This is a guest post by Jamie. Find out more about Jamie at the end of this post!
After being invited to write a guest post on Eleanor’s brilliant blog, I thought that I would talk about the thing I spend most of my spare time doing- reading.
Nothing beats sitting down with a book, immersed in its landscapes and fascinated by its characters and what they’re getting up to. As someone who has taught English for quite some time, I have often noticed that readers fall prey to just reading for the sake of it, or even just to get to the punchlines of stories.
Many times in the past, I have rushed through novels, trying to get to the bits that everyone had been talking about.
The trouble is, when you do this you can find yourself missing other vital details, cleverly written gems and even miss the whole point of a story, therefore judging it harshly, based more on assumptions than facts.
So I want to give a few simple ways that might help you to enjoy reading even more. If you take a little time to fully appreciate a book, it can heighten your relationship with that story and may make you even more of a book lover.
1. Talk About It
Luckily for me, I have a close friend who loves reading too. We regularly buy the same book and discuss it as we go along. If either of us gets ahead of the other we just let the other one know and make sure that we read our other books for a bit until we are both literally ‘on the same page’.
The benefits of reading alongside a friend or relative is that you can natter about each and every chapter, comparing perceptions and having fun making predictions. Currently, Emily and I are reading ‘Apples Never Fall’ and savouring each and every part of the story as it unfolds.
2. Make Reading A Treat
There have been times where I’ve just wanted to get through a book quickly, and squeezed in a couple of pages here and there. Everyone does this.
Lately though, I have tried to ensure that those small bursts of reading are uninterrupted, quiet and enjoyable. The reality is, I don’t finish a book if it drags along. I used to force myself through to the end but these days I only read what feels right.
That way, my ten minutes of reading at break time is nothing but pure pleasure, and I can fully appreciate my reading time.
Blogs are really good ways to get into books. Recently I have picked up books by unknown authors purely because I read short reviews of them on blogs. Bloggers are clever and can describe the essence of a book alongside an honest perspective. Every time a book blogger has recommended a story and I have sampled it, it has turned out to be great.
‘The Dragon of Ynys’ is one such example, reviewed here by me.
Using resources provided for book clubs can also be interesting. For instance Joanne Harris provides questions and prompts for reading groups on her author site. Whether you are part of a club or not, answering thought- provoking questions by a writer can often really get you engrossed in a book and its setting.
4. Compare A Book To A Screen Version
I do this one all of the time. I read Harry Potter long before the film came out and enjoyed comparing the visuals that I’d built up in my head with Chris Columbus’ interpretation of Potter, Granger and Weasley.
On the other hand, I watched Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson in the film ‘Sense and Sensibility’ before trying the Jane Austen version out. I surprised myself by discovering I could read and love an ‘older’ book.
Although occasionally one version tends to be weaker than the other, in my experience it has been satisfying to appreciate a book on paper AND as a TV show or film. Case in point would be ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ which was amazing as a book and stunning as a series.
5) Read Somewhere Comfortable
Many of us like to take our reading on holiday with us. I am not one for sunbathing but if I ever do, I tend to be lapping up a contemporary novel at the same time. More likely, you will find me devouring a narrative as I sit in a train carriage, whizzing across Europe.
When I see people on Instagram sat high up in a beautiful mountainside retreat or nestled under a tree, absorbed in a book, I totally appreciate how great that must feel. Books are sources of pleasure and should be treated as such. If you want some time with your imagination, nothing is better than opening a story in a place you feel both comfortable and safe.
So there we have it! I hope that my five ways to fully appreciate reading resonated with you a little, and I would love to know your own thoughts on this matter.
Thank you so much to Eleanor for including me as a guest blogger on her lovely site, I have really found this fun to write.
How do you make sure you fully appreciate reading? What do you think of my tips for appreciating your favourite hobby? What are your recommendations for fully appreciating a good book?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x