Is your reading list bursting with books?
Personally, I can’t help it. I keep adding new books to my list every other day or so.
And each new book I add seems more appealing than the one I’m currently reading.
To me, new books are kinda like lottery tickets. Each one is a potential epiphany-jackpot, harboring eye-opening revelations that may alter my life.
Each book title that’s sitting on my reading list promises to…
- solve problems faster and better
- reveal obstacle-shattering insights
- entertain more than any other book before
What’s more, with an eReader, new books are just a click away. The temptation to jump from an unfinished book to a fresh, secret-brimming book is… irresistible.
So yeah, if you’re struggling the siren’s call of new books, keep reading. I’ll divulge to you my recipe to fight the Shiny Book Syndrome. (Akin to the Shiny Object Syndrome.)
But before we get to the solution, let’s take a quick look at…
What’s The Problem When You Don’t Finish Reading Books?
While the epiphany-density varies from book to book, it’s self-evident that only a complete examination of a book may reveal all its secrets.
Be inquisitive. Open your eyes, open your minds to things you don’t necessarily know even exist. I think that’s an important part of learning and growing. The more you’re willing to ask, the more you’re going to get out of it.
With that being said, if I wouldn’t follow a set of self-imposed regulations, I’d probably drown in a torrent of unfinished books (and their yet-to-be-revealed secrets).
Enough of that for now. Let me introduce to you my personal strategy now.
Strategies To Finish Reading Books
(As an aside: In this post, I’ll mention “Goodreads.com” a couple of times. Their site is 100% free and I don’t get a single cent from recommending it to you.)
Keep a Tidy Reading List
Chaos retreats when order advances. To the same effect, ranking and filing an avalanche of “wanna-read” books puts the kibosh on desultory reading habits.
First thing, create your reading list. Digital or offline. Personally, I prefer the superb reading list function on Goodreads. List and rank all the books you’d like to read. You’ll see, it’s a fun and soothing experience to sort through your wanna-read books.
Then, whenever a new book catches your eye, put it on your list… right away.
Start A Reading Challenge
Who doesn’t like challenges?
Challenges are like games. Games are fun. And we want to win them.
Better yet, if you start a public challenge, you’re chances to win are empirically higher. It works.
So, why don’t you launch yours right now? Challenge yourself to finish x-amount of books this year. Check out Goodreads’ easy-to-use reading challenge function. There you can smoothly keep track of your progress.
I suggest you aim for an easy-to-win challenge at first. That way, you won’t feel pushed to read more than you’d actually enjoy. In any case, you can adjust your yearly goal any time you like.
Read Several Books Simultaneously
Reading several books at the same is stimulating.
Whenever you get bored with one book (and thus lose focus & understanding), ignite your interest by switching to another one.
The best thing about it? You’ll discover the most fascinating connections among individual books. Unrelated ideas begin to fuse, augmenting your comprehension and recollection, and give birth to new insights.
Again, on Goodreads, you’ll find the “currently reading” function immensely useful. There, you can add your current books and update your progress right after each reading session.
I find hitting that “Update progress” button strangely satisfying.
Are you using a Kindle? Create your custom collection on it and name it something like “My Active 5 Books”. Add to it your current picks.
Now, of course, the golden rule is: only start a new book when you’ve finished one of your current books.
Read Difficult Books in Small Chunks
You know what happens when you get lost in a book?
Reading turns into drudgery because you don’t know what’s going on anymore. Confusion and boredom settle in. The result? That book will end up on the “read in another century” pile.
Instead, here’s what works:
Grab that one challenging book you’ve been plowing through and only read a few pages… but with an inquisitive mindset. Read slowly to allow your mind to keep up with your reading speed. As soon as your focus and/or curiosity wanes, close the book and think for a moment about what you’ve just read.
The next time you’ll open that book, your level of comprehension reinforces your motivation to keep going.
After tickling your brain with a hard book, update your progress on Goodreads. Then, ideally, retreat to one of your easier books.
(BTW, if you want to get the most out of your books, and you use a Kindle, you can find all your notes and highlights on Goodreads. There you can review what’s important to you, and perhaps, add your highlights to your commonplace.)
Join a Reading Community
Reading, in my opinion, shouldn’t be for entertainment only. Some books may be boring, hard, or dull, yet reading (and understanding) them may bring great rewards. But because of their challenging nature, you may find it hard to motivate yourself.
The solution? If you join a horde of like-minded book-nerds, your motivation for reading (and finishing) books will go through the roof.
Here’re a few sites where you’ll find groups of book geeks who share your hunger for books:
Wrapping It Up
How do you tame your greed for books? What are the books you struggle with? What are you reading right now?
Please leave me your comment below.
What an astonishing thing a book is.
It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years.
Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs.
Books break the shackles of time.
A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.Carl Sagan
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