10 Ways to Become a Better Reader


1️⃣ Evaluate Books Thoughtfully ⁣

Whether or not you liked a book and whether or not it was a good book are two different (both valuable) things. ⁣

When you finish a book, evaluate, was this: ⁣

A) a good reading experience⁣
B) good storytelling⁣
C) good writing ⁣

2️⃣ Read Literary Criticism⁣

Taking in and pondering a critical understanding of books will organically develop your own. ⁣

3️⃣ Listen to People Talk About Books ⁣

There are podcasts and newsletters for both academic, critical book discussions and for “Book Chat”, and both are valuable. ⁣

Listening to a wide range of people discuss books will both deepen and widen your own layers of understanding. ⁣

Pay attention to observations about genre, trends, writing, and more. ⁣

4️⃣ Increase Your Understanding of Genre and Writing⁣

This understanding is best developed slowly and organically. ⁣

Begin to pay attention to what books are trying to do and what they aren’t. ⁣

Learn to recognize when a book is doing what it aims to well. ⁣

A well crafted mystery should be different than masterful literary fiction. ⁣

Good readers know the difference. ⁣

5️⃣ Check Your Pride and Identity Your Reading Fears ⁣

What places are provoked within you when you encounter a critique of a specific book or when you’re prompted to go beyond your comfort zone?

6️⃣ Look Up and Understand the Meaning of Didactic, Dogmatic, and Stilted Language… ⁣

And learn to recognize them. ⁣

7️⃣ Evaluate Your Aims ⁣

Are you more committed to being an “elite reader” or a good one? ⁣

The latter requires a commitment to developing good taste, a nuanced perspective, and critical thinking skills. ⁣

8️⃣ Read Book Reviews ⁣

Both critical and reviews from lay readers. ⁣

Examine the presuppositions and biases seemingly held by the reader, what they prioritize in their reading, and what they’re actually saying. ⁣

9️⃣ Hear From Authors ⁣

Read and listen to author interviews to learn more about what books are aiming to be and how they pursue those aims. ⁣

🔟 Diversify Your Reading ⁣

NOTHING will (slowly, subtly, sustainably) make you a better reader than reading widely, from every genre, place, and age. ⁣

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