Monday 25 January 2016

How to Read More

I enjoyed this Vlog on how to read more.

I really share her pain. My TBR pile is getting silly. I've just banned myself from adding any more titles to Kindle until I've finished some. 

I've never set a reading goal. I know it would only depress me as I'm a really slow reader. My mum and my friend Cathryn are speed readers. I envy them. A recent conversation with my mother went:

Me: Did you watch the Game of Thrones DVD I bought you? 
Mum: Yes, but I know what happens because I've read all the books.
Me: ... 
Mum: ... 
Me: You know that series Outlander was adapted from books? 
Mum: Read them.

Unfortunately, I take after my father in that I'll read every word on every line of every page. 

Hence it takes me a while.

I'm not sure I'm that much slower than anyone else, really. I read The Book of a Thousand Days in one day. It's just I'm usually so busy writing my own books (and goofing off on social media) that I don't put a lot of time aside to read.

I do read every day, but it's the last thing I do at night, all tucked up in bed before going to sleep. Being a night owl, I usually don't start until midnight or later. Sometimes I'll still be reading at three, but often I'm asleep after one chapter.

So, no writing goals for me, but reading every day is important, and I do enjoy the little percentage bar on Kindle which tells me how far through a book I am. There's a strange sense of relief when I hit 50%. That's why I don't think I'd like to set an annual book reading goal. I don't think I want to start worrying about whether I'm ahead or behind my reading target - not when reading is supposed to be my antidote to stress.

Starting a new book as soon as you finish the previous one is advice that works for me. I have friends who say 'If it was a really good book, I need time to think about it,' and yes, I get that. There have been books like The Lovely Bones and The Generation Game where I've been in floods of tears by the end and needed time to blow my nose and breathe. On the other hand, I find that I can often process the end of one book whilst starting the next. Many books take a few chapters to get into, so it carries you over that threshold, and there's plenty of time during the rest of the day to consider what you've just read. 

However, Point #4 is really my downfall: 

Don't waste time on books you don't enjoy.

This is absolutely true. The rare times in my life when I stopped reading completely, came after force-feeding myself a book I didn't enjoy. Slogging through a tome you're not interested in can traumatise a healthy reading habit. It can take weeks, sometimes months, to get over.

The problem is, like Bookishpixie, I suffer from Reader's Guilt.

I find it very difficult to put down a book I'm not enjoying. I feel as though I have to get to the end of it, no matter what. I'll put down the book, unable to carry on, yet I'll feel so guilty about this that I can't pick up another one.

Yes, I think it is a mild form of OCD.

I am getting better at it. Like watching the news, you can desensitise yourself to that feeling of horror. Do it enough and murdering a story mid-flow starts to feel like an act of mercy. As James Joyce is quoted as having said: 

Life is too short to read a bad book.

Finally, I think the idea of a bookshelf only for books you've read is a stroke of pure genius. 

Put it somewhere public. 

Shame yourself into reading.

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