How to read more
Reading comes easily to some people while others struggle finishing even one book a year. Regardless of whether you’re a natural bookworm or not, anyone can benefit from reading. How to read more even if you don’t identify as an avid reader?
1) Reading is a habit you have to develop
That’s right. Just like any habit we repeat regularly, reading is a habit as well. Consider physical exercise—it also comes easily to some while others have to force themselves, at least in the beginning. Regularity is the key. Binge exercising doesn’t work and although binge reading does for book worms when they fall in love with a book, most people usually aren’t able to read more than fifty pages in one sitting.
Therefore, rather than forcing yourself to finish the book during two evenings and failing because life interferes, set for reading a certain amount of pages every day. It can be ten, it can be twenty or fifty depending how much time you have and want to dedicate. It’s always better to start small to avoid developing aversion towards something that might seem like a task at first.
If you set for yourself to read for instance twenty pages every day regardless of how busy your schedule is, it doesn’t seem that much so it won’t scare your brain prone to procrastination. Don’t be an over-achiever when you start! If you read those twenty pages every single day, you can finish a 300-page book in fifteen days which means you can conquer two books a month. Not bad, huh?
You can also learn how to read faster. Coherent texts like articles, books and documents are read by untrained readers at a speed of only 200-250 words per minute, but reading is a skill which means you can develop it further. Try Legentas, an on-line course that will teach you how to read twice as effectively.
2) Read whenever and wherever you can
Always have a book with you wherever you go. It doesn’t have to be a physical book, of course, just make sure you have something to read whenever there’re a few minutes available. You’ll be surprised how many minutes in a given day are unproductive while commuting, waiting at the doctor’s or for your professor to show up for their lecture.
Forget about mindlessly browsing your phone and read books. Not only will you look intellectual while doing so on public transport, you won’t be that nervous when having to wait. And you won’t have to spend that much time reading at home!
3) Track your books and challenge yourself
Goodreads is a book database with social aspects. When you create an account, you can track the books you read and see other people’s reviews/ratings which is super helpful when deciding whether the book is right for you. You can also see what your friends are reading and join book clubs and various circles.
When using Goodreads, you’ll never forget the books you’ve read and you can create your own tagged booklists. And add books you wish to read in future! I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten about an interesting book someone recommended to me or pondered what to read next.
Another great function is the book challenge. Each year you can commit to read a certain amount of books and the site will remind you if you fall behind. Just be realistic when setting your goals. It’s better to start slow, read just one book a month and really stick to it.
4) Audiobooks count as reading too
Forget about old-fashioned people telling you that you have to read with your eyes only. Audiobooks count as reading too! Listening carefully is also a necessary skill to develop, especially at university where you have to listen to countless lectures and retain information.
While reading with your eyes is usually much quicker than listening to voice actors reading aloud, you can listen to audiobooks while doing something else like driving your car or cleaning which ultimately saves time. Listening to audiobooks is also helpful when you need to rest your eyes. Make your favourite tea, sit comfortably, close your tired eyes and just listen to a great book.
5) Paper books vs digital books
While most people still swear by the paper, the truth is that there’s no difference in information value when it comes to different types of book medium. Both digital books and paper books have their advantages and disadvantages.
Paper books have that nice feeling when you touch their pages but they’re often heavy and you can’t read them when light isn’t good enough. Digital books can’t convey that nice paper-feeling and distinctive smell but they don’t weight anything, except for the device you carry them in, and you can have thousands of them with you all the time.
Still, with digital books it’s better to buy a dedicated e-reader for two reasons: 1. Reading on your phone or tablet might be distracting with your friends texting you and urges to check the Internet. 2. E-ink screen behaves almost like real paper which means that e-readers don’t exhaust your eyes unnaturally.
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6) You don’t have to finish a book you don’t like
The last advice seems obvious but many people are actually struggling with this rule. Remember, you really don’t have to force yourself to finish a book if you it’s not your cup of tea! Make peace with the fact that the book wasn’t written for you and donate it to someone who might enjoy it. And immediately pick another one from your wish-to-read list.