Write Minds.Write Matters
A monthly column by Alexis of her thoughts on things that matters to her. It may be funny, serious, both, neither or some combinations of those. "My thoughts are my own - the only thing I really own."
Follow her on Instagram (@alex.is_imm).
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it. ~ Oscar Wilde
[ Translated Chinese version here 中文翻譯在此 ]
“ What makes you read so much? ”
Quite simply it is my version of FOMO (fear of missing out).
There’s this hunger, or should I say fear within me that compels me to learn as much as I can about the world and the people inhabiting it. I read because I want to know the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of things, people and occurrences. I read because I want to know the stories of the oppressed, marginalized and vulnerable. I read because I want to know how the world came to be what it is today. I read because I want to make sense of this crazy world. I read because I am trying to find out how to fit in. I read because I want to find my place in this chaotic world. I read because I want to feel emotions that are deemed taboo or controversial. I read so that I can escape from the mundane world into a possibility-filled one. I read so that I can be anyone but me.
A long time ago I learned that I can lose everything I own in just a blink of an eye. And the things that no one can take away from me is what I have inside my brain - the things I’ve learned, the memories I’ve made and the experience I’ve gained. And reading was one of the ways I came to accept my sexuality. Growing up in Singapore and Malaysia, anything that’s remotely LGBT-related was removed or limited to the public including books. Any other shades of sexuality, except hetero were erased or denied. Then Japan happened. I got my hands on books from Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson, and read The Well of Loneliness, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Rubyfruit Jungle, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, The Price of Salt, and many many more books and articles by and for lesbians.
Reading relaxes me. Reading nourishes me. Reading centers me. Reading heals me.
I was and still am a ferocious reader. Also, I am very much guilty of “Tsundoku”. After lodging and food, books are my third largest expenditure. Most of the time I buy physical non-fiction books while I read most fiction electronically. There are always more than 10 books waiting to be read on my shelf yet there is always room for one more book. And don’t let me start talking about my electronic book collection.
These days I am using Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) to help me keep track of my readings. Every year I will give myself a goal of reading 100 books which I used Goodreads to help me monitor. Most of the years I managed to hit that centennial target but not without some cheating. I padded the number by reading comic compilations and poetry books. These are easier to read and can be picked up quickly where you left off.
So are you ready to start reading? Here are my four reading tips to help you read more books:
Read what you like. Don’t read a book because someone said you should. Read because you want to. Read because you are curious about what the author has to say. Read because you wanna learn from the author(s). There are so many books in the world there bound to be one, two, or more that will pique your interest.
Give up if you don’t like it. No one says you have to finish a book after you started. Sometimes it’s the way the author writes. Sometimes it’s your current mood or state of mind that prevents you from concentrating. If after a few pages and you still don’t “feel it”, then stop and move on to another book. Don’t feel guilty about not finishing a book. You can always come back to it later.
Not just books. There are so many reading materials for you to choose from, both physical and electronic. Magazines, comics, news, fanfictions, blogs, online articles, and many more. Heck, you can even read recipes and user manuals if they are what you like!
Do it consistently. Reading is a habit. Reading is a hobby. Do it every day, every week or every month. Just do it, even if it is just a few pages at a time. The brain is just a muscle that you should exercise regularly.
Are you ready to read? Are you excited to read? If you need suggestions, feel free to ask me or check out Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). On to the next book!
(Editor: Zac.) (Photo from Alexis; Column graphic: modified from www.pngtree.com)