Reading is a very self-involved activity. It’s pensive, introspective, and ultimately a solitary endeavor. These rules are written from the perspective of a person, who, based on these ideas, believes that the primary beneficiary of reading is the reader -not their friends, parents, colleagues, or educators.
1. Don’t read bad books
I don’t necessarily mean books like Fifty Shades or Twilight -I mean don’t read books you weren’t meant to read. We find certain books and writing styles appealing because very often they hold something that we lack and sorely need in our lives. For example: I feel a lot of pressure to overachieve in school. It sometimes takes away from my ability to enjoy reading and learning for its own sake. Can you guess what my favorite book is? Hint: the protagonist drops out of school and runs away to live in a library.
2. Don’t feel obligated to read books you don’t enjoy
This is more or less an extension of rule no. 1. There will, of course, be times in your life that you have to read material you hate, usually for school. But that’s it. People who push the classics on other people are snobs, and people who push books they love on other people are jerks (usually one in the same). Read for yourself. You can’t grow from reading books that you’re not invested in, so don’t.
3. Be picky
If you’re anything like me, you probably have stacks upon stacks upon stacks of untouched books in your house. When I bring a book home and neglect it I means I, likely, had a lapse in judgment rather than a lack of time to read. Look for books that you feel you need and don’t buy anything else. I don’t care how cheap or pretty it is –just don’t. And here’s why: when you buy a book you don’t care for, you still feel obligated to read it, and reading bad books is a massive waste of your time. Plus: you can save your money for better books.
4. Make use of your local library
This rule is more practical than anything, and it will really help you with no. 3. It can take some time before I know that a book is a good book. If you can, check out a book from a library before you buy it. There’s no rush in a library, and no added pressure. If you like something, you finish it; if you don’t, bring it back. The same thing applies to books you can find and download online. (Adiós guilt-inducing stacks of unread novels!)
5. Read one book at a time
You’ll get through a lot more books this way. I don’t have an explanation for this one, just trust me.
6. Try to get something out of everything you read.
Write down the quotes that stand out to you. Write down any thoughts you have about the book, and especially write down anything that makes you feel understood. At the very least, underline it in your book. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) This includes books you’ve been forced to read. Here’s the thing: The compulsory texts are compulsory for a reason, and it’s because they have something good to offer, even if that something doesn’t necessarily appeal to you. You still have to read the book, so you may as well try and learn something from it, right?
7. Don’t be ashamed of what interests you. Just read
Try out a classic every now and again. The classics can be rather beautiful, if you give them a chance. The language they’re written in can be a bit of a barrier initially, but it will make sense with practice, just like any language. We regard the classics as classics for many reasons. The first of which is because they provide us with important philosophical insights that allow us to live our lives better. These can, of course, can be found in books that aren’t considered classics, per say. But the classics are a good place to start. You might have to do some digging to find one that suits you, but it’s worth the effort.
8. Break these rules
Don’t let me, or anyone else, tell you how to read. Find out what’s right for you and stick to it.
How do you go about choosing the kind of books you like?
YouTube Channel: Douglas Brown
Featured image via Deviant Art