How to Read Non-Fiction Books for Pleasure

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 vendor 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 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 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 broaden 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.

Bonus:
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.

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About Lillian

I am a proud student of the human experience which provides me with the perfect excuse for being a bibliophile (read: book hoarder) and the unofficial patron of Nairobi Inama bookshops. But in my past life, I was a recorder player. You can also find me on Medium (@lillianyamongo) where I discuss sustainable finance.
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2 Responses to How to Read Non-Fiction Books for Pleasure

  1. readandfind says:

    Great tips! I am nervous for post-studenthood. Haha

    Like

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