May 7, 2024

My Reading Process

 K asked me to write about my reading process. If you are a reader, I'm sure you would follow a process that's unique to you depending on your values, preferences, and idiosyncrasies.

Your reading process tells a lot about your personality. Let me share a few specifics of my process.

When I pick up a book, I read from the first page to the very last - yes, the preface, prologue, forward, epilogue, and acknowledgment pages as well !!

I feel compelled to finish the book cover to cover. The same holds for movies too. I don't advocate this practice, as I have wasted quite a bit of time watching boring movies, just because of this need for "completion"! But for books, I don't consider it a waste of time, as sometimes a boring chapter could be a temporary barrier to be crossedpost which there could be relevant insights in the latter chapters. 

If my interest in a book wanes off after a few chapters, I add the title to my "Books in progress" list. I don't add it to my "Books completed" list. I would feel a sense of guilt IF I say I have completed a book that I haven't.

I read at least 2-3 books at the same time. Depending on my mood at a given time, I pick up one of the books and read a few pages.

I read for at least 40 minutes every day - 20 minutes while having my cup of chai in the mornings and 20 minutes before sleep. The habit of picking up a book happens on autopilot during these times, until and unless I'm tired or busy with some other work.

I carry 2-3 books whenever I travel. I notice that I progress faster in my reading during vacation days. There are pockets of time when I resort to reading - the quiet mornings in a hotel room where you only have a corner and nothing much to do, the late evenings after a long day of roaming around in a new town/city, the waiting times in the airport/railway station, etc.

I always read a book, along with a highlighter or a pencil. I love to underline or highlight important lines or passages in a book. Many people read an entire book without a smidgen of ink on the paper. I don't belong to that category! At the same time, I don't write a lot on the margins, scribble, or put up colorful sticky notes. 

In the middle of the spectrum. No extremes, as always! 

I don't like to skim through passages having content that I'm already familiar with. I would still read them with the same level of focus. I also tend to subvocalize while reading, but it doesn't deter my reading speed.

I choose books based on the genres of my interest. Recommendations, Amazon reviews/ratings, and of course, price plays a vital role in my purchase decision.

My max cutoff price for a book is Rs.300. I rarely buy books beyond this price. 

Though I have a Kindle and have read many e-books, my preferred choice is a paperback any day. I find reading physical books more enjoyable than e-books. I have also observed that I retain the material more effectively when I read from a physical book.

I don't listen to audiobooks, as I find myself getting easily distracted without a visual medium. I prefer to read the words and learn. 

I love second-hand books. They are not only affordable but also provide the opportunity to connect with the previous reader in a subtle way - the underlined passages, earmarked pages, scribbled notes, or old bills inside the book.

I love to shop in cramped bookstores, with books stacked all over and very little space to move around. The dusty shelves, the aroma of old books, and the messy organization have their old worldly charm!

I prefer to gift books to friends and family. I prefer to receive books as gifts.

It bothers me a lot that the habit of reading books is on the declineI believe that a new idea/perspective doesn't stick when consumed in a 30-second reel format. It needs long-form content, dedicated focus, and convincing insights.

Our reading process is unique and special to us. There's nothing right or wrong about what we read, how we read, and how often we read. It just shows a glimpse of our unique tendencies.

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