How to read more –
I’ve admitted before that I’m a reluctant reader. I don’t ravenously devour books. I don’t have the kind of swoony love affair that others seem to have with them. Now, when I do find a book that grabs me, I fall head over heals in love. Like those Matthew McConaughey movies where he’s this big playboy until he meets that one special girl.
When I find that special book, you know what it’s like? It’s like I’m Angela Chase obsessing over Jordan Catalano!
Unfortunately, there aren’t many Jordan Catalanos leaning against lockers waiting to steal my heart (Ah, I love the way he leans). For me, the book world contains a lot more Brian Krakows.
Now, I LOVE to tell stories. I think people assume that all writers love to read, but it’s just not true for me. They are two different activities. I mean, I like to eat but don’t necessarily like to cook. Ya know what I’m sayin’?
But I know I have to read to be a better writer. It’s studying. I have to do it because I want to be the best at what I do, so I’m willing to put in the work. (Keeping my fingers crossed each time I open a cover that love is waiting inside!) And I’ve been reading a lot more. A LOT more! It’s gotten easier. How? Well, I’m glad you asked.
I’ve made a list of all the things that make it easier. I’m sharing because maybe it’ll help other reluctant readers.
1) No guilt over how long it takes me to read a book. I’m always slow. And who cares? What does it matter how fast you travel from cover to cover? Maybe us slow readers are the ones who are stopping along the way to smell the roses. Besides, anyone who cares how long it takes you is kind of a jerk.
2) If a first chapter is painful to read, toss it aside! It’ll only reinforce your belief that reading is a horrible task. Reading isn’t horrible, the crap book is.
3) I take recommendations. This is how I found THE WHEEL OF TIME series. I’m enjoying it, and I plan to finish the whole thing (slowly).
4) When I do take recommendations, I don’t care to pretend I think it’s awesome or even that I’m willing to finish it. “Good, but not my cup of tea” is a good line to throw out there.
5) Read outside the stuff you’d find at Barnes & Noble. There are a lot of good books published by small presses that don’t make it into the stores as well as good self-published books. Did you ever consider that you just may not like the stuff that’s meant to sell to the masses? Sure, there’s some self-published crap, but then you return to number 2 on the list -you don’t have to read the whole thing! And a lot of times, the ebooks are free or 99 cents on Amazon. That’s better than picking something up at a bookstore, paying a lot more, and it ends up being crap too. I’ve started quite a few books I hated recently and was glad I got them at the library instead of the bookstore. You don’t have to have a big bookshelf to impress anyone.
6) I require absolute silence when reading! I’ve learned not to try to read while waiting for my kids at the dance studio. These loud moms are always roaring on about their Disney Cruiseline vacations and who booked a more lavish trip! And by the way, WHY do people talk so loud? Especially when the person they’re talking to is sitting right next to them? But loud-talkers are a whole other topic. I used to constantly try reading in places that weren’t silent, and I’d end up reading the same line over and over. It was frustrating! Once again it reinforced the belief that it was the reading I hated and not what I now recognize as a hatred for overly loud people. I want to fall into a different world, and I can’t do that when some lady is bragging about the size of her husband’s SUV.
7) Most importantly – I read what I want! For the longest time, I was embarrassed to read middle-grade fantasy in public. Then I stopped caring what other people thought.
So that’s it. I hope it helps.