Thursday, March 22, 2018

On Books and Strategies for Reading

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I read more,” or, “I’d love to be more of a reader,” or, “so many books, but so little time,”? If you have, I've got a couple of suggestions in regard to how you might become a more proficient and prolific reader. 

Firstly, I’d encourage you to start thinking about books as you do various Netflix or television shows. Picture a book as a series and the chapters within the book as episodes.

Secondly, select three books that you’d like to read. Think of them as three different television shows that you’d like to have on the go. Maybe get some recommendations from friends in regard to something they’ve read and thought was top shelf – just like you do with Netflix. Of course, don’t (when starting out) choose three ridiculously large or complicated books, rather choose something with approx. 200 to 300 pages in it and ten to twelve chapters.

Thirdly, pick a night of the week that your “show,” your book, is going to be on. Let’s say one on Monday, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday, and then choose what time your show starts each night (appreciating that it’ll be an hour long) – let’s go with 8:15pm.

Fourthly, be aware that reading is a discipline, far more so than watching television. It takes energy, effort, and concentration. Reading is in one sense a muscle that you have to exercise and develop. When you first start there might be some heavy lifting, but you will grow stronger. Commit to your hour reading each night, with each book. Don’t worry if at first you can’t complete a whole chapter in the allotted time, a whole episode, you’ll become a faster reader by simple perseverance.

Fifthly, if one of your books gets really good – feel free to binge read.

Sixthly, if you commit to the discipline you’ll get through between ten and fifteen 250-page books every year, between one hundred and one hundred and fifty books every ten years. And that’s not accounting for the improvements you’ll make in terms of becoming a stronger reader every month that goes by, nor for the occasional binge read. 

"Books shape us, dynamically molding our minds and souls. You are never the same person when you finish a book–even one that is read purely for escape or entertainment. A.W. Tozer has aptly stated that “the things you read will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind”. What it means is that what we read matters and directly affects what we become. We are fortunate with the wealth of books at our fingertips.  - Scott Larsen

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