Tips to Improve Your Reading

In the early hours of a new, dawning year—I say hours, not days, not weeks—many people around the world are inspired with ambition. It’s a time when resolutions and goals are decided and written down.

One of my goals is to read one hundred books before next year, so recently I’ve been thinking about ways to improve my reading ability. Maybe you’re like me, you wish to improve your reading.  If so, perhaps these tips will help.

But first I should say this: if you think these tips will magically ease the reading experience, you’re wrong. If you don’t plan to put in any effort, you might as well go to your couch and sit down and click on the power button on your TV remote. Though you might not plan to read one hundred books before another year dawns, any amount of ambitious reading requires effort and work. Keep that in mind.

1. Plan what to read. This means a list of books. Hardly a chance to get by reading one hundred books without planning exactly what those books will be. Be meticulous. Put in the author, perhaps the birth date and death date of that author, perhaps the year each book was published. If the list seems boring, be creative: throw in a splash of red or blue or green, change the text sizes—have different fonts for every single letter. Reading isn’t a boring thing. Be creative. It was creativity that gave birth to each novel on your list.

2. Schedule what you read. I don’t mean to schedule a whole year’s worth, though you’re welcome to if you feel ambitious enough. Plan two weeks ahead. If there’s a 350 page novel before you, and you want to finish it in one week, get a calculator and divide by seven. At the moment, I know I need to read 45 pages a day of Bleak House in order to finish it in two weeks. Once I know that, it’s easy. I can look ahead and know to stop at page 304, don’t even have to worry about the three inches of pages that follow. I’ve already taken care of that.

3. Research. Sounds like fun, huh? It’s helpful to do a background check, see what it’s all about. Read about the genre, read about where the author is coming from politically, philosophically. Wikipedia is free. Why don’t you go and try it out?

4. Interest. This is paramount. Everyone has, once or twice, abandoned a started book. Why? Because there was no interest in the content, the characters, the setting. Interest is your choice. You can consciously decide to either be interested or not in what you read, even if it appears boring. This also goes along with Tip #1: plan what to read. If you know that the last thing you want to read is a who-dun-it, then you know to exclude it from the list.