I would argue that how you read books is just as important as the number or type of books you read. (You can read 50 books a year, but if you don't do so in a way that allows you to digest, assimilate or reject the information you read, and then potentially change your life, you just spent a lot of time reading text and turning pages with no real benefit.)
How can we read in a way that leaves us a better follower of Jesus? (Not merely with more head knowledge.)
Here's my attempt at doing so:
- Read less and read slowly: As per my 2012 Reading List, I'm trying to read about 12 books this year. I'm sure more avid readers laugh at that number, but I've found that a book a month is about all I can read and still have a chance to do something with it. Similarly I read a chapter or two from those books each week week. I'm not punching out an entire book in two nights. Letting the ideas run through your mind throughout a week or day is a great way to filter what you're reading: What's true? What's useful? What's neither of these? What do I need to change? What do I need to reject?
- Take notes: I used to be a more avid note taker. But now it seems I only pen things in my book journal if they truly stand out to me and I feel that they would be helpful to me in the future.
- Review your notes sooner: For me, this is when I write my How I Read It posts. The goal here is that soon after reading you ask yourself: What stood out and what is worth hanging on to?
- Review your notes later: For most of the books I've reviewed on this blog, this step hasn't happened yet. But when I fill up my book journals, I slow down my pace of reading even more while I review what I read over the last few years. At this point it's pretty amazing how little rises to the surface as important. But what does stick around is usually gold.
* You always have my permission to stop reading a blog post. Or to unsubscribe to my blog altogether. Only take the time to read it if it's valuable to you.