Read Like You Mean It

A how-to guide on getting more from that book you haven’t picked up…yet.

Yeah we all learned how to read as a child and were assigned piles of books we may or may not have read throughout the years. But now you’re an adult and you get to read what you want, where you want, how you want — such freedom! Life, though, comes with many distractions so I’ve compiled some of my favorite Do’s and Don’t’s for reading like you mean it.

START by choosing a book you actually want to read. There are so many books out there! Surely there is at least one you’ll love. Not sure where to start? Best seller lists are great, but I’d also recommend talking to people close to you whose taste and style you admire. Ask them what they’re reading right now or what their most memorable reads have been. Still not sure which titles to pick up? Peruse my stacks, pictured below. You might check out my personal reading list that features books sure to satisfy your appetite for curiosity. And for the sake of saving local economies, see if your local bookseller has it in stock or can order it for you.

Everything I read in 2017.

Everything I read in 2017.

Everything I read in 2018.

Everything I read in 2018.

Without further ado, here are my top tips for reading like you mean it…

DON’T skip over the prologue or authors note. These sections are like getting insider access to the author’s mind and sets a tone of appreciation for the coming pages. It’s a gift.

DO read with a pen. Underline, put notes in the margins, engage! Was something funny? Did that phrasing resonate with you? Did the author use a word you’d like to integrate into your own vocabulary? Are you having AH-HA! moments? Jot it down! Your notes become a kind of time capsule into the person you were and what line of thinking served you at the time of reading. It’s really fascinating and fun to look back on!

Yours don’t have to look like mine, but here’s an example from Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

Yours don’t have to look like mine, but here’s an example from Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

DON’T keep your phone near you. Switch it to silent and keep it out of eyesight and out of arms length. Notifications and checking the time will only distract you from diving into your book fully and presently.

DO stay sober. If you’re going to cloud your capacity to absorb, connect, and reflect then what’s the point?

And finally keep that book close! You can get in a few minutes here, a few pages there, which I think you’ll find is a more meaningful use of your time than checking social media for the n-billionth time this hour. While you’re waiting for the tram, while you’re waiting for the water to boil, unwinding from the day in bed are all good times, and I suspect you’ll discover even more opportunities. This will probably cause you to read a lot, everyday even, which is great! This creates a positive feedback loop to set the tone for picking up another book. And another book. And another book….

HAPPY READING!

Grace Moen