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14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit



Leo Babauta

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham

Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.

Other than that, try these tips to cultivate a lifetime reading habit:

  • Set times. You should have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone). And if you also read every time you’re sitting on the can, and when you go to bed, you now have four times a day when you read for 10 minutes each — or 40 minutes a day. That’s a great start, and by itself would be an excellent daily reading habit. But there’s more you can do.
  • Always carry a book. Wherever you go, take a book with you. When I leave the house, I always make sure to have my drivers license, my keys and my book, at a minimum. The book stays with me in the car, and I take it into the office and to appointments and pretty much everywhere I go, unless I know I definitely won’t be reading (like at a movie). If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s office or at the DMV), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time.
  • Make a list. Keep a list of all the great books you want to read. You can keep this in your journal, in a pocket notebook, on your personal home page, on your personal wiki, wherever. Be sure to add to it whenever you hear about a good book, online or in person. Keep a running list, and cross out the ones you read. Tech trick: create a Gmail account for your book list, and email the address every time you hear about a good book. Now your inbox will be your reading list. When you’ve read a book, file it under “Done”. If you want, you can even reply to the message (to the same address) with notes about the book, and those will be in the same conversation thread, so now your Gmail account is your reading log too.
  • Find a quiet place. Find a place in your home where you can sit in a comfortable chair (don’t lay down unless you’re going to sleep) and curl up with a good book without interruptions. There should be no television or computer near the chair to minimize distractions, and no music or noisy family members/roommates. If you don’t have a place like this, create one.
  • Reduce television/Internet. If you really want to read more, try cutting back on TV or Internet consumption. This may be difficult for many people. Still, every minute you reduce of Internet/TV, you could use for reading. This could create hours of book reading time.
  • Read to your kid. If you have children, you must, must read to them. Creating the reading habit in your kids is the best way to ensure they’ll be readers when they grow up … and it will help them to be successful in life as well. Find some great children’s books, and read to them. At the same time, you’re developing the reading habit in yourself … and spending some quality time with your child as well.
  • Keep a log. Similar to the reading list, this log should have not only the title and author of the books you read, but the dates you start and finish them if possible. Even better, put a note next to each with your thoughts about the book. It is extremely satisfying to go back over the log after a couple of months to see all the great books you’ve read.
  • Go to used book shops. My favorite place to go is a discount book store where I drop off all my old books (I usually take a couple of boxes of books) and get a big discount on used books I find in the store. I typically spend only a couple of dollars for a dozen or more books, so although I read a lot, books aren’t a major expense. And it is very fun to browse through the new books people have donated. Make your trip to a used book store a regular thing.
  • Have a library day. Even cheaper than a used book shop is a library, of course. Make it a weekly trip.
  • Read fun and compelling books. Find books that really grip you and keep you going. Even if they aren’t literary masterpieces, they make you want to read — and that’s the goal here. After you have cultivated the reading habit, you can move on to more difficult stuff, but for now, go for the fun, gripping stuff. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown … all those popular authors are popular for a reason — they tell great stories. Other stuff you might like: Vonnegut, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Nick Hornby, Trevanian, Ann Patchett, Terry Pratchett, Terry McMillan, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All excellent storytellers.
  • Make it pleasurable. Make your reading time your favorite time of day. Have some good tea or coffee while you read, or another kind of treat. Get into a comfortable chair with a good blanket. Read during sunrise or sunset, or at the beach.
  • Blog it. One of the best ways to form a habit is to put it on your blog. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s free. Have your family go there and give you book suggestions and comment on the ones you’re reading. It keeps you accountable for your goals.
  • Set a high goal. Tell yourself that you want to read 50 books this year (or some other number like that). Then set about trying to accomplish it. Just be sure you’re still enjoying the reading though — don’t make it a rushed chore.
  • Have a reading hour or reading day. If you turn off the TV or Internet in the evening, you could have a set hour (perhaps just after dinner) when you and maybe all the members of your family read each night. Or you could do a reading day, when you (and again, your other family members if you can get them to join you) read for practically the whole day. It’s super fun.

Filed under: Reading Tips,

National Library Week 2008: The Hindu report 10/12/2008

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
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School Notes

Library week

The importance of developing library search techniques by the students was emphasised during a National Library Week celebration held at the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, in Thiruvananthapuram recently.

The occasion was marked by various programmes organised by the school library and the Readers’ Club. M. Lalitha, librarian, State Council for Educational Research and Training, inaugurated the programme.

Noted Hindi poet and Kendra Sahitya Akademi award winner Dr. Rati Saxena interacted with the students in a ‘Meet the Author’ session. The poet explained to the students the various nuances of creative writing and publishing.

A book fair in collaboration with DC Books provided students with an opportunity to see and purchase some of their favourite books. Competitions in reading, book review and spot poetry were also held.

Vimala Menon, noted children’s writer and activist, was the chief guest at the valedictory function.

The function was also attended by Cicy Roy Mathew, Principal.

Filed under: Reader's Club

Legislature Library Visit

Fifty  students of the Library Reader’s Club visited the Kerala Legislature Library, Secretariate , Thiruvananthapuram on 10th Dec. 2008.

They also witnessed the Assembly proceedings of the day and visit the Legislature Museum.







On December 10, 2008, the members of readers club visited the Kerala Legislative assembly. It was a dream come true for the RC members who  had the golden opportunity to visit the legendary assembly building of our state and to see the assembly in session.

About 50 students from both first and second shift participated in the venture. We got the chance to enter the visitor’s gallery and the proceedings of the assembly unfolded  right in front of our eyes. We attended the question hour session where a heated argument took place between the ruling and opposing teams. As a  result the opposition team walked out to mark their their protest.

We also had the chance to visit the LA library. It has a huge collection of books which includes various journals,bound volumes of assembly proceedings till date, govt gazettes,and also reference books. Very rare government documents are the proud possession of this library.

From  the library we went to the assembly museum where various precious artefacts are preserved. We saw numerous paper clippings of the important events that occurred in the past centuries and also the personal belongings of our former leaders.

The trip to the assembly was really enjoyable and informative. To see our lawmakers live in action was pulsating.we enjoyed the maximum and are glad that we could feel the pulse of our politics…………….




Filed under: Library visits, Reader's Club

Asianet Programme on Library


“Right Click”


Asianet Television

at 10.30 p.m. on 07/12/2008 , Friday.

Filed under: Library in the News

Innocent Man: Review


The book the confesses the innocence of Ron Williamson who is accused of a murder in the town of Ada.Debbie Carter is a cocktail tendor who is found murdered in an apartment one night.Ronnie who has failed very badly in his is at last being accused because the cops didn’t find the real culprit.This was mainly because Ron was druggist,drunkard and a women chaser.He proved his excellence in baseball in his younger age but loses touch as he grew older.He is being sent to jail for 11 years for a murder which he has not commited.John Grisham has explained Ron’s excellence in Baseball too much.That is one of the worst drawbacks of this book.Any reader will lose interest in the book.But if u skip those pages your interest will be regenerated.It is a very good book which u should read and enjoy!!!


Reviewed by


IX D (Shift-I)

Filed under: Reviews by students

The mouse hits 40-year milestone

By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News



The humble computer mouse celebrates its 40th anniversary today.

On 9 December 1968 hi-tech visionary Douglas Engelbart first used one to demonstrate novel ways of working with computers.

The first mouse that Dr Engelbart used in the demo at the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC) was made of wood and had one button.

Much of the technology shown off in the demo inspired the creation of the hardware and software now widely used.

“It was a good show, but it was all real,” said Dr Jeff Rulifson, now director of Sun’s VLSI research group but in 1968 architect and lead programmer for the software shown off at the FJCC.

Rob Skitmore of the London Science Museum predicts the mouse will remain a dominant force despite new technologies such as touch screens.

Pioneering work

A day of celebration is planned in California to mark the 40th anniversary; with many of the researchers behind the original demo reunited to mark the event.

The mouse, which was built by Bill English, helped Dr Engelbart demonstrate how text files could be clipped, copied and pasted as well as showing ways of using computer networks to collaborate on projects or co-edit documents.

Dr Rulifson joined the group that Dr Engelbart assembled at the Stanford Research Institute in California after meeting the charismatic engineer while attending the FJCC in 1965.

Douglas Engelbart, Stanford Research Institute

Douglas Engelbart had a clear vision of how computers should help people

“I met Doug and got thoroughly enchanted,” Dr Rulifson told the BBC.

“I really understood what he was after. I was blown away by the ideas.”

Dr Engelbart wanted computers to act as helpers that augmented human intelligence and enabled people to operate far more efficiently and productively than they would without such tools.

The 1968 demonstration showed off the computer system, called NLS, developed to put these ideas into practical form.

Most of this, said Dr Rulifson, had to be invented by the team at SRI.

“There were bits and pieces all around,” he said. “There was no completely unique set of ideas but we pulled it all together.”

Although the mouse was central to what NLS could do, said Dr Rulifson, there was more to what Dr Engelbart wanted to achieve.

“I think people get fixated on the mouse,” he said. “It’s a symbol they can hang on to but the idea behind it was this idea of putting text into NLS and giving it an entirely new flexibility.”

“We had full text editing and hyperlinks – the mass of what we use today,” said Dr Rulifson.

In the 1968 demo Dr Rulifson was at the SRI Lab and appeared on screen in Brooks Hall auditorium while helping Dr Engelbart to show how co-workers could use NLS to collaborate.

The demo was so far ahead of other uses of computers at the time and the technology on show was so powerfully convincing that one attendee later likened Dr Engelbart’s efforts to “dealing lightning with both hands”.

Command set

Not only did NLS impress the audience at the FJCC, but it also became the first program scheduled to be used across the fledgling Arpanet that was just being built. NLS is mentioned in the first RFC – the technical documents that describe the workings of what we know today as the internet.

In 1969 SRI, along with UCLA, was one of the two ends of the first link in the network that became Arpanet – and ultimately the internet.

Sadly, said Dr Rulifson, NLS did not win enough people over to become the essential tool that Dr Engelbart envisioned.

“I think what happened was that Doug was very focused on extremely powerful systems for extremely highly-trained people,” he said. “NLS had 500 single key commands.”

Learning how to use NLS was a formidable task that few took on – despite its potential.

Many of the people that worked with Dr Engelbart at SRI went on to Xerox Parc – another legendary lab in California where many contributed directly to the technologies that led to the personal computer revolution and the world wide web.

Only now is Doug Engelbart’s vision starting to be realised, said Dr Rulifson, and the world has yet to catch up with the ideas first aired in 1968.

“Half the vision has come along,” said Dr Rulifson. “We could see the day when these things would be small enough to carry about.

“But,” he added, “Doug was very frustrated with the stuff that grew up around the PC, because it’s too static and paper-like.”


Courtesy: BBC NEWS

Filed under: Article of the Week




“I never attended a creative writing class in my life. I have a horror of them; most writers groups moonlight as support groups for the kind of people who think that writing is therapeutic. Writing is the exact opposite of therapy. The best, the only real training you can get is from reading other people’s books.”

(Zadie Smith)

Filed under: Snippets

Are there toxic toys on your holiday gift list?

Toddler playing with toys

By Lisa Stein

Courtesy: Scientific American

Out shopping for toys for those special kiddies in your life who have been nice (and even naughty)? Be careful: Some of those would-be stocking stuffers may be toxic. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Public Citizen yesterday sued the feds to force them to order stores to remove tot’s toys and childcare products that contain toxic plastics called phthalates from their shelves pronto.

The watchdog groups charge in the complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is flouting “the will of Congress” by allowing retailers to stockpile and continue to sell products from dolls to rubber ducks containing the chemicals after Feb. 10 — the date a federally mandated ban on their production and sale is set to take effect — as long as they were manufactured before the deadline.
“Overwhelming evidence led Congress to ban these toys, a ban that some retailers have already started to adopt. The CPSC decision completely undermines those efforts by allowing banned toys to sit on the same shelves as the safe ones,” NRDC scientist Sarah Janssen said in a statement. “Parents want to know that the toys they’re purchasing are safe. It’s not too much to ask.”

Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics in toys and many other common consumer products, including some teething rings. Exposure to them has been linked to decreased production of sperm and the male hormone testosterone as well as to malformed genitals in newborn boys.

President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act into law in August. The measure, which sailed through the House and Senate, bars the sale and production of toys and childcare products containing certain phthalates and lead (which causes brain damage) after Feb. 10. The same phthalates were outlawed in European toys nearly a decade ago and other countries, including Argentina, Japan, Israel and Mexico, have since followed suit, according to NRDC and Public Citizen. Several major retailers announced they would stop selling toys containing the chemicals by the end of this year.

The suit was filed just days after the CSPC reportedly agreed to a request from lawyers for unidentified biz clients to ban production but not the sale of toys with phthalates after Feb. 10. By interpreting the law that way, the consumer watchdogs complain, the commission is allowing manufacturers to churn out toxic toys right up until the deadline – and then sell them to unwitting consumers as long as supplies last.

“It is horrifying that the federal agency charged with protecting consumers,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, “is telling the industry it can dump chemical waste on toy-store shelves. It’s not only immoral – it’s illegal.”

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Filed under: Article of the Week

On Club FM


“Kalakkan Recharge” at Club FM 94.3 between 07.00-10.00 a.m. on
06/12/2008, Saturday.

Filed under: Library in the News

Cyber Quiz


1. The WANK Worm is considered by many to be the first major worm to have a political message. Expand WANK.

2. The world’s first touch-screen Blackberry is called…?

3. Name Yahoo’s European comparison-shopping site which it sold off recently.

4. Name the online broadcasting site in which a 19-year-old man committed suicide, egged on by viewers, leading to a big issue on the online space?

5. Brian Gladden is the CFO of…?

6. Name the second expansion to the mega-popular online game World of Warcraft, which broke the one-day PC game sales record with sales of 2.8 million copies.

7. Yahoo! has now taken to the US its experimental visual display of search results that it launched in India in May. Name it.

8. What is the capacity of Samsung’s latest solid-state drive which becomes the largest-capacity SSDs found in laptops today?

9. Name Google’s Web-based virtual environment, launched in July, that the online giant is shutting down.

10. Name the new Guns N’ Roses album that had an online debut on the band’s MySpace page on November 20.


1. Worms Against Nuclear Killers

2. Storm

3. Kelkoo


5. Dell

6. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

7. Glue Pages

8. 256GB

9. Lively

10. ‘Chinese Democracy’

Courtesy: V.V.Ramanan, Business Line

Filed under: YW-Cyber Quiz,


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