23 August 2014

A Beginner's Guide to Reading

Have I mentioned before how awesome reading is?

If you didn't hear me then, maybe you'll hear me now. Why shouldn't you read? It's not as strenuous as athletics (although exercise is important) and it's not as dangerous as extreme sports (although your comfort zone is all in your head--read #2 below). It's fun, it's healthy, and it stimulates your mind and emotions.

Here are five universal tips that will get you an instant passion for reading.

1. Make a commitment.

Why do you want to read? What do you want to read? Will you have time to read? Make a list if you have to.

A nifty little quality about books is that they're portable. Bring them with you to school (just don't read when you should be doing classwork). Bring them on the subway or train (just don't become so engrossed in the story that you miss your stop). Even if a book looks or feels like it goes on forever, reading in bits and pieces will quickly add up, and soon you'll finish that book and be ready for the next one.

2. Experiment.

This sounds contradictory to what I just suggested about commitment-making, but it's equally important to expand your horizons. When it comes to reading, your comfort zone should stretch a little. This offers new perspectives and allows you to find what you fully enjoy. If you don't like something you read, don't hesitate to find something else, because the next book might end up being the best one you've ever laid eyes upon.

3. Take your time.

I know, sometimes it feels like you have to rush. After all, these awesome books are being released much faster than you can read them all! But, you should make an effort to practice patience. You have years and hopefully decades ahead of you, and the best part is that you can spend them happily reading.

4. Stay open-minded.

You're not going to enjoy everything you read, but there is someone out there (maybe sitting right beside you) who does have an enthusiasm for that trite dystopian novel you finished yesterday. Be careful what you say in front of others. As you slowly become integrated into the literary community, you will learn how hurtful a negative comment about your favourite book can be (probably because someone closed-minded will make you the victim of it). Don't inflict that kind of wound upon other people. After all, just as you shouldn't expect somebody to thoroughly enjoy every single book they'll ever read, no one expects you to feel that way yourself--but don't be "that person" who is always enthusiastic to put down your peers' reading choices.

5. Read what you love.

That being said, concentrate your energy on what is worthwhile. If you don't like a series, it's okay to abandon it whilst in the middle of the third book. (That's what I did with The Mortal Instruments series, though I'll probably return to it one day.) Read what thrills you. Read what makes you think. Read what makes you happy.

What tips do you have for an aspiring reader? Share your advice in the comments!

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