Monday, September 20, 2021

How To Read A Book - Ten Important Tips

You may wonder why anybody would need suggestions on how to read a book. After all, isn't it just a matter of opening a book's cover and reading through the pages?

Well, yes. But while it might seem that simple, you can actually make the process more enjoyable -- or at least more of an adventure. One caveat: I usually don't read fiction. What I'm about to say applies mostly to non-fiction. So after decades of reading hundreds (if not thousands) of books, here goes:

1) Don't learn too much about the book or the author before you pick the book up. You don't wanna spoil the sense of discovery.

2) It's OK to read the brief dust cover notes about the book and the author but remember these notes and testimonials from others (usually on the back cover) are meant as an advertisement for the book. They almost always contain elements of hype and hyperbole.

3) Take note of any dedication the author has made on the opening pages. Authors frequently dedicate their books to people who are close to them and/or have helped them along the way. Such dedications often provide insight.

4) Don't skip the preface or the forward. Often, these provide an overview of the ground the book will cover.

5) Never check the number of pages of the book before you begin reading. If you've decided to read the book the number of pages shouldn't matter. Go for it!

6) Never skip ahead. Read every page in sequence, one after another. Don't spoil the journey.

7) Don't skim or "speed" read. Read every word of every sentence and every paragraph. Savor it all. In fact, linger on a sentence or two  And take some notes if you'd like.

8) Stay with the book and the author. Don't cast it aside before you've finished unless you really, really, really cannot go on for some compelling reason. Slog through it if you must but once you start reading a book, don't quit. Finish it.

9) Be patient. Reading a book is not like browsing the internet or checking your text messages. That's the whole point of engaging with a longer form. Sustained silent reading sharpens your mind, increases concentration skills and enriches your soul.

10) Take pride in fishing the book and knowing you're the better for it! 

If reading the book was really rewarding then it should lead to other books on the same or similar subjects. It's an infinite quest. You're on you way to reading paradise!

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