Charlie's Blog

4.07.2024

Charlie's Reading Tips

For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.
LOUIS L'AMOUR

People want to read more books. I want to read more books. Why don't we read more books? That's easy. We have television and the internet sucking up our attention. In a power outage or a vacation away from devices, you will find yourself reaching for a book. So, should you toss out your TV set or your internet connected device in order to read more books? I think this is a drastic and unrealistic step. Here are some tips that I have found work for me. They may work for you.

1. Stop binge reading.

Binge reading comes in various forms, but it is the aspiration to read for hours at a stretch as you work your way through a bucket list of books. This strategy is doomed to failure unless books are all you have in life. The better strategy is to read in bits the same way you consume all of your other content. I pick a book that I am going to live with for awhile and read one chapter each evening. You discover why books are cut into chapters. Each chapter is a bit. Read each bit like you would eat a meal.

The thing that surprises me is how quickly I get through books using this method. I read more each week reading a daily bit that I could ever do binge reading on a Sunday afternoon. I also retain more as I take my time to read each chapter and reflect upon it until the next day's reading.

It is here that I must comment on the foolishness of speed reading. People think that speed reading is the way to go. I've tried it, and I can honestly say that speed reading doesn't work for me. I could barely tell you what I had just read. Like speed eating, speed reading doesn't do much for the digestion. I am a slow reader which means I enjoy it more and get more benefit from what I read.

2. Reading the Holy Bible.

The greatest book of all time is the Holy Bible. Naturally, people want to read the whole thing. I have read the entire Bible a couple of times. I don't know if Protestant versions should count, but I have read the entire Catholic Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible. It took me five years to do this.

I reject those reading the Bible in a Year plans. Those plans don't work. They have you read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament at the same time. Life happens, and you fall behind on the reading schedule. You play catch up on the reading which leads to binge reading. Eventually, you just give up and forget you even tried. Do yourself a favor and don't do this.

The way I read the Bible is to cover a couple of chapters each morning as I drink my coffee. I read the Bible like a newspaper. Once upon a time, I read the morning newspaper, but the internet happened. That leaves the Bible. I may read a chapter or three depending upon my time and mood. If I miss a day, I just pick up where I last stopped reading. I keep a fat bookmark just for this purpose.

I recommend reading the New Testament first with the four gospels. After completing the New Testament, I go to the Old Testament with Genesis. I just read it straight through like any other book. When you finish, do it again. You can never read the Bible too much. It will become a daily part of life and give you many blessings, encouragement, and wisdom.

3. NFP.

I pick a book for my evening reading, but I force myself to read a variety of books. If I didn't do this, I would only read mystery novels. To maintain variety, I remember the letters NFP which stands for non-fiction, fiction, and practical. As I write this, I am reading a fiction book. My next book will be a practical book. After that book, I go to a non-fiction book. By doing this, I read broadly but also pragmatically. It also keeps your reading from becoming dull.

Conclusion

Those are my tips for reading. My key point is to not binge read. I think binge reading is a vanity for stupid people. These are the ones who were focused on getting a piece of paper instead of learning things back in school. I am also not a books only type of guy. I surf the internet. I listen to the radio and podcasts. I watch movies and television. Books are just another pipeline of content for me. I just consume a more balanced information diet with those books. I think my tips will help you read more and get more enjoyment and benefit from what you read. You will end up reading a lot more with the bits method than the binge method.