 book every month since then. Now for some 1 book/month might not seem much but for every book-lover out there who has thought of picking up a book and failed to finish because they were working 2 jobs, had night shifts, babies to feed, house to clean so on and so forth, you know what i am getting at.

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Which brings me to my main point. How did I manage to read so many books? most importantly how did i manage to get back to habitually reading?

Was I reading children books? Did I count RSS notifications as reading books? Did I add audible to this list. Answer is NO.

Now, I have been rightly accused of not seeing things off to their completion ( case in point my guitar lessons, french language lessons, lets open a small boutique and sell boho clothes ...etc ) . However with books no one has been able to accuse me of this crime. I have a different relationship with books to the extent that I don’t see the point of reading digital books. What’s the point if you cannot smell the pages, get excited on turning every page knowing you are getting closer to the climax and creating your very own mini library ?

Anyhow spoiler alert for those who are looking for a magic formula on how to be a voracious reader - there is none. Or at least i don't have any to offer.

For starters I had lots of time back in '17. I was unemployed, newly married settling in a new country with no friend and no extended family so no social life as well. In addition i am an MBA grad. How does that fit in? Two words - Time management. Even though i was a shitty student, i did learn how to operate on 4 hours of sleep and manage time well. With that said i have tried to jot down a few points that will hopefully help you on this journey to becoming a more avid reader.

  1. Wake up early.
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I wake up at 6 am. By the time its noon i am done with all the mind numbing chores like washing, cleaning , watering the plants and throwing out the trash. This is on a typical Saturday. This means my rest of the day is open to get lost in a book. 6 am is not be all end all however the sooner you wake up the more time you have to spend on things you love considering you get all the unexciting but necessary chores out of the way. This way you also don't have to be bogged down by your to- do list either. You can start by getting up a few minutes earlier each day and slowly progress towards hours.

2. Read on the go

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We have all heard our elders preach us not to read on a moving train, bus, hovercraft blah blah but for most of us public transport is more than few screws and bolts sewn together on a rickety wheel. Today they are sophisticated machines with air cons and most importantly great suspension. So little to no eye strain. I get around 1 hour travel time between work to home now because of which i was able to finish off some 14 books in later half of 2019. If you are a fan of audible or any such other service you are already a step ahead on this.

3. Increase your reading speed.

I am a fast reader. This is thanks to a few short classes i took while preparing for my MBA entrance exam as well as some very useful tips given by the famous human Guinea pig – Tim Ferriss. Check out this link below for more


4. Ghost of Netflix past

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By Netflix i mean any streaming service you are getting your daily dose of pop culture info or any other entertainment from. It can be difficult to go cold turkey on this one so i suggest making small changes. Instead of binge watching why not limit to certain hours per week. Try skipping the intro (unless it is Hasan Minhaj's- Patriot Act ) , skipping on songs (unless ofcourse its a musical ). If YouTube is your jam why not try upping the speed and using an ad blocker? Watching while nature calls or when you take a bath perhaps? How about when you are brushing your teeth? How about watching only specific shows and movies instead of all your beloved reruns or watching each and suggestions that these services throw at you?

5. Go old school

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Try switching back to Physical books. Audible et al are great services but for personal reasons that i mentioned above i like physical books better. More recently there have been some findings that show how physical books cuts off digital noise, reduces the temptation to get online and gives you a more immersive experience. You don’t have to deal with any notifications, no glare, no battery problems equals more time to read books. IMHO it's also more satisfying.

6. Get busy multiplying

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Not the math kind or even the biblical - multiply the earth kind; what i mean is reading multiple books at a time. I thought that this would slow me down or create chaos. Instead it has has done the opposite. This strategy has made sure i don't lose interest in the books that i read ( realistically speaking i wont be in a mood to read a biography every single day) which in turn helps me to finish off all the books. I usually start off 3 books at a time and make sure that they are all different genres. This has been a very surprising but effective tool in my reading journey.

7. Mind read

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This is one of the points that Tim Ferriss highlights which i have linked to in point 3. This is a tough one. We have all grown up learning to read this way. Reading in our minds. Be alert and try to unlearn this. Let your eyes roll over the words and lines quickly without mumbling it within your mind. Initially you will miss out on a lot of words but slowly your brains will catch up to the speed of your eyes. As you get better with this, you will be able to skip the articles, connectors and other such words without losing the essence or meaning of what you are reading.

8. Know when to stop

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Like all things in life it is important to know when to stop. I picked up a lot of books because it made some list or had rave reviews or lets get real had a very nice cover 😒. Over the years i have learnt it is better to let go of such books which make no sense to me or are too arduous to get immersed into instead of trying to complete it to get my "read" check mark. Case in point the famous book - Ulysses. 25 out of 933 pages down and i knew this is not something my brain could digest. I haven't picked it up since then. By doing so with this book and a few other that followed, i have come to realize that i have saved not only energy and time ( a very precious commodity ) but have given my mind & soul some breathing space to let in the better stuff.

I hope reading more is one of your new year's resolution and this was helpful. Let me know whats on your reading list this year . Happy reading 😊