When I was a young girl, I would read books that were written for 12-year-olds and hid them under my shirt. I was just tired of reading simple books that didn’t give me something to ponder on.
Books were always my escape, and my mother would always take us to the library when we were growing up. I would borrow big books that contained big words in them and read them laying on top of a big radiator in the hall.
There was Pippi Longstocking, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, and even an Atlas of Archeology, and the children’s version of The Bible.
I would read everything and anything that sounded remotely interesting and entertaining. The thicker the book the more I liked it.
Reading from a young age and being surrounded by a variety of reading material has definitely introduced me to many ideas and information that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.
I was raised to be a sceptic, to question and seek the truth just by reading all the time (to me The Bible was always a story of fiction and science books inspired me to do experiments on my own).
The benefits of reading are better writing skills and a larger vocabulary. It also motivates us to think critically of what we’ve just consumed, see the world from a different perspective and, of course, learn new information that can help us or someone we know.
If you want to get all of these benefits, learn how to read more books with these 4 tips:
- Read what you want to read.
This is probably the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to learn how to read more books.
Maybe the reason why you are convinced reading is not for you is that in school you were required to do it as an assignment. The material was boring, old and you resisted it because you were told you have to do it.
The Great Gatsby is my favourite fiction book and it really hurts to see how many people hate it simply because they were forced to read it in school.
While those of us who chose to read it on our own see it as one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, others feel tortured by just hearing the name Jay Gatsby.
Start by reading what you want to read, and then you can move to the material that you know would benefit you – even if it seems a bit boring or heavy.
- Always have a book with you.
How can you make sure you will always find time to read? You can plan but you can also carry a book with you at all times.
Maybe you will ride a train today, wait in a bank, sit in a park, go to the coffee shop or go for a hike and spend some time in nature. You can either be bored and think of all your problems, or dive into the book that you are carrying in your hands.
- Spend time in libraries and bookshops.
One way to get interested in reading more is to be surrounded by a variety of reading material.
Wherever you go, take the time to find a library or a bookshop and pay it a visit. Read the titles, hold the books in your hands, go through the pages… You can even smell them (I do).
What happens if you surround yourself with people who are conscious of how they eat? You eat healthier. What happens if you move to the countryside? You start spending more time outside, in touch with nature.
The same thing goes for books. If they are all around you, sooner or later you will grab one and see what it has to offer.
- Listen to podcasts.
This one is a bit different but I find it equally helpful.
If you listen to podcasts that are all about having conversations with fascinating people, you are bound to discover a few authors that you’ll find interesting.
I found new books and became interested in reading them because I listen to podcasts all the time. Sometimes I am satisfied just by hearing the episode, and other times I want to hear more from the guest so I invest in their art.
Find podcasts that have a variety of guests and a diversity of topics which they discuss and you will find that your to-read list will expand on its own.
My recommendation is always the Making Sense podcast as I look up to Sam Harris greatly, but I also like Blocked and Reported.
I hope these tips help you start reading more books and expand your world and vocabulary.
Maybe you won’t be enjoying it but if you know the benefits, you are more likely to take the time to do it. Not everything that is good for you will be your favorite thing in the world, but it’s important that you do them.
My life would be so empty without books. Especially because I created these little traditions around them.
For example, every early summer I read The Bridget Jones Diary, then in late August it’s time for The Great Gatsby, and in the autumn I read The Cupid Effect. I also go through Waking Up, which is my favorite non-fiction book, every year as I love it so much.
Every month brings a new tradition with it and I am always looking forward to different seasons as I know what is on my to-read list.
Only my favorite books get to be on it and I have a special place in my heart for the authors who wrote them.
Create your own traditions and enjoy the marvellous world of literature.