If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to read more, I hope you’re just blazing a trail right through a string of amazing books! If you fell off a little bit over the past few weeks, I hope I can help you get back on track.
First a few things about reading:
- Reading is, to the mind, what travel is to the body. It opens up a whole new world!
- Reading has been proven to help a GREAT deal in the prevention of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
- If you read inspirational books, they can help lift your spirits to new heights.
- As wonderful as books are, remember that reading is only as valuable as the books you read. Reading bad books isn’t really much better than not reading any books at all.
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read. – Mark Twain
How to Read More Often
If finding time for reading is an issue for you, I have a few suggestions.
- Keep a book near one of your favorite spots. For example, I’m almost always reading more than one book at a time. I’m always (and when I say always, I mean always!) in the middle of an Agatha Christie mystery, so I keep her nearby at all times. I’m also, at any given time, reading a cookbook or book about cooking/food, a historical non-fiction book (history buff), and a self help related book (usually to review for Self Help Daily). I keep the cookbook or food-related book in the kitchen, so I can read it during lunch or breakfast – sometime during the day when it’s just me and my cat Alexa dining. I keep the historical non-fiction book near my chair in the den, and the self help related book is kept by my bed. Wherever I happen to be, during the day, I have a book nearby. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to read a chapter, after all, and they can be slipped in at just about any given time.
- Fall in love with reading e-Books! Whether you have a Kindle or download books to your iPad or iPod, this is the ultimate way to keep your book with you at all times. I have a Kindle, but I also download books right to my iPad, so it’s convenient to keep Hercule Poirot with me at all times. In celebration of National Reading Month, Amazon’s Kindle is just $59, twenty dollars less than the regular price. Amazon is also the perfect spot to order your books – whether they’re physical books or downloadable books. Amazon also has you covered for the next suggestion…
- Two words: Audio Books. Audio books are a dream come true for a lot of people – people who are on the road a lot, people with attention spans that tend to wander, and people who aren’t just busy, but darn busy! You can listen to your book being read to you while driving, doing dishes, taking a bath, doing chores, etc. It’s still “reading” and it’s still gaining information and, when applicable, inspiration and motivation.
- Set goals. Pick a book you’d really love to read and set a deadline. Map out the number of chapters and the amount of time you’ll devote to each. Most people will rise up to a goal, even if it’s one they set themselves.
- Choose a reading buddy. Plan to begin reading a certain book with a friend or family member, with each grabbing their own copy of the book. People always watch tv shows and discuss them, why not treat books the same way? I’m in the middle of a WONDERFUL book, John Adams, by David McCullough and I often wish someone I knew were reading it as well. The topics of conversation would be epic. This book is available in every conceivable format on Amazon and, I just can’t possibly say enough good things about it. This is a book to end all books.
- Read about what interests you. I am a huge history buff, so I can’t get enough of historical books, biographies, and autobiographies. I’m such a history nut, I could read a History text book just for fun. And I have. Think of a subject (or subjects) that interest you, then search out books relating to this subject(s).
- Explore different Fiction niches and authors. If you don’t think you’d enjoy reading fiction, try a few different authors and even niches before you swear off fiction entirely. You’ll probably come across a particular author and think, “Now I want to read everything this author wrote!”
- Get a Library Card and Use it. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, you’ll probably find that visiting a library is just as fun as an adult as it was when you were a kid. More so, actually, because we actually LIKE quiet now. Library trips can be the most tranquil and relaxing part of your week – especially if you find a comfy chair or table and dive right in… to the chair and the book.
- Make Reading a Personal Retreat. Set aside a time where you grab a cup of coffee or tea and escape with your book. It’ll become a time that you look forward to each day.
- Get great ideas for books to read from book reviews. You can find killer non-fiction book reviews AND fiction book reviews online.
How to Get More Out of What You Read
To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting. – Edmund Burke
I actually asked the biggest book lover in the world to share with you her tips for getting the most out of books. Below is the advice from author, book reviewer, and book lover extraordinaire Emily Dill:
I have one main tip for non-fiction and one main tip for fiction. When reading non-fiction, my main tip for getting the most out of the material is TAKE NOTES. No matter what kind of non-fiction book, I’m reading, I take notes as I go.
Bob Harper book about exercise or nutrition? I write things down as I go.
A book about how to write an entire novel in the month of November? Take notes.
An Amen Clinics book about keeping your brain healthy? Yep, notes.
My main tip for getting the most out of fiction is to read in a quiet area. I know a lot of people brag about reading while the tv is on, kids are yelling, music is playing, and so on, but that doesn’t work for me. And it probably doesn’t work for most people either, because I can promise you they’re missing a few things in their reading. It has happened to me before – when I try to read in a loud or active room, I’ll end up reading the same page two or three times and still missing things.
So treat yourself and concentrate 100% on your reading – that book deserves your full attention!
I totally agree with the tip about taking notes! I am a note taker from way back. Writing something down helps you retain the information – it can also serve as a fantastic reference point, specially for long books or if you’re reading different books covering the same subject.
This actually brings me to another tip for getting the most out of reading. If you find a particular subject that you enjoy reading about, search out as many books relating to this subject as possible. Make a list of all the different subjects you want to learn more about. You can get inspiration for reading subjects anyplace – just pay attention to the things that spike your interest and follow through.
Here’s an example: My husband and I watched a GREAT mini-series on the History Channel, Sons of Liberty. Was this History nut ever in Heaven?!?! By the time the series ended, I had a LONG list of subjects I wanted to delve further into: John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, The Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin… and on and on.
Suffice to say, I have enough subjects to last several years!
My note-taking will really come in handy while reading through these fascinating subjects. I can cross-reference and see, for example, where George Washington was (and what he was up to) during the Tea Party, or what Abigail Adams thought of Benjamin Franklin… that sort of mentally delicious thing.
You should also pause to reflect on what you’ve read with fiction as well as non-fiction. Think back over the lessons that could be carried away from the characters, their experiences, their choices, etc.
A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. – William Styron
I hope this article will serve as inspiration to you in your quest for reading more and for getting more from your reading. Thanks again to Emily for her words of wisdom and experience.
If you have any reading tips of your own, please share them with us in the comments!
All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk. – Lemony Snicket
Also See: More quotes about reading.