No One

One thing I love about my parents’ house is not really the house. It’s its morning tranquility. Especially in the raining season when the morning you have is all gray.

There’s a soft humming sound of vehicles speeding on highways in the distance, chirpy sound of birds (one of these days, you only hear its sound, never the bird), the cool morning breeze billowing the drapes on the window and caressing my skin.

Despite the distant, constant sound of passing cars or trucks or whatever, it’s quiet and silent. It’s like when you open your eyes in the hour between five thirty to six thirty, you feel like you’re in a place where time stands still.

You feel rescued, saved, from the clamor of your everyday life. You become no one. Just a person lying idly on the bed, experiencing all this.

For a moment, you feel free from any imposing ideology, any code of conduct of society. You’re still. You’re clean. Those shackles around your feet, the idea of who you are, of who others think you are, torn off.

And you’re no one.

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For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of–to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others.

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

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How to read, read, read more books, Boloho!

When I blog-hopped the other day, I stumbled upon an interesting one and found this cleverly put lines:

Only the illiterate men and pigs that do not read books.

Ain’t that the truth?

It reminds me of the time when I was in college. I got this lecturer (whom I suspect a highly decorated Grammar Nazi) who insisted that her students must read days before attending her class. Then again, most of other lecturers do too, given our major was English Literature (but still, we were like most Indonesian back then, so anti-reading, so read-o-phobia). But this particular lecturer, she was the one who were the most vocal about it. She became famous (notorious?) for her jargon:

Baca, baca, Boloho!

Hence the title.

Yeah I know I’ve been talking too much about reading, and stuff, but guess what? Like it or not, here comes one more! (I don’t know who I’m talking to but I notice there’s a little traffic to my website so hello dear reader.)

Previously, I discussed about idea index as one of methods to read better. Now, I’m going to share my personal tips for getting more reading done. And before you go on, I think I need you to know that it’s a note-to-self kind of post, the “you” here actually addresses me myself, really. So, if you find me sounding a bit harsh or snobbish, please don’t take offense. I still want you to like me.

So, to read more books, you should:

1. Know what hooks you

Although there’s basically no bad books, not all the things that have been written on pages and published will catch your interest and life is, quite sadly, too short to read all the books in the world, especially the ones you’re not interested in.

Try to remember the last time you actually enjoyed reading a book. What kind book is it? Romance? Business? Drama? Thriller? Young adult or children book? Philosophy? Design? Comic book? Self-help?

When you know what kind of book that hooks you, you’re going to start from that. Go to a bookstore and browse the books under the category you think interesting. And when you think you find the one, buy it and start reading it that very day.

2. Make time

How do you have time to have a shower or play Angry Birds or update your Facebook status or watch porn? The answer is simple: you make time for it. And when you can make time for all of those things, you can for reading.

Don’t ever believe it when people say the reason that they don’t read is that they don’t have time. That’s utter bullshit.

If you think about it, there are always pockets of time you can use to read: during your commute to work, during your lunch break, when you’re taking a poop, during the moment before bedtime, etc., etc.

You see, one of the real reason why people don’t try to make time for reading is that they find it unimportant. Because when you consider something important, you’ll make time for it. Even Facebook CEO makes time for it. So why don’t you, you peasant?

And please, don’t you ever try to pull that “but I’m busy” crap.

3. Bring at least a book with you anywhere, anytime

You should not trust yourself enough, leaving home without at least a book in your bag or purse. You never know when you will stumble upon a pocket of time during your day. And when you do find it, read, read, read, Boloho!

4. Throw your smartphone away into the crater of an active volcano*

Or just stay away from it while you’re reading your book. Despite its immense benefits, smartphone can also be the ultimate source of distraction. Based on my experience, it rarely goes along with books.

For your reading habit, start learning how to ignore smartphone. Not completely, though. For starter, try cutting off the internet connection or putting your smartphone in the airplane mode. It’ll help.

Get this”Read a book instead” wallpaper from Austin Kleon for free.

And since you always bring a book with you, choose reading instead of checking your smartphone (unless there’s an Instagram likes, of course, geez).

*It’s just an expression but don’t you want to try for the hell of it?

5. Don’t listen to what they (or the voice in your head) say

Now that you make time for reading and you always bring books with you and you choose to read instead of checking your smartphone, people will think that you’re a dork, a geek, a nerd, or worse, a socially awkward person (but you’re safe when you got the face as perfect as Benedict Cumberbatch’s). Those are also the stuffs the voice in your head usually say to you (no, not about having a perfect face, no).

Well, don’t listen to them. Below is one of the seven lessons Maria Popova learned in seven years of reading, writing and running her Brain Pickings.

Maya Angelou famously said, ‘When people tell you who they are, believe them’. But even more importantly, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.

Listen to her instead, because she’s famous and she quotes Maya Angelou FTW. And remember, people who like to read are, in a way, cooler than they who don’t (although sometimes not necessarily better). Stick to that belief.

6. Use Goodreads as a reading log

As you go, you might want to keep record of your reading activity: what you read, when you started reading it and finishing it, and what is your opinion about it, etc., etc.

For this purpose, try Goodreads. It’s a social network dedicated for readers. You’ll find reviews, new releases, updates from the authors, forums, and more. Whenever you start reading books, put them on the currently-reading shelf. This will encourage you to finish the books and start new ones. It’s always exhilarating when you hit that “I’m finished” button.

You can also set a goal as to how many books you plan to read this year. It surely should motivate you.

reading-challengeSo that’s my tips. Please share yours, please.

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Further/more interesting reading:

How to read more — a lot more by Ryan Holiday.

How to read more by Austin Kleon.

Boloho is Sundanese for dumbass.