It’s the weekend and chances are you are using it up doing 1-5 of the things mentioned in this article. Don’t. (Or at least do one less). I especially liked the tip on laundry. But read the article and see what I mean. Carve out your weekend for more Me time.
(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)
I’ve been reading less since the pandemic hit. For many reasons. It started to bother me, since the last few years I have been reading dozens of books each year. I felt I was failing. Then I read this: How to Read Fewer Books, from The School of Life.
I whole piece is good, but this part nailed it for me:
In order to ease and simplify our lives, we might dare to ask a very old-fashioned question: what am I reading for? And this time, rather than answering ‘in order to know everything,’ we might parcel off a much more limited, focused and useful goal. We might – for example – decide that while society as a whole may be on a search for total knowledge, all that we really need and want to do is gather knowledge that is going to be useful to us as we lead our own lives. We might decide on a new mantra to guide our reading henceforth: we want to read in order to learn to be content. Nothing less – and nothing more. With this new, far more targeted ambition in mind, much of the pressure to read constantly, copiously and randomly starts to fade. We suddenly have the same option that was once open to St Jerome; we might have only a dozen books on our shelves – and yet feel in no way intellectually undernourished or deprived.
What am I reading for: it’s a great question. I think there are many answers to that. To be content, as that suggests. Or to become an expert in an area. Or to pass the time. All are good answers, depending on your need for reading. If you are feeling bad about reading fewer books, step back and decide what you are reading for. It may help you read in a new and improved way.
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I saved this at the start of the pandemic for a time when I could freely buy books again. Now is that time, in Canada. I think this is a fine list, full of old and new books: 17 books to get you through the pandemic – Free Candie
Summer is a great time to read. Try and do that. If you get stuck, I find sticking to short/funny/light books can help.
And ready the Free Candie blog. It’s great.
(Image from a link to the blog post)
Well this advice is fraught with assumptions, but if you are hankering to read the classics and have an open idea of what “the classics” are, I recommend this: So you want to read classic books during the coronavirus pandemic – Vox
Basically, there are quite a number of books that are considered classic, but not all classics are approachable. You might pick up one in anticipation, get stuck, and abandon the idea of ever reading such books. To prevent that from happening, read the advice given in Vox. Start slow, and go from there.
Finally, there has always been a debate over what consists of the classics. Many of them will not appeal to you. And other books not considered “Classic” by many might just be old enough for you to fill your appetite for something you consider classic. (e.g. A fan of science fiction might consider Jules Verne classic. ) I consider it good to read from different times: it gives you a better appreciation of your own time, among other reasons. So put down those contemporary writings and go find your own classics to read and love.
I realize not everyone can do this, but if you are bored out of your gourd right now and are looking for a challenge, why not try to read an entire book in a single day.
If you think: there’s no way I can do that, then read this: How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day.
As you can see, it’s quite possible to do it, and with that article, you have all kinds of advice on how to succeed.
The weekend is coming up. This could be just the thing you need to feel some sense of accomplishment.
Let me know what you read!
It’s Saturday. You are thinking: I should start reading more books. But I suck at it. Well then, read this: How to Read More Books, According to an Editor Who Finishes 60+ a Year
I can’t promise it will get you to 60 books, but it will help.
Things I’d add:
- Toss books you don’t like.
- If you get stuck on a book, move on.
- Put down your phone.
- Don’t just sit there: pick up a book!
- Have more than one book on the go, but mix up the genres.
- If you get put off by big books, get smaller books. Finishing any sized book is satisfying.
This is brilliant: 44 Short Books to Help You Reach Your Reading Challenge Goal – Goodreads News & Interviews.
It’s a great list of books, for starters. Second, they tell you how long they long they are and a number of them are under 100 or 200 pages.
If you are trying to reach a reading challenge goal, or if you are stuck trying to get started reading, or if you find you never finish books due to their length, then you should check out that list.
If you want to read more books but struggle, then I recommend this article: How I Tricked Myself Into Reading More Books. I have applied a number of the lessons in this article and I have gone to reading 2-3 books a year to reading over 20 a year.
Besides the lessons in this article, there are four other methods I use to read more books.
- Buy (or borrow) more books than you can read. I used to buy a book and then try and read it. What I found was that if I didn’t like it much, I would put it down and not read anything. Now I tend to buy 3 or more books at a time, and have them close by. If I get stuck on one, I move on to another until I find myself reading often. Most times I will come back to the book I got stuck on. If I find I continue to get stuck on it, I just toss it.
- Follow the 50/100 page rule. This rule has two parts. Part 1: if there is nothing of merit in the book by 50 pages, get rid of it. Part 2: if there is something of merit in the first 50 pages but nothing more by page 100, get rid of it. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there to waste your time trying to finish a poor one.
- Skim the middle of non-fiction books. I find for many non-fiction books, the beginning is strong and the ending is either strong or short. However, in the middle you often find repetition. For example, for how-to books or books that have examples or cases to illustrate the main ideas of the book, you will find many of the same ideas played out 5 or 6 times. I find after 2 or 3 times, I either agree with the author’s ideas or I don’t. Either way, I can start to skim by the 2nd or 3rd time.
- Mix up light reading with heavy reading. If you find you are reading heavy material all the time, you might find you read less. I do. Likewise, if you read light material all the time, you may give up on reading because it isn’t satisfying. So switch it up. Diversifying your reading keeps it interesting and keeps you from getting stuck in a reading rut.
If you are interested in books and ebooks in particular, you should read this: On the declining ebook reading experience. Two beliefs I have on this topic:
- Book sellers have become more competitive. In Canada, Indigo’s prices seem to be much lower and they sell books using low prices stamped prominently on the cover.
- He doesn’t say it, but the author hints that Apple should step in and make their own Kindle. I certainly would like to see Apple step up and make their own Kindle. The device and the user experience would be great, I am certain. It would blow the Kindle out of the water and likely make me switch over to becoming a bigger ebook reader.
If “read more” is one of your New Year Resolutions, then Austin Kleon has 33 short pieces of advice on how to read more and read better that you should review, here: 33 thoughts on reading.
I am trying to adopt most of these. I have adopted many of them and the result has been much more reading by me for the last few years. I think the more of these you adopt, the more reading you will get done.
If like me you want to read better but find yourself struggling to get through massive books that you tend not to finish, this post is for you. Rachel Grate has put together a list of 17 great books that cover a range of old and new, very well known and some less well know. What’s on the list?
- ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin
- ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel
- ‘Passing’ by Nella Larson
- ‘Candide’ by Voltaire
- ‘The Member of the Wedding’ by Carson McCullers
- ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
- ‘Autobiography of Red’ by Anne Carson
- ‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino
- ‘The Buddha in the Attic’ by Julie Otsuka
- ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway
- ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros
- ‘The King’ by Donald Barthelme
- ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka
- ‘Notes from Underground’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- ‘Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?’ by Lorrie Moore
- ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes
As you can see, a great range. I highly recommend you go to the post and read why they are recommended. Then head to your local bookstore and grab a handful.
One of my favourite books is ‘Invisible Cities’: I highly recommend it.