Reading is the only way of learning how to read well, and we all need to read well in today’s information society. For example, many don’t read what they sign, but as they sign it, they make a legal deal – I have met people who later find out that they gave their permission to a web site or forum to do things they don’t really want. They just didn’t read the “terms of service”, just agreed to something without knowing what it was.
Also, as you read, your understanding of verbal communication grows.
Reading is a writer’s best tool. As you read, you repeat words and sentences to yourself, over and over. Your subconscious takes it in, even when you are not even interested in what you read. You will get better grammar and vocabulary automatically, and also learn about writing styles. This isn’t worthless knowledge for non-writers, as it is good if we all know how to express ourselves in writing read more.
You will learn about the world too, as every writer writes only what they know – or believe to know – you will get a unique peek into another person’s mind and world. The more you read, the more you know.
Memory works in a funny way – the more you know, the more you will remember, because your memory has more association points to work with.
Intelligence and creativity work also the similar way. You will automatically use what you know to solve problems, and the more you know, the more solutions you have, and the more innovative solutions.
Also, most people don’t know what to do with their lives, because they don’t know what they could be doing with their lives. Every now and then, when watching the television, listening to the radio, or reading, you will come in contact with something that lights a bright spark inside you: “THAT is what I want to do, I’d like to try THAT!”. As you read more, and different kinds of books, the chance of finding your bliss grows.
So – how to read more books?
1) You don’t need to buy books to be able to read them. There are public libraries in most countries. If you cannot find anything in their large collections, they will be happy to try to find you the book you are interested in. Ask the librarian; she/he is your best friend.
2) Don’t just read books you think you’d like, books you know you like or books your friends like. Expand your mind a little and read prize winners and book club books. You will find all this information on-line, search with “literary award” and “book club”
3) See the book as an assignment, and set yourself a deadline. Divide the task into smaller pieces, like “a chapter a day” or “20 pages a day”, what ever feels manageable to you. Then you separate a time on your calendar for reading. An hour should do fine. See this reading hour as your favorite TV series. Every day at seven you will sit down, take your book and read, until the hour is over. Don’t do other things at this time. If you must, move the reading hour ahead in time, but not indefinitely.
4) Use the spare moments during your day for reading. Read as you take the bus to work, read when you stand in queue, or wait for an appointment to begin. Have the book with you all the time, so that when you have time, you can read.
5) Get yourself a good bookmark. Too much time is wasted in you trying to remember where you were, and trying to find the place. Also, don’t turn down corners of the book or mark your place with a pen, if it’s not your book. If you own it, you may do what you want with it, even write your reading notes straight into the book, but if it’s a library book, a stained, wrinkled and scribbled library book is not something I like to read. So – do everyone a favor and get a bookmark.
6) Keep a reading diary, in which you write the date you started reading, the date you finished and what you thought about the book. Write down interesting words, quotes you liked, and ideas you got when reading the book. You will thank me for this some 10 years later.
There are several on-line book diaries where you can do this, if you don’t want to write it down in a journal. It would be better, though, if you had a reading journal in the same format as your book, so that you can keep it with you as you read. It is easier to write down the thoughts when they appear, than try to remember them later on.