I am calling this week's column, "how to read like a pro". Many of you are perfectly happy with your reading habits, and that is great. But there are some of you out there who have been trying to be a reader but keep falling off track...or maybe you have not been reading at all. There was a time in my life when I was working 80 hours a week running my own business...while raising two kids...so Curious George and Dr. Seuss was about all the reading I got done! So, for those of you who are struggling a bit or maybe stuck in a reading rut, I would like to offer a few suggestions.
Find your best time to read. Many folks try to do all of their reading at bedtime as a way to unwind and fall to sleep. Unfortunately, many of you fall asleep after barely getting through a page or two, and then have trouble remembering what you read the next day because your brain was already heading to dreamland. Take a look at your day and try to find another time to get 15 - 30 minutes of reading in. Get up early and read before breakfast. Or maybe just after lunch. How about forfeiting 1/2 hour of evening TV to read a chapter or two? Many people revive their reading by finding a new time of day to enjoy their books.
Are you reading the genre that really suits you best? We sometimes gravitate to the type of books we always read...be it romance or westerns or mysteries. But tastes change as we mature and perhaps you need to take a stroll through a different section of the library to see what catches your eye.
It's OK to not finish a book. If you are not enjoying the book you are reading, simply stop reading it immediately and move on. There is no sense in slogging through a novel you are not connecting with. And that is why it is important to always have a spare book or two ready to start at any given time.
Get informed. Sometimes finding the right book takes a little effort. I know a lot of people who just look at the covers until they find something that attracts them visually. But an interesting cover doesn't always make for a good read. Luckily, there are literally hundreds of ways to get book recommendations, often accompanied with a five-star rating system so you can see how well people liked the book. Many magazines list the best new books coming out and you can always Google the New York Times best sellers list for ideas. If you really want to open your eyes to what is out there, visit NoveList, one of the many databases we offer. (Access it from our webpage at www.tillabook.org) This site has many tools that help you hone in on the best books for YOU!
Keep a record of what you read. Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated with your reading. Whether you just write them down on a pad of paper or on your computer...or better yet, create an online account to record your completed reading, you'll be glad you took this step. I use the website called GoodReads to track my reading...and to read reviews before I decide whether to take the book home. It is totally free, and I can even write my own book reviews for other people to read. One nice feature of the reviews on GoodReads is they make sure to keep the comments spoiler free so you don't accidentally find out the ending before you even start the book. I also love that at the end of the year, you can pull up a report of all the books you completed.
There! That should get you started in reviving or starting your next reading adventure. And if all else fails, you can always ask your friendly Tillamook County Librarian for a recommendation!