When I first started reading avidly, there were so many books that I liked and disliked. But over the years, I learned to read critically. If you are a beginner reader, one of the challenges you might face is tackling difficult books. Whether it understands complex vocabulary or complex sentence structures, these things might be a little more difficult for you. So if you’re finding yourself in that position, this article is for you.
How To Read A Difficult Book?
Books can be enjoyable and entertaining, but sometimes they can represent a bigger challenge. Certain tips can be universal and help you whenever you find yourself in front of a book that seems impossible to finish. Let’s discuss 10 tricks to read any difficult book.
1. Don’t try to understand every single word
The difficult books you’re reading are not for any assignment or dissertation pieces. So if you are reading for fun and pleasure, then there is no need to understand every word in the book. Take away that pressure of understanding everything in the book. You will enjoy the reading process.
You can try to understand the core matter of the book. You don’t need to understand dialogues between many characters and the book’s story.
2. Do research
No one completely understands a book from front to back every sentence. No one understands a book without some amount of research that is done. Go on the internet and look for critical essays about the book, different book summaries done by other authors, or community forums. You can talk to people who have read the book and understand what they think about the book. That is what I mean by research.
- Study the different summaries and reviews, which are on community forums like on Goodreads.
I look at what people are saying about the book. Then I also try to read what the author has to say about the book to see if my interpretation matches what the author was trying to say.
Reading does take time, and it does take effort. If you don’t attempt to decipher what an author is trying to say, then maybe reading is not for you. Because reading is all about critical thinking. It’s all about your perspective or someone else’s perspective.
3. Read abridged version
Sometimes there is no quick fix for reading and understanding a book critically. Abridged books are shorter versions of difficult classics. So it’s books where you remove the frills and fences, and you’re left with the book’s core story that the author was trying to convey. You won’t get all the books’ richness, but you will get the story’s main point. Sometimes abridged versions help because they cut away all the friends and fancy.
Sometimes the extremely descriptive part of the book or the difficult parts are cut out. So if you want to enjoy certain stories that are too intimidating for you to read, try to find the abridged version. You can also find the abridged audiobook versions, which I sometimes find very enjoyable.
- The abridged audiobooks are generally like whole glass audiobooks and then huge productions. So check out abridged books and audiobooks because sometimes their reading experience can be quite fun.
4. Have a dictionary and notes
Don’t be afraid of having a dictionary close to you. One of the recurring tips is using Internet resources like Spark Notes. That’s a page where you can find breakdowns in the analysis of the book chapter by chapter.
You can even have quizzes to test your knowledge of the book. Make sure that you understand everything properly. After finishing, a chapter, check the summary and the quiz and move on with another chapter. You can find all kinds of analyses online. Another might go through resources, YouTube videos. Many book review videos help you to understand the hard book easily.
5. Break it down, have a goal
If you have a book about five hundred pages to decide how many pages you will read a day? How much time are you going to read a day? When we have separation, it gives us that feeling of accomplishment. Also, you get to control how much time it will take you and things like that. It gives you the momentum to keep going or at least end the reading session on a happy note to make the separation for yourself.
6. Join the book community
There’s no better way to keep yourself accountable and motivated than counting on someone else, maybe you to have a friend or a family member willing to be with you. But there’s always the option of joining a book club, either real or online. One good place to find all of these book clubs is Goodreads. That is a social media that’s only dedicated to books.
- You can find a lot of discussion groups and many challenges to consider challenges for yourself. That’s good for motivation, especially if it’s a book that you’re struggling with having that sort of accountability.
7. Watch movie version
By watching the movie, you get a general idea of the themes of the novel’s tone. There’s no shame in that. You have to be careful and read what people say about the adaptation. Is it a good one? Keep that in mind when you’re watching the movie so that you’re not unfair with the book and judging it because of the movie.
There is power in the location. Any of you do. Take the book out if you can make your overall reading experience so much more comfortable.
8. Use highlighter and journal
Use a highlighter handy and do highlight the main point. If you want to commit it to memory, you might remember it more. But when you rewrite that point, it sinks into your mind quite a bit more. So rewrite it into your journal. Then writing causes us to internalize that more and remember it more.
So take the most potent part of the book and put it in your journals. Once you have finished the book, reread the notes and highlight the most important notes. It’s effortless to do training and to do a blog post and train on different things that can add value to people’s lives.
9. Objectivity Vs subjectivity
If anyone ever gives you the advice you need to be as objective as possible in your review, that’s terrible advice. Don’t listen to them. It’s impossible to be completely objective in a review. Your brain is wired to be biased and subjective, especially when it comes to something so personal as a story. You’re going to be subjective, though being as objective as possible is not good advice.
- The best advice is to learn to be aware of your subjectivity. People who think they’re objective will not give very helpful reviews because different people experience stories differently.
But if you know how subjective your reading is, you can empathize with how different people might enjoy different things in books. That is going to lead to beneficial reviews.
10. Questions yourself about choice
There are two keys to reading critically. The first one is learning to understand when something is on you and when something is on the book and the writing.
The second key is always to ask why. It can teach you to be more critical in other areas of your life. Also, you don’t have to read all the time critically, and that’s completely fine. Choose your favorite category that you feel and don’t follow others’ choices. Your choice supports your mind and mind to defeat the difficulty.
There are many ways to make it nicer for yourself, like creating that environment in the book. The book is the mission thing. It feels less like pressure and more like an experience. So I don’t know, dim the lights, go to the balcony, serve yourself a nice cup of something and read your book.
Reading books is like a growth process. It’s how you water yourself. You have to water your mind, producing the fruits of those efforts. Do consistently over time, through this commitment to personal development and following this process. You will internalize it and grow more than anyone else every year by consistently doing it. Water yourself through knowledge, through personal development. Follow this process and watch how it affects your life.
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