How To Become A Reader?

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
– Mark Twain


Photo by Corey Blaz on Unsplash
Photo by Corey Blaz on Unsplash
The other day, as I was wearing my socks and shoes, a gym buddy of mine asked, ‘Do you really read so much?’ I chuckled and replied, ‘Yes.’ ‘How?’ she asked. Then we had a couple of minutes chat before our trainer came in and I told her ways she could incorporate reading into her daily life. This conversation made me think that there may be so many people who want to take up reading as hobby but don’t know where to get started. So why not I write a post about it? I have 10+ years of experience of Reading, plus this year I have been reading like a maniac, so I do have a few things up my sleeve that might help you out.
Let me show you the way to enter the wonderful world of Books and Reading.


Why do you want to read? – This is the first question you want to ask yourself.
For entertainment? To escape? To live a world other than yours? To learn? To understand something better?
Knowing the answer to your Why will help you pick the right books to indulge in.
Plus, there are so many benefits to Reading that makes it so more important to adopt as a hobby:
  1. Reduces Stress
  2. Exercises your Brain
  3. Increases Knowledge
  4. Adds to Vocabulary
  5. Improves Memory
  6. Improves Focus and Concentration
  7. Brings Tranquility
  8. Improves Sleep
  9. Increases Empathy
  10. Beats Depression


Now, this is the big question – How? There are so many types of books. There are so many brilliant authors. And, of course, there is so little time. How do you do tackle Mission Reading?
Let me break it down for you, so that it doesn’t look and feel so overwhelming.


In the good old days, there were three broad categories – Play, Prose and Poetry. The Play and Poetry are more or less the same but the Prose has gone through a lot of changes through the centuries. I know what I’m talking about, people, I’m a English Literature Major.🤓


Now we have the following categories when we come to Prose, now known as Novels:
  1. Mystery
  2. Historical Fiction
  3. Thriller
  4. Science Fiction
  5. Romantic
  6. Fantasy
  7. Young Adult Fiction
  8. Children’s Literature
  9. Comedy
  10. Contemporary


These can be further broken down to sub-genre, which have now become genres of their own:
Mystery -> Mystery, Detective Fiction, Crime Fiction, Whodunnit
Thriller -> Thriller, Espionage Thriller, Adventure, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Gothic, Supernatural
Romantic -> Romantic, Erotic, Romantic-Comedy, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Also, you’ll notice that genres can be mixed with each other. Therefore we have – Historical Romance, Historical Drama, Historical Mystery/Thriller, YA Fantasy, YA Science Fiction, Children’s + Mystery, etc. You’ll, most of the times, find elements of one genre blending into another. The more creative our writers go, the more genres we get to read.


Don’t get confused! It, again, comes down to your Why.
Want an action packed ride? – Pick Thriller
Want your brain to go bonkers? – Pick Psychological Thriller
Want to have sleepless night? – Pick Horror
Want to use your brain? – Pick Mystery
Want to feel gushy and mushy? – Pick Romantic
Want to visit another world? – Pick Fantasy
Want to play with Science? – Pick Science Fiction
Want to go back in time? – Pick Historical Fiction


Pick what you think will interest you. That will make it easy for you to read and develop the habit of Reading. Later in the post, I’ll recommend you some books to get you started. Don’t you worry, I got your back.😊


Here you have four medium of indulging in the act of Reading. They are: Paperback, Hardcover, Ebook, Audio Book. Let me give you a quick overview of all the four.


  • Most common format
  • Affordable
  • Easy to carry
  • Looks good on shelf
  • Easy on the eyes
  • Looks good on Instagram (*selfish self-promo time😜 – check out my account here)
  • Smells good
  • Easy to mark (*though I don’t do this in my fiction books, I like them squeaky clean)
  • Treasure for Life
  • It’s made out of paper – it can tear and water is its enemy
  • You might like big books and you’ll not lie but they’ll be heavy
  • You’ll need a place to store all your paperbacks
  • You’ll need a big bag to carry all your things AND the book
  • You’ll be carrying one book with you (*until and unless, you turn into a voracious reader because of reading this post – muahahaha😈)


  • Most good looking format
  • Therefore, looks good on shelf
  • and on Instagram
  • Smells good too
  • and easy on the eyes too
  • Lifespan of cover and book is longer
  • HEAVIEST – be prepared to have amazing biceps
  • You might need taller shelves
  • Expensive


  • Easier to carry
  • Hundred, if not thousands, of books in one e-reader
  • Cheap
  • Can read anytime – day or night
  • Not good for eyes
  • Another device to charge


Audio Books
  • Easiest to carry – always in your phone
  • Can be used on the go
  • Good when multitasking (*though I wouldn’t suggest this, will explain in Cons)
  • Have someone read you a bedtime story (*it might be your favourite celebrity, just saying)
  • Another app for your phone
  • Distracting when multitasking – nor you’re fully into your task nor into the book


Hopefully, this will help you choose which format works for you. I personally prefer Paperback and Ebook.


Not many think about this, neither did I, but when starting to just pick up Reading as a hobby you should keep the length of the story in mind too.
When going down into the Reading rabbit hole, you’ll find there are four kinds of lengths when it comes to fiction.


They are:
  • Short Story – under 7,500 words / approx. 25 pages
  • Novelette – 7,500 to 17,499 words / 25- 60 pages
  • Novella – 17,500 to 39,999 words / 60 – 130 pages
  • Novel – 40,000 words and over / 130 pages and over
When starting off, you absolutely don’t trust yourself as a reader, as the person who’ll complete the book, I would suggest start small. And if you trust yourself, then you can start of with an average sized novel, i.e. 60,000 – 90,000 words / 200 – 300 pages.


It’s the same with Beyoncé, Oprah, Queen of United Kingdom, David Beckham, Kevin Feige, Robert Downey Jr., JK Rowling and You. 24 hours. You might say to me, ‘Rubina, I already feel like I have less hours in my day. How will I put in extra time for reading?’ Well, this is how you do it.


Have a two-hour commute to work? – Instead of spending the whole time scrolling through the phone, spend one hour to read, because let’s be real we are addicted to social media.😝


Read a couple of pages before to get off of bed and before you go to sleep.


Have a few minutes between lectures? – Squeeze in a couple of chapter’s read in between. I was one of those crazy readers who would keep her novel in the text and read during the lecture is on. If your book gets confiscated, don’t blame me!😁


Want to avoid people? – Put earphones on with/without music and put your head into a book, act as if you can’t listening what others are saying or see what they’re doing around you.


Don’t get time to read during the weekdays? – Binge read during the weekend.


If you want to make Reading a habit, you’ll make time for it. Start with a couple of pages or a chapter at a time and grow your capacity from there.


Quick note – I read my first book (366 pages) in six months. Now I can finish 300 page novel in two-three days, sometimes even a day and half. This didn’t happen overnight, took me ten years. Have patience.😊 Also, a good book will make you read it, you’ll never need to force yourself. Such books will finish way quickly than others.


This may not be necessary all the time, I sometimes do without them, but there are things that can increase the enjoyment of Reading.


Here we go:
  1. Peace of mind/Mindset
  2. Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate/Water/Drink of your choice
  3. Chocolate or some snack (*Proceed with caution here, you don’t want your fingerprints on the book – THAT’S A SIN)
  4. Music
  5. Scented Candles
  6. Comfortable reading spot of your choice
  8. And whatever you feel like which will make your reading life easy.😊
Don’t feel the pressure to do everything in this list. You can do without them too. I sometimes just have the mindset and the bookmark. There’s not set rule here.


“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles W. Eliot


Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
As I said, there’s no set rule but then there are some things that you should keep in mind while taking up Reading as a habit.


  • When you sit down to read, try and keep calm and distance yourself from reality. If you are not able to it in the beginning, don’t worry. Start reading and Reading will help you do it.
  • Try and keep a designated time and/or number of pages to be read in a day. That will make it easier to tackle the book. I aim for 4 books a month. So, when I pick a book up, I’ll divide the total number of pages by 7 (*to complete in 7 days) so that I know how many pages a day I have to read to complete the book in a week.
  • Always use a bookmark. No folding the corners into dog ears or marking with pen/pencil – That’s cruelty against books.
  • Join Goodreads! It’s this amazing website for book lovers to keep a track of their reading. You can make friends too and share thoughts with them. (*Want to be my friend? – You can find me here 😊)
  • Borrow books if you can’t afford. Libraries, friends, free books online – you can find books here. And whenever you borrow take care of the book and don’t, for the love of God, disfigure it.
  • Give your books to others who you trust will take care of the book and will return on time. Spread the love of Reading everywhere.
  • Join Instagram and enter the amazing and absolutely friendly world of #bookstagram! (*look up this hashtag, you’ll understand what I’m talking about)
  • Take you time while reading a book. You want feel engrossed in the book. If, for some reason, you don’t feel connected to the book, you can drop it for the time-being and pick up another book. My rule is if the book and I don’t become friends within 50-100 pages, I understand we’re not meant to be and move away.


  • Don’t stress yourself and/or feel guilty if you’re not able to read and even miss a couple of days. It’s okay and it’s human. Take a break and come back at it again.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other readers. Walk your road at your own pace, your own likes and dislikes, your own way of looking at things.
  • Don’t compare authors. Like no two readers can be same, no two authors can be same.
  • Don’t put up harsh reviews online. And please, for the love of God, don’t tag the authors in those posts. Authors spend hours coming up and writing a story. Writing a book is a hard work, especially since it’s a mental job – all’s in the head. Give constructive review explaining your thoughts. If you feel that’s too much waste of time and you didn’t like the book AT ALL (*it’s okay, it happens), don’t write a review. Not all books are for all readers.
I also reached out to my friends over at my Instagram and asked them what are the do’s and don’ts according to them. My gratitude to each one of them! Here’s what they had to say:


Dhruv (@andabhurji) –
Know your comfort genre.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, author or movie.
Don’t be afraid to try out new authors.


Richard (@richardstone64) –
When just starting to read, go for easy books to read.
You can give books called Quick Reads when starting. They are short books by leading authors and they introduce new readers to the reading.
Don’t be afraid to read children’s books.
Don’t try reading a complex detective novel straight away. (Or any complex novel, for that matter)
Don’t force yourself to read quickly. A few pages here and there is fine.Remember that reading is not a race, it’s a hobby with no time constraints. Go at your own pace, not at anyone else’s.
Use library, this is essential. You can look and read at a range of fiction and non-fiction.
If you’re struggling to read, find a book buddy. Ask them to help you learn and develop.
Above all else, whatever you read, enjoy reading.


Kim (@booked4life) –
Even if you only read one chapter a day, that still makes you a reader! Do not let this discourage you from continuing to read.


Janelle (@shereadswithcats) –
Figure out what interests you and go from there.
Also, figure out if you like background noise or zero distractions.
And always find a comfortable spot you want to spend time in.


Think on what kind of book you’d like to read. Don’t dive in too deep before getting a feel for something of interest.
Read, don’t study it.
Enjoy what you’re reading without pressure.
When it comes to writing a review, don’t panic! You don’t have to write long, winded reviews that reinforce the blurb. You don’t have to retail what it’s about, do not ruin it for others. Say how you enjoyed it and why. How did it make you feel. If you didn’t enjoy a book, remember that’s YOUR experience of the book. If I get a reply saying, “Oh! If you don’t like it then I won’t too,” my reply is, “Hold on. You may like it. No matter if we have the same taste in genre, you may enjoy the way it’s written, etc.” All reviews are subjective.


So, where do you start? Here’s a list of books you can try out to get yourself started on the journey of becoming a reader. Please remember that this list is based on books I have read over the years and know are amazing reads. Do Google and Goodreads these books to know more about them and read their reviews to see if you’re meant to be together.
  • Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
  • The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (Mystery)
  • Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer (Historical Fiction, Drama, Thriller)
  • The Sky is Falling by Sidney Sheldon (Mystery, Thriller)
  • Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon (Mystery, Thriller)
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon (Mystery, Thriller)
  • Like a Hole in the Head by James Hadley Chase (Thriller)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri (Children’s Classics)
  • Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella (Contemporary, Women’s Fiction)
  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo (Historical Fiction, Crime, Thriller)
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Historical Fiction)
  • Stalker by Lars Kepler (Crime Fiction, Thriller)
  • Afterlife by Marcus Sakey (Science Fiction)
  • Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett (Crime Fiction)
  • Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan (Mystery, Thriller)
  • Midday by David B. Lyons (Thriller)
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson (Self Help)
  • How To Be A Bawse by Lilly Singh (Self Help)
  • On Writing by Stephen King (Writing)
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Self Help, Writing)
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (Self Help, Writing)


Reading is a pleasure. Reading is fun. Reading is a life-saver. No matter why you choose to read, that is the right decision for you. No two books will give you the same experience and even when you re-read a favourite after a long time, you’ll have something new to experience. You will find the best of friends, both inside the books and in the reading community. And once you find solace in Reading, that would be the best gift you would’ve given yourself.
So, as 2018’s about to bid adieu and 2019 say bonjour, give Reading a try. If, for some reason, you feel like you need help or motivation I’m always here. You can find me over at my Instagram, write me an comment or DM and I’ll do my best to help. And the Bookstagram community is very friendly and helpful, so make friends with anyone you feel like and ask. We are all here for each other.
I hope this blog post helps you out and please let me know if it does. It makes me happy knowing I’m being of help.


Happy Reading!


“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” – Anna Quindlen


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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