how I became a better reader(again)

books_saleI used to love to read. I would read all the time. I grew up reading book after book after book. The stories just fueled my imagination and wonder.

But something happened.

In seminary reading became something of a chore instead of something I enjoyed. I would have to read 3-4 books for 3 different classes in a semester, and a lot of those books were dry technical books full of big weighty concepts. Reading became something I had to do instead of something I wanted to do.

That changed this year. I wanted to reclaim my love of reading, so I took 3 steps to help me become a better reader(again):

1. I fully committed to ebooks. I know for book purists this is a cardinal sin, but for helping me become a better reader this platform is really easy. Amazon makes kindle available on every single device you own. eBooks are always going on sale. You can have your book on your phone, your tablet, your computer, and your eReader. Best of all it syncs across every device so your books are on whatever chapter you are on. I can pick up my phone and start reading where I left of on my tablet. Even if you own a tablet I would suggest you get a dedicated eReader. My choice is the Kindle Paperwhite. eInk is easy on the eyes for longer reading, battery life is amazing, and the most important thing is that it doesn’t distract you from reading with thousands of apps calling your name.

2. I became a social reader. My friend Chad Brooks posted a challenge on his blog called the empty shelf challenge where you spend 2014 filling that empty shelf with books you read. Reading is more fun when you are reading with others. Friendly competition gets involved. What books will I read and what books will they read? The biggest movement in social reading is Goodreads. You can see what your friends and favorite authors are reading right now. Goodreads takes the loneliness out of reading. Best of all the new Kindle Paperwhite automatically syncs with Goodreads and takes the guess work out of it.

3. My final secret this year is that I appropriated Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. The secret is this: he would write every day and mark of the day on the calendar. He wanted to keep the chain of writing going for as many days as he could. So every single day he would try to get something written and not break the chain. I altered it for reading. Every single day I read at least 1 to 2 chapters of a book in order not to break the chain. If the chapters are short I will read 3 or 4. A typical novel has 18 chapters, so in 12 to 14 days a typical novel is finished. That is two novels a month you can be reading.


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