For The Love of Books.

Sunny Bindra’s article “How to read 50 Books Every year” inspired this article. Books, another whole world inside the one we live. In his article, he wrote about how easy it is to read 50 books a year. I started setting book goals in 2015. I used to read, but not towards a target. Goodreads has a program whereby you read books and list them and share with your friends reviews & what they are about. There is also a book challenge to make sure you read the books you set to read for the year. There are other types of challenges, in different other book forums including some, which you are required to read a book from every category
My makeshift Library.
I picked a rather big challenge last year, and I started it somewhere in March.  I had never tried it before. But let me first talk about my reading culture. I started reading early in primary school. It is a culture that you build. A habit that you can work. Back in the day, after we came to Kirinyaga, we settled in a neighborhood that had not been supplied with electricity. The reason we had moved in the first place was the insecurity of our former location, which cost my parents a TV and a Radio (& a bicycle and two cushions – to sandwich the loot to reduce the noise). Those were the things burglars used to steal back then. So at the new home, the only pastime was reading. At the time, I was not sure I understood everything I read, but I picked the habit fast. Mostly comic books, which you could relate the words to the actions you see et al. the likes of Popeye, Phantom, Juha Kalulu… Later, I would experience the Ladybird series. The likes of Snow White and Tom Thumb.Then I advanced to the Primary Readers category – Storybooks like Moses, & Moses in a Muddle. Then came the Pacesetters, Story to Remember Series – The likes of Tom Sawyer, Gulliver’s Travels, Return of the Native, et al. Then the Set books which our school ensured we read pre – KCPE, then all the stories that were in the English & Swahili books immediately the new school books had been covered by dad, & later to trilogies, magazines, and online publications.
There was a time I used to read novels in class in high school. I did not say you do that. Newspapers, magazines, medical journals, I can read anything written in English. It is an addiction of sorts. I read because it is entertaining, it enlightens, it is stress relieving and also it’s among the coolest activities you can undertake by yourself. Bindra’s article comes at a time when I am on my second book of 2016. My target last year was to read 65 books. I never made it. Here are my excuses, I started the book challenge in March – by this time, and my commitment was not strong. Most of my year was also spent in flying school, and that was no easy task. If I could include my course books and presentations, I would have made it to over – 200 reading materials that year. So yes, that is my excuse.
2016’s Target.
It is possible to read any number of books you want to read. My target before the Book Challenge was one book a month as per the goals I had set for 2015 in January. That makes it to 12 books a year. If you decide to read two a month that makes it 24. A book a week makes it 52 books. In our current technologically enhanced times, I consider audio books as reads too. They are books as well. I read every time an opportunity arises. Most of my books are in pdf or Epub format meaning; I use Adobe Reader or Kindle for text & a standard audio player for Audio Books. Matatu time is book time. Not necessarily all the time but 90% of the time. The anti-social behavior you would say. It’s okay, once in a while I meet a person reading, and I take time off my book to converse with this new book lover I just met. So on an average day, I am assured of at least 2 hours of book time in traffic. On those bad times of the month when walking & water bottles are the only way to cover distances, audio books take me all the way to my destination. I read, at least, two books at a time. An Inspirational/ Motivational/ Life skills or any other name you may call them and a novel. Therefore, I can listen to a book all the way to town and then when in the banking hall, I will read from Kindle. Therefore, it is easy to understand. How do I pick my books? Recommendations are one way. Dad is part of the influence. We share a library, and it helps me narrow my choices & my friend Gad also. Reading Café on Facebook & #TwitterBookClub are other sources that influence book choices. Members recommend a book of the month, and we download it from there. Reviews on GoodReads as well. Then there are the lists that I collect in my day-to-day life. The Saturday Magazine of yesteryears used to review three books every week. I used to write the ones that interest me at the back of diaries. Some of those books I came to read over five years later. Random sources are books I see people read. Like one awkward title that I am yet to find, I saw a lady reading in a Matatu, and I was interested. ‘Ten Stupid Things Women do to Mess up Their Lives’. Asking for the book would have sold me out, so I decided to find out what the content was on my own.
Anything that can be read.
Just like a football fan will have time to follow all the matches, reading a book is the same way, a lover of TV shows that last for hours will create time, and that is the same with any other hobby. Sometimes back, after we acquired a TV, I used to sit hours on end in front of the thing. Watching everything including Aljazeera, back in the day when Unjiru TV would broadcast with a cloth as their backdrop. Somehow, I started hating it, and when I moved to a place of my own back in 09, I have been procrastinating the purchase of a TV and to this day, there is none. Magazines are scattered all over, books piled on one corner another corner is scattered with scripts and rough drafts of articles. Writing is an entirely different story, though. This year I intend to read just 52 books, countless magazines, and numerous blogs & articles. Last year’s target was a bit far-fetched I think.

 

My first book that opened the year was ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Victor E. Frankyl & The Millionaire Next Door’ by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Man’s search for meaning is particularly interesting at this point in life, and that is why I found myself relating to the story. It is also a book outside my typical shelf. The millionaire next door is just as the title suggests. Lifestyles of valid millionaires vs. wannabes. I was not campaigning for bookworms or trying to force you to read. It would be nice though to have another book-loving friend, and we can discuss issues like why someone would for instance want to identify ten stupid things women do and then feed the same ten stupid things to both women and men. Does that statement even make sense? You might want to get a book this year.
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