Learn how to be a better reader
A few tips on how to be a better reader, making it a habit.
I know this newsletter title reads like an infomercial or an adult version of Hooked on Phonics (which I loved as a child). But no, I don't have any collateral to help you be a better reader, but I have a few tips on the subject that I wanted to share.
After listening to a recent episode of Siffat Haider's Dream Bigger podcast, I was inspired to write this newsletter. In the episode, Siffat shared a few tips that have helped her become a better reader, including compiling a list of three tips she learned from the book and three things she learned from the book that she can practically apply to her life. I thought both were pretty good tips, but here are a few own about how to make reading a habit and how to pick better books.
If you have any tips, please share them in the comments section below.
It’s okay to stop reading a boring book.
If you are reading a book that bores you, stop reading the damn book. You may have wasted your money on the book, but wasting your time is even worse. In the same way, you wouldn't go to the Cheesecake Factory (interesting read on the Cheesecake Factory) with a boring person; you don't need to read about boring people/things.
My only caveat is that some books have dull moments but get better over time. I let myself wade in the water for a few boring pages, but after ten, your girl is out.
Stop reading trendy books.
Keeping in line with the boring theme, in recent years, with a few exceptions, the most boring books I have encountered are trendy books. Sometimes it's better to stick with the classics and move around from there.
Again with a caveat, you should not entirely dismiss new trendy books. I would suggest not getting into a trendy book the way I do. I read different articles about the book and read reviews, and I think, in a way, sometimes what people say about the book shapes my feelings about the book. If you want to read them, just read them.
Ask for recommendations.
The best books I have read lately are book recommendations from friends. Some of my friends read a lot. They also sometimes read genres that I typically steer away from (Romance, Sci-Fi), so their suggestions help me get good recommendations, but they also help me expand my reading palette.
Mix up your mediums.
Not all books need to be read on paper, and not all books need to be listened to. I mix it up. I know if I were forced to read either Barack Obama’s A Promise Land or Prince Harry’s Spare in print, I would still be reading - literally, they are both sooooooooooooooooooooo long. I tend to mix it up, and you should too. Audible always has good deals, too, and sometimes, with a huge book, I may do both - read in print and download on Audible and interchange them as I feel.
Get a Library Card.
Self-explanatory here, but getting a library card has been one of the best cards to have - you don’t collect debt on it, but it brings a world of reading options. That was a Mom joke, but it’s true. Having a library card gives you access not only to the books in physical form, but you can gain access to Libby who is honestly that girl. Libby has been clutch, especially when I go through my no-spend months on books.
Keep track of the books that you read to find what you like
Using Goodreads is one of the ways I get suggestions. It keeps track of what I read and gives me recommendations based on what I read. Having a similar tool is helpful to get recommendations and see a pattern in the books you actually enjoy reading.
Make a TBR list
When I’m on a reading kick, having a to-be-read list is one of the most helpful tools to keep my momentum going. Normally I have a list of books that I want to read, but currently, I have a physical list of books that I have to read that spans 37 books that I have purchased between November and January (yes, this is why I am on a budget) that I have yet to read. I plan not to purchase any new books until April or something.
Just make time for it
If you want to read more, read more. Typically I read in the morning when I have extra time. I read in the evening before I go to sleep to unwind. I read at the hair shop and sometimes during the day. Because I know I want to read, I just read. My stepmom and friends who listen to audiobooks also make time to read while doing things like walking the dog, cleaning, or doing cardio.
Those are just a few tips - let me know if they are helpful. Here are a few more tips on reading:
BookTokers reveal 6 tips to get into the reading habit, Fast Company
How Barnes & Noble Came Back From Near Death, The New York Times
That’s that, on that. Now let’s get into this week’s recommendations.
A few good things to read
Bring back personal blogging, The Verge
Personal stories on personal blogs are historical documents when you think about it. They are primary sources in the annals of history, and when people look back to see what happened during this time in our lives, do you want The New York Times or Washington Post telling your story, or do you want the story told in your own words?
Why Everyone Feels Like They’re Faking It, The New Yorker
Long but interesting read.
The Midlife Renaissance of Women in Hollywood, The Atlantic
Suddenly, Being a Trophy Wife Doesn’t Seem So Bad, The Elite Daily
A few good things to listen to or watch
Harlem is back on Amazon Prime, and this season already looks good. If you’re watching, let’s discuss.
Still stuck on Sam Smith’s album Gloria, which I, too, am flabbergasted by.
I loved the latest episode of Ashley Blaine Featherson-Jenkins’ Trials To Triumphs podcast with artist Amy Sherald. In the interview, the pair talk about Amy’s life prior to her big break, and I loved hearing about her journey and how she was 40+ when she finally had her big break. On her journey, she had many obstacles that would’ve taken many off their path, but she kept pushing forward.
That’s it for this week. If you liked this week’s edition, please consider sharing it with your network! I’d really appreciate it.