5 Tips: How to Read More Books You Like

Kidreading-CindyFazziI don’t want to be a quitter, so I used to always finish books I choose to read. However, as my responsibilities grew with marriage, motherhood, and full-time employment, I changed my reading policy. Now I’m more than glad to drop a book I don’t like.

Gretchen Rubin, the best-selling author of “The Happiness Project,” has a similar policy. In an article she wrote for Publishers Weekly, number one on her list of tips for becoming a better reader is quit reading. “When I let myself abandon a boring book, I have more time to read what I love,” Rubin wrote. I couldn’t agree more.

Five Reading Tips

Summer is the time I catch up on my leisure reading because it’s when my family goes on vacation. For last week’s trip to Turks and Caicos Islands, I brought four books to read: two literary novels, a suspense novel, and a contemporary romance. What could be better than reading a book on a sugary beach in the Caribbean? You can bet I was in reader’s paradise!

Summer is a great time to catch up on your leisure reading, preferably on the beach or on a boat. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Grace Bay beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, June 2015.)

Summer is a great time to catch up on your leisure reading, preferably on the beach or on a boat. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Grace Bay beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, June 2015.)

Below are my “rules” for reading, which allow me to read more books I like and appreciate each book better. How about you? I’d love to hear your reading rules. Leave a comment below.

#1 Give a book a three-chapter chance. I no longer feel guilty about quitting when a book fails to engage me. Life is too short to waste on a boring book. If a book is really bad, I have no problem quitting after the first chapter or the first page. If I’m lukewarm about a book, I will give the author a fair chance by reading up to chapter three. After that, I make my decision to continue or quit. I can still quit at any point if the book doesn’t get any better.

#2 Make a distinction between serious and light reading. In Rubin’s list, she advised readers to skim. I do it as well. From the get-go, I will decide whether a book is “serious” or “light” reading material. The books I’ve reviewed on this blog belong to the former category. Making this distinction helps me set the number of hours and the amount of effort I will spend in reading the book. For example, the suspense and romance books I brought for my Caribbean trip were meant to be read in four days. I started reading the suspense book the minute I finished TSA inspection at the airport. I don’t linger on a word or a sentence if it’s light reading, whereas I will jot down notes if it’s serious reading.

#3 Always bring a book to read. Whether it’s digital or hard copy, don’t get caught without a book. The time I spend waiting after getting an allergy shot (a monthly ritual) is an important reading time for me. At work, I get a prompt to update my computer’s software regularly. The updates can involve one application or 37 applications. I end up reading a chapter or two of a novel while waiting.

#4 Keep a reading list. This is number five on Rubin’s list. I have a list of books I want to read. Some of those titles are two years old, but I plan to read them eventually. Now that I’m part of Goodreads, I can transfer some of those titles to my “to be read” or “currently reading” lists. It’s one of the things I like about Goodreads. A list of books provides a framework for my reading. Besides, it feels good to check off one title from the list after I finish reading.

#5 Set aside a time to read. I admit my reading time has gotten shorter ever since my debut romance book was acquired by a publisher last year. There are unending tasks involved in publishing, apart from actual writing, rewriting, editing, and proofing the book. Blogging and maintaining social media presence are part of it. Nevertheless, I try to reserve at least 30 minutes every day for reading. I simply can’t go to bed without first reading a book, whether it’s only three pages or three whole chapters is beside the point.

You can read Gretchen Rubin’s article on Publishers Weekly here.

For more articles about reading, click here.

Don’t forget to bring a book to read when you hit the beach. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Grace Bay beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, June 2015.)

Don’t forget to bring a book to read when you hit the beach. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi. Grace Bay beach, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, June 2015.)

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16 Comments

  1. You are truly more patient than I am lol. I have a three page evaluation called (adhd evaluation period). Smirk.

    Reply
    • Reading three chapters is fair, don’t you think? I’d like a reader to give me as much chance too(:

      Reply
    • Cindy, yes of course it is fair. It’s just with adhd it doesn’t work the same way. If I am captured on the first couple pages by writing style and subject presented then it is not a chore to read on but rather entertainment. People like to ask me to read potential children’s books and articles because of this but then it really all comes down to objective preference in the end.

      Reply
  2. I love to read and have so little time now. Great policy and tips. Thanks

    Reply
  3. I am a fan of reading lists too. But, I definitely need to more patient with the three-chapter chance lol.

    Reply
    • Believe me, I’ve given up on some books after three pages(: As a writer, though, I try to give a fellow writer that three-chapter chance.

      Reply
  4. These are great tips, Cindy. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  5. I sometimes find if I am stressed or exhausted no matter what book I pick up never appeals to me. It took me a year after losing my husband suddenly before I could concentrate to read. Now I am giving some of these books a second chance and i am enjoying them.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear about your husband. Our reaction to a book certainly reflects our moods and circumstances. Thanks so much for visiting!

      Reply
  6. I do lots of leisure reading in the summer too! I find I can easily read when my son is on summer break, but not as easily write. = )

    Reply
    • Hi Heather. I guess there’s a time for reading and a time for writing–enjoy reading this summer!

      Reply
      • Seems that way! = ) Stephen King says that writers must read, and I can see the wisdom in that!

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