- Books, Literature, and Writing
How to Get Interested and Engaged in a Book
You may not want to hear it, but reading requires mental effort and dedication. The author has already done a significant amount of work, and now it's your turn to provide the book with an attentive and thoughtful audience. Don't dismay-- your time and effort will be rewarded!
In order for a book to engage you, it needs to connect to some part of your real life. Books are created by authors who share in the human experience, just like you, so there has to be someone who wrote a book that you can relate to. If the story still doesn't interest you, try another; there are more books than you can possibly read in a single life time.
If you are still having trouble finishing a book, try some of the following tips:
1. Set Aside Time to Read in a Quiet Place
It is difficult to concentrate on reading if you are constantly interrupted by phone calls, work, and family. Take refuge in the local library, a coffee shop, or, if the weather is nice, outside under a beautiful tree. For just a few hours, immerse yourself in the world the author creates for you.
2. Join a Book Club or an Online Forum
Quality discussion will always enhance the experience of reading, because someone else will notice something you may not. It may be especially helpful for very socially oriented people to discuss the book with others, and it will motivate you to finish the book before the scheduled discussion. Deadlines are sometimes necessary... embrace them!
3. Choose the Right Book
There are many genres and styles of writing. Sample them all to find out what you like, and don't simply take a friend's or even a book critic's advice as an absolute authority.
4. Keep Reading
Some extremely good books start slow, but never give up on the first chapter. Pay close attention to how the author sets up the plot and introduces the characters. However, don't force yourself to read a book that is truly awful, unless you are assigned the book in class...
5. Write in Your Book
Unless it's a library book.
Otherwise, why not? You can never truly engage with the text unless you yourself underline important words, or highlight important passages. Write notes to yourself in the margins and keep track of important page numbers in case you want to reference them later. Some people swear by their highlighters, and others, like me, prefer pens. Whichever you use, don't be afraid to massacre your text.
6. Look Up What You Don't Know
The best authors don't simply tell you what is going on-- they show you. A careful, engaged reader takes a few seconds to google the mysterious word or phrase. I love my Dictionary.com app! Once you look up the reference or word make a note of it in the margins. You will appreciate the text more fully if you understand what is going on within it.
7. Try the Book on Tape
If you have trouble finding the time to sit down and read, or if you find reading difficult for other reasons, try listening to the book on tape. It's very easy to download books right into your iPhone, which you can listen to in the car, while you're at the gym, or making dinner.
Another book for the seriously dedicated. Well worth the effort...
Some of My Favorite Books:
A book for the seriously dedicated-- not for the faint of heart. If you want to challenge yourself, read this book in a summer. It will change the way you think about books...