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Opinions of Friday, 21 January 2022

Columnist: Abdul Rahman Odoi

Developing a reading rage

Many may start a book but do not get to finish it. Some have lost their reading pleasure. Others are still battling with growing a reading habit. No matter the constraints, consider the below recommendations made and, perhaps, your search for a reading rage would be realized.

Start Small And Simple: It’s beautiful when others unleash their reading rage. There are people who could read 75 books a year. I believe you would also want to mirror yourself with such an urge. But have in mind that they didn’t start reading voraciously just from the word go. There’s always a starting point in life. So, you can take to reading short articles and tracts, precisely 150-500 words.

After some time you can now move to books when you are assured that you’ve mastered the act of reading something small. As for books, don’t bother yourself much; there are powerful but small books on this surface of the earth. For example, “Who Moved My Cheese” (54 pages only) by Spencers Johnson M.D. etc.

Hard Copy or Soft Copy: For a starter, I would say you try the two. All have their positives and negatives. Most articles are readily available online. Chimamanda Ngozie’s “We Should All Be Feminist” is in a pdf format. Soft copies are often free. So if money is the challenge then PDFs are the ish. I started the reading journey with PDFs too, because I was always glued to my phone. So instead of chatting all the time, I channeled the energy into reading PDFs. But those ones with long pages are a turn-off for me. I did mostly PDFs with less than 100 pages.

Now that I have been reading hard copy books, I do feel hard copies are superior to PDFs. So the decision is yours. Maybe you would love both or would grow fonder of one than the other.

Read Your ‘Interest’: This is a perfect principle. Books have been written in every genre. Perhaps, you are into religion and comparative studies, music and dance, novels, plays, business, fashion, love, lifestyle, tourism, politics, history, science, arts and culture etc. Read where your heart belongs. If you love plays go for Moh Daud’s Chattel. But if you’re not the type that loves play, you would not want to go for such a book because, doing so would make reading very boring, and not entertaining.

Strategic Reading: We have the page or chapter reading strategy. It differs from other readers’ styles. Some have no strategies at all. And this is understandable. Most books are from 50-300 or more pages long. Before this style will work, for a starter, you would need to set a reading target. And be very disciplined. For instance, if you take to reading 5 pages a day for 50 pages book, in a week you would be done with 35 pages.

So in less than two weeks, you should be done. And if it’s 10 pages for a day then within a month, at least two books should go down. You can even target reading 3 pages a day. There’s no pressure at all. Remember the goal isn’t to race with one another towards finishing a book; rather everyone gets well-informed.

Reading Comprehension: Imagining reading something you don’t understand, how would you feel? You would only be recognizing the words and be skimming through them, but nothing would be there for reflection or retaining. So don’t just be in a haste to flip the pages; rather reflect on the words. If it requires to pause and seek assistance from a colleague who might have read the book, please do.

Once you understand what you read, the reading rage would steadily grow. Here, writers and authors come to play. They should make their works devoid of turgidity (loaded with incomprehensible words), which makes reading difficult. Read my article: ‘The Introduction of New Words And Turgidity’ for more insight.

Make Reading Fun. The reader shouldn’t be stiffened. It’s a book that one would read, not studying how to dismantle an atomic bomb. Get yourself some cookies or juice as you read. They won’t harm you; they would stimulate your reading pleasure. I know Maazi Okoro reads while listening to reggae. When the reading is made entertaining, you would realize that you could pause intermittently and be smiling or frowning at the protagonist or antagonist in the book.

Reading Out or Within: By this time you should know which way goes with you: loud or silent. Any of these two that which goes with you bring it into consideration. But if it’s reading out to yourself which entices you, then do so but not to the detriment of other people’s peace.

Join A Reading Club: They help in the resuscitation of a dead reading habit. They would assist you with books to read for a particular subject, and book reviews, where you would get to understand books from a wide range of other book lovers. Times that you would feel lazy to read, they would be there to hold you up. So get yourself a reading club. I know of three: Success Book Club, Mother Of All Nations, Ashiaman Bookclub. It is my fervent prayer that all towns and small villages would create reading clubs within their suburbs.

Fertile Reading Grounds: The venue for reading helps in making reading consoling. But it all depends on you. Some readers do read while onboard, some prefer to read on the balcony, others like the seaside etc. If you know you can’t read where other activities are ongoing, then you better choose your venue for reading wisely.

Scare The Vocabularies: New Words are going to come at you but don’t be scared. “You’ve to scare your scare”. Download an offline dictionary on your phone so that anytime you’re confronted by an unfamiliar word you would not flip and go, but would take a second to search for the meaning. Words have different meanings. Maybe what you have in mind could just be the literal meaning of the word, but more to it is what the author intended. And while at it you would get to add to your head a bucket full of new words.

Idolize An Author: If you’re asked about your favorite musician or footballer, it would not take less than a nanosecond for the answer to be given. Yes, the same energy should go for a writer or an author. Every author possesses a style that is special to him. Maybe you love authors with the tongue of the ancestors when writing, then you would have to be looking at Chinua Achebe, Ayikwei Armarh, Victor Amartefio, Kofi Awonor et al.