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How to Read

Spotity designer Tobias Van Schneider teaches us all how to consume more books:

A couple years ago I always struggled to finish books, as we all do. I had this set concept in my head on how I’m supposed to read a book. One after one, from start to finish. We think we have to honor a book as a work of art and follow it’s pages in order as we learned in school.

I, too, struggle to finish books. But that's because I do honor books as a work of art. On a site called Narrative First that probably shouldn't come as a shock. I can see this working with non-fiction, but fiction?

Story is everything. Why break that up into separate chunks and distract yourself with other narratives, if only to impress everyone with how much you read?

I think I would rather enjoy one story at a time. Novels to me are like movies--designed to be enjoyed as a complete work of art. You don't watch a couple scenes of a movie, then listen to the audiobook for a couple more scenes, and then jump to another movie only to return several days later.

The rest is a listicle advising you to make the books you don't destroy your own and to make sure you carry a book with you at all times. Again, it sounds fine for non-fiction--but atrocious for fiction. My favorite is the suggestion to read a book twice:

The second time we read a book we engage with it on a deeper emotional level. We project ourselves and our feelings into the story, it’s now about us!

Perhaps you would engage more deeply if you were paying more attention the first time? Or it could be that the story itself is not structurally sound. I know my mind tends to drift when it's apparent the Author has no idea where they're going. If the story is structured competently (i.e., a storyform), that "deeper emotional level" would be felt the first time through.

Assuming you're granting the story your full attention.