Books mean different things to different readers. To some it is escapism through language, to a few, it is a new perspective on the world around them, and for yet others, it may be education, leisure, or absolutely anything they want it to be, really. Nevertheless, whether you are cruising through historic battles or dystopian politics, there may be ways to immerse yourself entirely within the prints on the page, and experience it deeply, as if it were your own life!
Now, you may wonder what good that does you. Modern science would tell you that such activities involve cognitive skills that have proven to be beneficial to your mind. But reader to reader, isn’t literature just all the more fun this way? And while we each may have our own preferences about how to make reading more enjoyable, let's take a look at a few ways that you may yet try.
1. Scribble or doodle
Some readers may find joy in taking down notes on the events of the book as they read it. Some may enjoy writing about how areas of the book made them feel. Mindlessly doodling, whilst reading might actually help you focus on the content even better. If this is something you haven’t tried yet, it might be worth the shot! Activities that allow you to impart the information you read, into other artistic channels, or perhaps just in a private journal, could help you remember the book better and in a more personal manner. It creates intimacy between you and the book in a way that you may not have discovered otherwise.
2. Characters or people?
Close your eyes. Think of the last book you read. Think of the characters you remember well. Can you imagine what they would be like if they were to exist in the world you live in right now? Or perhaps, can you think of someone within your social circles who reminds you of any of those characters? It may interest you to correlate these people on paper, with the people around you, as it could help you empathize better. It may even help you explore emotional aspects within yourself!
3. Enquire and explore!
It may be worthwhile to read about the author, editor, illustrator, and other people involved in the crafting of the book as it could give you better insight into the depth of the content as well as background or context. Similarly, skimming through the internet or other works, the themes discussed in the book that you may not have heard of before or just happen to be curious about, could lead to more fascinating material to read!
4. Keep the dictionary away
Contrary to popular belief, or at least what lessons at school suggest, don’t pick up a dictionary or take the help of the internet every time you come across a word that seems difficult or unknown to you. Try to gauge the meaning of the entire sentence instead, from context. This reduces the number of times you’ll forcefully break your reading flow, which in turn makes the whole process a lot less daunting and tiresome. However, don’t hesitate to pick up on new vocabulary that interests you!
5. Personal tastes
This is probably the most important tip of all, especially if you aren’t reading for an academic course or for any other such institutional obligations. An international top 3 or top 5 best picks in literature do not determine your engagement with the work. Of course, the likelihood is higher with these sort of curated lists, however, don’t ever feel pressured into reading something that completely bores you. Pick something that suits your tastes, your hobbies, and the state of mind you’re in at that point in time. Leisure reading shouldn’t be anything but leisure!
So, keeping these tips in mind, why don’t you embark on an adventure- poetic, philosophical, horrifying, or even historical? It's your call!