2020 Reading Challenge

By Aneesah, 9 May 20

Last year, by the grace of Allah, I managed to read 40 books in the whole year. In 2018, the total was 26 books. This year inshaAllah the goal is 52 books (but I am already four books behind schedule, bahaha).

Regardless, I think keeping a book-reading habit is good for everyone. Even though we have Google, Wikipedia, and an abundance of online articles to answer every question you can possibly think of, not to mention a host of documentaries and movies on Netflix to learn from—there really is nothing like a good, physical book. (I have tried audio books, e-books and apps but am not a huge fan, sorry!) I’ve previously mentioned how books have helped in my motherhood journey. Now I think they are also guiding me in being a better human being by educating myself about the world.

A few tips to (re-)build your reading habit:

1. Read worthy books

Sure, the bulk of the books I’ve read were purchased from a certain well-known annual book warehouse sale, and understandably that limits your options quite a bit. But it helps when you’ve narrowed down what you are looking for: in past years I’ve specifically targeted quality Bahasa Malaysia books, or English fiction which have unique settings (eg. in history or region), or specific genres like parenting or personal development. I find that having a more purposeful reading goal encourages you to progress rather than just buying books without ever getting them off your shelf again.

2. Read multiple books at a time

I was never one to do this, but I suppose it helps in adulthood because sometimes you just need a variety of intellectual stimulation. One fiction and one non-fiction is a good idea, or different books in different languages. Some books just call for slower “digestion” because of its weight and style. So instead of not having anything to read, you get to progress on your other, lighter book at the same time.

3. Track and share your books

I use Goodreads (the mobile app on my phone, and the browser on my computer). Other than marking what books I’ve already read, I also started tagging them, and adding books to my Want to Read list whenever I come across a recommendation somewhere.

Over time you will likely be known to be the one with books, so feel free to share and lend books to friends, and/or donate them to the library once you’re done. I am, thankfully, not big on hoarding books because I am a relatively practical person who does not wish to have the burden of moving books every time we move house. I am also thankful that my husband and I agree on investing in books–imagine the little money that the author actually earns from your purchase, when in reality the task of writing it must’ve taken so much of their heart and soul!

4. It’s OK to not read sometimes

I have phases of mental/physical fatigue and just don’t feel like reading anything. And that’s OK! Sometimes you might wish to check out factors like your eyesight (once, a pair of new spectacles sat too close to my face, and the lack of focus was enough to put me off reading or working on the computer). Or maybe you’re subconciously awaiting a more exciting book. Just take a break, watch all the shows and documentaries if you prefer, and get back into the game when you’re ready.

A good book is always out there waiting for you!

What do you think?

I think...