I’m sure when you came across the term ‘reading ritual,’ you must have scratched your head.
Although the term has an obvious meaning — a set of activities before you get into the reading mindset — I reckon not many people follow a process before picking their reads.
Well, ever since I got into reading, I always followed a specific set of habits, or quirks, or as I like to call them, reading rituals before I stepped into the uncharted world of a new book!
However, the ritual I’m talking about is not connected with religion or culture. It is to do with the reading cult. I’ve always believed that all book lovers belong to a reading cult, and we, as a group of readers, have similar interests and dislikes. Or reading rituals!
So the intention behind writing this article is to share some of my reading rituals with my tribe and also hear from other fellow readers, what their reading ritual is like!
The first one on the list is obvious!
Background Music and Locked Doors
Yes, that’s precisely what I need to do before I start reading a book. I pace in my room, with a book in my hands, and my favourite tunes playing on my computer.
I read aloud – with expressions (yes, it gets dramatic) – that’d tell you why I need the doors locked. I become the central character and I interact with others, I feel the pain, I rejoice, and I live the story from page one to the last.
I started doing this years ago – probably because I was obsessed with multitasking. You see I do two things simultaneously – reading and walking. By the time I end up reading, I’ve also burned some calories.
Now this ‘quirk’ has grown onto me so bad I didn’t realise it has become a ritual.
I don’t know how many people read and walk (and enact). But there’s something about reading a great book out loud, hearing your words echo in your ears, and allowing yourself to get lost in a world you’ve created with your books.
Well, that’s how I read. And now I’ll share with you some more pre-reading rituals I follow before I start reading:
Bathtub and Scented Candles
How does reading in a bathtub whilst enjoying a nice relaxing bath sound? Well, you would think I’m crazy for doing this! But trust me, this works as a balm to my soul!
Some days I also incorporate a scented candle to create a more calming experience. For books that take you on an internal journey, this reading ritual is my favourite. But remember, you’ll need warm water to keep your body from shrivelling up like a prune.
Hot Beverage and Good Lighting
Who doesn’t love hot chocolate or a cuppa coffee or tea when sitting to read? We all do! But a reading lamp to enhance the lighting or some instrumental music to get in the mood is a bonus to your reading experience.
I always make sure the lighting is set right for me before I start reading, because a dim light gives me a headache, and a bright light is too overwhelming for my mood. I ensure the light is just right before I take a flight to faraway lands.
Cosy Bed and Soft Blanket
Well, I’m sure if I ever asked any of you what’s your reading ritual, this one would be the most common answer. And it is pretty much self-explanatory – who doesn’t love the comfort of a cosy bed? Many people, including me, have the habit of reading for at least an hour before sleeping and a cosy bed with a soft blanket works like a charm for them.
Bookmark and Reader’s Journal
Another reading ritual I follow is choosing a bookmark and a reader’s journal. Selecting a bookmark to go with a new book is thrilling for me – especially the reads I’m particular about. Some people also prefer keeping a dictionary next to them, but I don’t do that. I don’t recommend it either.
I personally like the idea of keeping a reader’s journal where you can write down the title or author’s name, any new word you came across, a thought-provoking quote, a funny dialogue, or a fact you’d like to check later, or simply an idea that fascinated you. And then check it out later after you finish reading. This helps you focus on the story and characters more than vocabulary. To be honest, if you’re glued to the story, and understand the context, you don’t need to fetch words in a dictionary.
So, that’s it. That was my list of reading rituals. Now it’s your turn to share your reading rituals with me. Do you have a particular pre-reading or post-reading habit, share it with us in the comments below!