- Reading well will deepen your appreciation of literature; you’ll gain new experiences and enrich your knowledge of the world and other people.
- Reading well requires noticing details, reflecting on them and questioning them.
- One key to reading well and pleasurably is to slow down, take your time and read deliberatively.
- Re-reading literary texts will allow you to pick up on what you missed the first time around and deepen your reading pleasure.
- Reading aloud, whether a sentence or an entire page, will help you notice more about a writer’s craft and art, especially how the tone and texture complement the meaning.
How to read books the right way
- Pick up multiple books (physical, digital, or audio) from the same topic or category to go deeper.
- It is OK not to finish a book you don’t like.
- Some books are more flexible and might not be read linearly. It does depend on the topic of book you’re reading. It’s okay to pick up chapters if the book is meant to be a collection of answers to unrelated topics.
- Write notes, highlight them, or stick tiny stickies on pages (for physical books).
- You can speed-read1 parts and sections that might not be useful to remember.
- While reading you might come across topics you don’t know much about. While you’re still finishing the book, read a brief summary to get through the current content. Write them down separately to research more later.
- Try to write a summary after you’ve read the whole book.
- Find your format/style or mix them up - digital, physical, audio.
Here are a few personal tips that worked for me while trying to read/learn the contents of books and get the best out of them. This will help you to overcome the habit of practicing
- Read reviews, from multiple sources, of a book and try to know a general idea of the content and idea of that book.
- Or listen to audio books at about 1.2x speed. You can use whatever you are comfortable with – a headphone, or in your car.
- Once you have either read the reviews or heard the audio book, decide if you wan to read the book or not. When you do read it, either physical or digital, but now you know which part to browse and which part to concentrate.
Free and Open Source Books
- Downpour DRM-Free AudioBooks (paid)
- Global Grey’s Books is a growing library of high-quality, public domain, free ebooks.
- Standard Ebooks has free and liberated ebooks.
- Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks carefully produced for the true book lover.
- Open Library
- Open Textbook Initiative from The American Institute of Mathematics.
- LibriVox free public domain Audiobooks.
- Wikisource is the free library that anyone can improve.
- The Society of Minds by Marvin Minsky.
- HackerNews Book Recommendations
- A Helpful Guide to Reading Better
- Good Books Recommended by Successful People.
- How to Gain More From Your Reading
- Brajeshwar’s Books of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
Speed Reading is the technique of chunking and minimizing subvocalization. The many available speed-reading training programs may utilize books, videos, software, and seminars. There is little scientific evidence regarding speed reading, and as a result its value seems uncertain. ↩