How I Read a Book

Read to forget by Gibson Claire McGuire Regester

I love to read, and I’ve been reading since I was young. One of my favorite moments last year was finding a library in PJ stocked with thousands of books.

I’ve updated the books that I’ve read into my Goodreads page. That’s more than 60 books since last year.

After so many years, there’s a certain pattern I noticed when I read books. I thought I’d share this pattern with you.

Choosing a Book

This is more difficult than you can imagine. I could spend an hour browsing hundreds of books and choose only one or two.

A book is appealing to me if:

  1. It is about a topic I like
  2. It is from an author I like
  3. It promises to have a unique, interesting story (nothing predictable)
  4. The table of contents looks interesting
  5. It promises a satisfying read (is not too less than 300 pages)
  6. It has a nice cover

The Quick Glance

If I spot a book I like, I pick it up off the shelf, then I look at the back or the inside covers to read the marketing blurbs that describe the book contents.

I look at the price tag. If I feel it’s too expensive, it goes back on the shelf immediately.

The Browse

If possible, I like to browse through the contents of the book.

Maybe I would read the first few paragraphs of the book, or I would randomly read from one of the chapters in the middle of the book.

I try to understand the author’s style. I put the book back if it is too complicated, boring, or has a lot of profanity.

For non-fiction books I try to evaluate if there is something new I could learn from the book.

The Checkout

When I’m ready to checkout, I look through my book selection again. I try to eliminate books that are not really worth the price, books I could get from the library, or books I could buy another day.

Opening the Book

When I get home, and I finally have the time to read the new book, I like to look at the front and back covers. I like to flip the pages a little and smell the paper.

I read everything, from the copyright notice, to the dedications, to the table of contents.

The First Chapter

Some books take some getting used to, so the first chapter is really slow reading.

There are totally new characters (I have to visualize each one of them in my imagination), new environments, sometimes even new technologies to understand.

The Whole Book

Once the action begins, the rest of the book goes by quickly.

If it is a great book, I could stay up to the late hours of night with the book. The pages go by too quickly and I can’t have enough of the book.

If it is a bad book, it will really be a painful exercise to finish the book. In extreme cases I will just skip entire chapters entirely.

Finishing the Book

Finishing a book makes me feel weird. If the story was a good one, I’m usually left with a lot of questions in my mind. I’m still lost in the world of the book and it feels like I’m still dreaming.

For non-fiction books, I go back through the book and try to apply what I’ve learned.

It always feels sad that the book has ended.

If I enjoyed the book I will look for more books from the same author.

How About You?

Do you read books the same way? Which is your favorite part of the book reading experience?

Photo by : Gibson Claire McGuire Regester / CC ND

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