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Discerning Culture

7 Ways You Can Read More… Books


Like David Murray, I too find myself reading more pabulum and less books. His suggestions are excellent. But for 2014, I am taking some other actions. Here are my steps. Want to join me?

1. Use the empty shelf challenge. This novel concept by Jon Acuff creates an empty space that demands to be filled. And when I read something, it goes in there. I have done the same thing for my Kindle. The emptiness cries out to me. As it is filled, I begin to be encouraged.

2. Use the full shelf challenge. Where will the books come from that fill that shelf? I have books laying around the house that I have not read. When I look at them, a little guilty thought, “I should read this book,” goes off in my head. Now, I don’t have to feel guilty. I just put them on a shelf for books that I want to read.

3. Make reading a topic of conversation with others. “What have you been reading lately?” is a great question. You widen your horizons as you learn from them. And then, as a polite person, they ask the same question of you. Now, you are forced to articulate and summarize what you have been learning.

4. Eat your vegetables before dessert. I will not allow myself to mindlessly browse the internet and blogs unless I have put in some substantial reading. As I have consumed more blogs I, too, can feel my brain changing. Blogs don’t help us think deeply. Books are better than blogs!

5. Block out hours. I managed to make my way through one 350 page book by setting aside a certain time each week to read it while waiting for my son at a class. I have a couple of other blocks in my week. Perhaps you can use Sunday. The Puritans used to call Sunday, “the marketday of the soul.” What 30 minute blocks can you carve out in a week?

6. Grab the minutes not hours. After speaking about hours, we also have 5-10 minute blocks here and there throughout the day. I can grab them and use them to read several pages and think about one or two new ideas.

7. Use Kindle and real books. I am using electronic books on Kindle is to read broadly. But at least for me, I can’t read Kindle books deeply. For that I need a paper book and a pen. Each has its place. Each “counts” as reading.

What other suggestions do you have?