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Advice to wannabe bookworms Advice to wannabe bookworms
by Joseph Gatt
2019-10-04 08:45:37
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I am a bookworm myself and have met several people who want to get into reading. So here are a few tips, in no particular order.

Tip number 1: don't drink and read

I have drunk and read before, usually some of those lighter books about events I am very familiar with. But the usual rule is you want to eat well, sleep well, and be in a stable state of mind when you read. Beer and wine don't go well with books (but they do go really well with movies, documentaries and of course music). Coffee goes really well with books.

bookw01_400Tip number 2: pause at the 90 minute mark

That's what I always do. I usually read for anywhere between 50 minutes and 90 minutes before I get myself a break. I'll switch to music, check social media, get some fresh air or something before I resume reading.

Tip number 3: Don't force yourself to read a bad book

A lot of people say Clausewitz book On War is a great book. I started reading it once in 2016, unreadable. Again in 2019, unreadable. Point is, I'll probably never read Clausewitz, because to me it's really poorly written. Maybe the secret lies in the first pages being impossible and the middle of the book being great, but I've given up on that book.

Forced myself to read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, read it cover to cover, the whole experience was irritating. Point is, if the first few pages irritate you, hurt your eyes, or look bad, ditch the book.

Tip number 4: Read books about topics you really like

Here's the secret. You read a book about something you like. That book is going to make you realize that there's something else that you really like. That in turn will make you curious about other stuff, which will make you curious about other stuff, before you start being curious about the world around you.

Tip number 5: Don't buy too many books, and choose your books wisely

I usually check the reviews before I buy books. I never read the five star reviews, but tend to focus on the one-star reviews, which tend to be more honest.

In some cases I'm looking for specific information, in other cases it's one topic I would read any book I would get my hands on. But I never have more than 30 unread books on my shelf.

Tip number 6: You don't need to remember every single fact in the book

Getting a general idea of the book is more than enough. But do enjoy reading every page of the book.

Tip number 7: You don't have to agree with the book.

I read Communist literature because it was so influential, even when I don't agree on virtually anything with Communist literature. I did find Karl Marx's empathy towards 19th century factory workers to be a decent thing about his works. And I do thank Karl Marx for labor unions and for not having to work 80-week workshifts in rat-infested factories. But Soviet ideology, niet, spasiba.

Final tip: Reading a lot will make you very articulate. You will speak very clearly and a lot of your thoughts will be coherent and logical. But some people will shoot you down for that.

Let's face it, a lot of people are intimidated by people with clear ideas. A lot of people are intimidated by truth-seeking people. So once you've read a few hundred books, you want to dumb yourself down a bit. Oh, and don't brag about reading too much.

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