If you’re interested in doing a reading spin-off, or if you’re looking to improve your reading experiences in general, then the following tips which I picked up during my own one-month immersion into reading, will help you get the most out of your reading.
Last edited: April 10, 2015
1. Ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve?”
Once you decide to do a reading spin-off, it’ll seem like you have enough time to go through a complete library, but unfortunately, less is true.
If you read 8 hours a day, every day, for one month, and assuming that you’ll be taking the weekends off, you’ll most likely get through about 20 books i.e. one each day.
Most people don’t get to read 20 books in a year, so this is quite a bit. However, if you pick out a bunch of random and unrelated book titles, you risk finishing the month wondering if you read anything at all–or worse, feeling like you completely wasted your time.
Therefore, before you start a reading spin-off, make a list of all the books you’d like to read and then ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve?”.
Do you wish to learn more about a certain topic? Are you looking for a way to improve yourself? Or, do you just want to catch up on the latest bestsellers?
Depending on your answer, you can then cross out the titles that don’t comply with your goals and keep the ones that do. Having a goal and staying within a topic will help you get the most out of your reading spin-off.
On a side note: If you can’t or don’t want to do a reading spin-off, you can still apply this tip to a “normal” day-to-day reading routine too. Figure out what you’d like to achieve in, for example, one year, and then pick out books that’ll complement those goals.
2. Curate your booklist
Please don’t over do it, but do spend some time researching the books that you’d like to read. Looking back at my own reading spin-off, I regret just going with the flow and picking up any book that crossed my path. (Related reading: Reader for a Month)
Nowadays, whenever I need to pick up a new book, I check what my favourite authors and bloggers recommend. I especially like to go through Timothy Ferriss’ podcast transcriptions.
Ferriss interviews many successful and interesting people on his show and always asks them to share their favourite and most life-changing book titles. There’s plenty of great material to choose from.
3. Get a Kindle and hook up on Amazon
Listen, I can’t take one more printed books vs. digital books discussion.
I mean, seriously: the Kindle weighs next to nothing and can contain up to a 1000 books–still weighing next to nothing. This alone should convince everyone to never buy a printed book again.
But if that’s not enough, then what about the built-in dictionary and translation feature in whatever language you need? Both are extremely handy, but the later is grande for when you want to read books in your learning-language.
With just one touch on the screen you get an instant translation. I wouldn’t have ever been able to get through a Spanish book without it. (Related reading: Polyglot for a Month)
Furthermore, you can install a Kindle application across all your most-used digital devices (Kindle, iPad, iPhone, MacBook, PC), allowing you to have access to all your books at any time.
What I especially love about the Kindle application is that it allows me to mix up the way I read my books.
For example, I’ll use my MacBook to go through picture-loaded books and works that contain a lot of external links; while I’ll use my Kindle for text-only reads, and yet again, I’ll use my iPhone to learn Spanish vocabulary on the go.
There are many more reasons why you should buy a Kindle (to find out which, follow this link and scroll down) and get hooked up to Amazon, but I’ll just name one more: shopping for books on Amazon is AWEsome.
With just one click, using your phone, computer or Kindle, you can buy any book you wish from a huge selection, and then, in a matter of seconds, the book will get uploaded (over Wi-Fi) straight to any or all of your devices.
I mean, seriously.
4. Read what you like
Don’t concern yourself with what is considered to be haute reading: only read books that you truly enjoy reading.
If that’s supermarket romance novels for you, then fuck it, read that. After “50 Shades of Grey” became a bestseller everything is acceptable.
Also, if you’re 50 pages into a book and it isn’t doing much for you, stop reading it and get yourself a different book. Trust me: it never gets better. Move on.
5. Read attentively
If you’re going to do a reading spin-off with a grande total of titles in mind than you might as well not start at all.
It’s not about how many books you manage to read by the end of the month (who’s counting anyway?).
It’s about enjoying the freedom of only having to read and giving yourself the chance to learn and grow from the experience.
Read actively and take your time to understand a book.
Deepen the experience and look up words and concepts that you don’t understand; follow external links; watch a YouTube video that pops up and get into details if you feel like it.
6. Don’t just read
Being immersed for hours into reading can be dense. To lighten up the experience, I advise you to do your reading spin-off alongside another spin-off and switch every week between the two.
I switched between reading one week and working on The Girl With The Blueprint the other (etc.). This worked out quite nicely. After working for a week on The Girl With The Blueprint, I’d look forward to the reading week and vice versa.
You can also try and switch between highly-informative works and some lighter, more entertaining material, like autobiographies. Doing this is especially important if you plan on reading only non-fiction.
Your brain can only take so much how-to and do-this advise in a row. Don’t force read yourself.
Mix up the kind of books that you’re reading. The important stuff will stick better this way and make for a far more enjoyable month.
Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: Do you have other tips for better reading experiences? How do you decide what books you’ll read? And, what’s one of your favourite books?