How to Finish Reading Books {Without Trying}

The other day, a reader posted the following comment and in it came a question of how to start/finish a book:

Thanks Tara for sharing, i love, love reading your blog. I admire you for reading loads of interesting books (that I like) but don't have the courage to finish it. Can you please help me and encourage me to read and a t least finish one book, i have two kids (3.5 and 1.5) they're both good , i think i will still find time to read. The last time i finished a book was when i was in highschool. i'm almost 35 now and want to read but don't know where to start. please please help. thanks!
- Kaye Q

I guess I will start with the issue of choosing which book to read, in which case I will show you two books I got two weeks ago, Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange and Thirty Things by the Glamour Team. I have finished both books before reaching the next weekend and have moved on to several books on style {Nina Garcia's are all my favorites}. That, on top of working 14 hour days at the office, moving around the metro for shoots for these films and trying to have some semblance of a social life. Of course, if like Kaye, one has kids, and toddlers, too, I'm pretty sure it's even harder to read.

But how does one do it?

There will be no hard and fast formulas on reading --- but here are some tips that has worked for me over time.

  1. Choose books that you really like. With so many things to do in a day, precious reading time is precious. I sometimes chance upon books I thought I liked, and challenged myself to read through the end and never finished it. I thought that if I am already on the fifth chapter and yet I don't feel anything, not an ounce of entertainment, I should just shelf the book and move on to the next read. I think that's my most important technique.
  2. Listen to yourself, and not the best seller list. We sometimes get pressured to reading titles because it appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. I once tried to get through old classics but couldn't finish them because thrillers aren't just my thing. I used to feel bad that I couldn't get through page two of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings --- was it because I was shallow and I just wanted to read chick lit? Maybe so --- but I didn't care anymore, I will read whatever I felt like reading. Over the years, my conversational English have become superior, thanks to years and years of reading fiction {chick lit included}.
  3. Bring a book wherever you go. It took me years before I could actually stow a book into my bag. After decades of bringing school books every day, I wanted to revel in bringing a lighter bag and then I realized life could give us so many idle times it's always useful to have a book, whatever we're reading inside the bag. Useful in the airplane, too, when every gadget must be turned off.
  4. Read in the loo, in the lounge, or any place you find your mind wandering. 
  5. If you're not the e-book reader, don't force yourself to be. I am obviously not an e-book reader --- I've no ebook title ever finished. At all. So don't go guilty in purchasing paperbacks. 
  6. And at the same time, if you're the ebook type, continue reveling in e-books.
  7. And if you aren't both, find your medium. Most of my male friends are visual creatures so they always read graphic novels. A female exec friend is too busy to sit down and read so she listens to audiobooks {like Game of Thrones}. As we've learned, every person's learning path is triggered in various ways so know what's best for you. 
  8. Have a reading partner, or read to your kids. The best conversations I have in my life are always with friends, the books we both have read, or books that has changed our lives. Hearing about other people's experiences and interpretations of stories inspire me to find out for myself if I'll have the same or not.
  9. Lose yourself in the book. I try to be really engaged in a book every time I read. This means my phone will be on silent mode, my laptop turned off, my iPad away from me, and no sounds playing in the corner where I read, just a scented candle burning and pillows. 

That's it for now! I am off to my little reading corner to read my favorite Audrey Hepburn bios. To KayeQ and anyone having trouble finishing a book, I wish you well in your reading journey! Have a wonderful day, girls!