So how do you read a book? In addition to my daily Bible reading, I am an avid reader. Reading is food for the mind! Television turns your brain to mush! You decide! Here are some tips I’ve discovered in reading a book:
1. If at all possible, buy the book. Libraries are great resources for reference material and for fiction you do not care about keeping after you read the book. But when you are investing in a book that has life-changing information in it (things that you will refer to over and over again) you need to buy the book. If you simply cannot afford to buy the book, then go to the library and check it out, or try a used bookstore.
2. If the book is yours, mark it up. Write your name in it. Get a highlighter and mark the parts that say something to you. Make margin notes. When you have finished the book, go to the back of the book and on one of the blank pages write the date and then a comment of what you learned or thought of the book. I love to see books that have been marked up—it shows that it was read!
3. Tell everyone what a great book you are reading. This will reinforce what you are learning. It is also a great way to boost your own ego because it is doubtful they have read any books recently so you can be proud and brag that you have. Plus, it might encourage them to buy a book and read it. How impressed are you to hear that someone sits around and watches Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy every night? I am impressed when I hear of someone who just finished a book!
4. Do not loan anyone your books… generally speaking. “But isn’t that selfish?” If point #2 is valid then how can you loan out your books? Actually you are doing others a huge favor. If you loan someone your book then you deprive him/her of the privilege of marking the parts that mean something to him/her, therefore diminishing the impact the book will have on his/her life. Plus, you probably will not get the book back. (I am missing three books that I loaned out and it is driving me crazy—I cannot remember who I loaned them to, yet, the space on my bookshelf reminds me that I did it!)
Instead of loaning your books, buy a book for someone else! This is a sign of your generosity and exhibits your giving nature and inflicts on the other person a sense of obligation that might encourage them to actually read the book.
5. Buy lots of books. “But that costs lots of money.” You probably spent money on an impulse-buy that now you kick yourself over. How much junk is in our houses that has never helped us in any manner—ever been to a yard sale! Go to the bookstores to browse and when a book title speaks to you, buy it—even if you do not have time to read it right now. Have a “to be read” shelf: a stack of books just waiting to be read. Always have a few books waiting on you.
6. Read several books at the same time. I have books I take on the airplane when I know I have a few hours of uninterrupted time. I also have books by my bed I use to relax and help me to fall asleep. I have books full of quotes and very short chapters, which I read when I only have a few minutes. I have a book in the bathroom. I have books that cover heavy subjects that I read when my mind is wide awake and can focus well. I have books that are light and do not require a great deal of concentration. Have a variety of books available that fit the time, the place, and your mood.
7. Do not hesitate to stop when you find yourself in the midst of a bad book. You may get twenty-five pages into a book and decide it is not saying anything to you. Put it down and get another. Remember, reading is food for the mind. If the food is bad; don’t eat it!
8. Read for different reasons. Your Bible should feed your spiritual soul. Other books are for you to learn. Read to lift your spirits. Read for pure entertainment. Any book is better than most television—unless Duke is playing basketball; otherwise, READ.
Don’t try to read today; do read today!