“When the world becomes a fantasy
And you’re more than you could ever be
‘Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open
And you know you can’t go back again
To the world that you were living in
‘Cause you’re dreaming with your eyes wide open….”
~ The Greatest Showman, ‘Come Alive‘
Reading is a very important part of almost everyone’s lives, so how can we be better at it? Everyone reads, but sometimes it’s hard to better a skill that we don’t often think about. I mostly read for entertainment and I’ve found that the key to becoming a better fiction reader is understanding what fiction really is. Fiction is an escape. It allows readers to experience a reprieve from their day to day lives. It also teaches us some important lessons and makes some important points along the way. It really gets us to think but, not think at the same time. It fills us with wonder and allows us to experience things that we otherwise would not. In a way, fiction is like a dream. Not a weird anxiety dream where you show up to class naked, but a dream where you feel content. Despite the emotional roller coaster that many works of fiction sport, when you read it and immerse yourself in that world, it can feel like a good dream. (There’s also the fact that some psychologists speculate that the purpose of dreaming is to prepare us for events that could unfold in our lives and to process memories, which makes some interesting correlations to fiction when you think about it. But I won’t go into all that right now.) That’s why I chose the above quote to open this post with, because that’s how I feel when I’m reading my favorite books.
Now that we’ve defined fiction, in a sense, here are some simple steps to becoming a better reader:
1. Keep a list of books that you’d like to read.
That should keep you motivated, and practicing!
2. If you don’t like a book after reading 50 pages of it, stop.
Just stop reading it. It might be that you just need a break and after you’re refreshed you can try again. If you really think that it’s a book you will/should like, then give it another try after some time passes. If not, then don’t worry about it! There’ll always be more stories out there, maybe you’ll find one better suited for you.
3. Looking for a short read to pass the time? Find them online!
Don’t be afraid to search for articles and stories of your interest online. Try reading blogs or visiting new websites. You might find something that you like! Looking for more books by your favorite author? Check out his/her social media accounts or websites.
4. Take Notes.
Confused about something that happened in the book your reading? Trying to find out who the murderer is before the protagonist does? Keep a notebook and pen near you while you are reading and take note of what you think is important. Use this to go over later or ask someone else who has read the book what they think.
5. Try audio books.
Reading not your cup of tea, but you love a good story? Give audio books a try!
6. Join a book club!
Join a book club and have a safe space to discuss your thoughts on what you’ve read. It might help you understand things better- and it would be a lot of fun! (I know because I’m in one!)
7. Take a break.
Getting frustrated with what you’re reading or with your lack of reading? It’s alright. That’s going to happen sometimes. We all have busy lives. Just take a break and circle back to what you’re reading later. No harm, no foul!
Also, for all you writers out there, keep in mind that the more you read the better your writing will be.
For more tips and tricks: