Just because I  have set myself some very audacious  reading goals for 2016 (see here and here) does not mean I am having a walk in the park.

Let me explain…

If you follow me on Goodreads, you will notice that I have read 10/50 books already (at the time of writing this post).  I know that some of you might say that I am “cheating” because I have read mostly children books that are all fairly under 250 pages with the majority being in the Dear America series… Well, I kind of stumbled into a number of them at one of my favourite second-hand book vendors and they have indulged my inner child.  I was also hoping that they would get me out of my reading slump.

This made me question how I can get to read more non-fiction especially after sharing the books that I would like to read post-studenthood. It’s one thing to actually have books on your TBR (to be read) list and its another to actually pick one and engage with it. So I reviewed some of the reading advice that I normally give to others and applying it to my own scenario.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

Always have a book with you
Regardless of the genre, this is always my #1 tip. I feel that we could always make use of the fringe hours in traffic,  queuing at the bank or at some customer service centre. There is always time to kill. The more that you have a particular book in your reach, the more likely you are to reach for it.

Read-only what grabs your attention
When people ask me how they can get into reading,  my advice is to read what you enjoy. Life is too short to read boring books.  You can make more “informed” decisions about a book by reading through the table of contents, appendices and even the author’s bio.

Engage with the book
Not all books can be read like a novel. Sometimes you can begin with the chapter that interests you the most. As I mentioned in this post, I want to read Ha-Joon Chang’s Bad Samaritans because I stumbled on it while writing my dissertation and after a quick perusal and reading some relevant chapters, I loved his accessible and witty manner of writing that I practically hunted the book down once I got the opportunity.

In her podcast,  entrepreneur Myleik Teele shares that she stretches herself to read out of her comfort zone by picking up the New York Times, USA Today and other renown publications and spends time looking up words and tries to make us of them when she can. This not only broadens your vocabulary but also gives you great conversation fodder.

Keep a reading journal
This year, I decided to keep two reading journals: one for my finance-economics-non-fiction reads for research purposes and another just for general reading and quotes. For the more paper and pen kind of people, you could always write your thoughts, new words, mind maps on your journal. This could also be a good place to store all the marginalia especially if its a borrowed book. Alternatively, you could update Goodreads status or post pictures on Instagram or post quotes on Tumblr.

And on the topic of marginalia…

Don’t be afraid to write in your books

…except if its a borrowed (library) book. Please do not go all-wreck-this-journal style on public property in name of reading a book. What I mean is that you can annotate on the margins especially when you don’t have sticky notes or a pencil near you. You could even come up with your own system to indicate points that need further research, some interesting quotes etc.

You might also  like :

  • Some more brilliant advice from Peter Bregman: How to read a book a week
  • Need to get started on non-fiction reads?  Bill Gates has a great and diverse reading list for non-fiction enthusiasts.

Please share your favourite non-fiction books and why you would recommend them.

Originally published on my LinkedIn profile.

2 thoughts on “How to Read Non-Fiction Books for Pleasure

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