Is reading a chore?
Reading a novel should be a pleasurable experience, but all too often I hear comments such as, ‘it’s hard work,’ or ‘I can’t keep track of the story.’
In my early twenties I went through a period when I didn’t read. When I decided I wanted to read again, I had problems. Aside from not knowing what to read, I found books hard work. The act of reading wasn’t fluid; I stumbled over words and I had no flow or rhythm. It felt as though it took me an eternity to get though a few pages, and it didn’t seem worth the effort.
So what can you do about it?
1) Choose an easy-to-read novel, and don’t assume classics fit into that category. Some may, but the style of many is considered old-fashioned and hard to grasp.
Also remember fiction is hugely subjective. What is considered a brilliant read for one person can be seen to be awful to another. So choose carefully.
2) If the subject interests you, you are more likely to stick with it.
3) Check the genre. Don’t buy a thriller if you like a beach read!
4) Take note of the authors style. Authors write differently. Some like lots of description, others like dialogue. Some like the book to be written for one point of view throughout the entire book, others like to write from multiple points of view. Neither is wrong; they are just different. If you are struggling with the authors style, but still enjoy the story, stick with it. It will get easier.
5) Read frequently. Reading a little bit every day not only will help you keep track of the story but it also develops your skill as a reader. Over time you will learn to read faster, and as a result, the story appears to move on quicker.
6) Don’t worry if you forget any of the detail such as character names or the scenes in which the characters have been involved in. As you progress through a novel, it will become clearer. You’re not revising for an exam and there isn’t a test afterwards!
On a personal note I often forget how characters are related to the protagonist, but I rarely look back to remind myself who they are. My understanding will grow with the number of pages I have read.
7) Some authors like to leave in unanswered questions to raise intrigue. This is not meant to be a test. Accept you don’t know the answer and move on.
8) Finally, enjoy the thrill of the ride.