Committing to reading a book, especially if you’re something other than an unemployable wretch, is a time-consuming process. How does one find the time to read in this day and age?
Plenty of people will have excuses: “Oh, I have a baby to care for”, “Oh, I’m hungover”, or “I just don’t have the time, okay?” Well, make the time. I do most of my reading whilst commuting, but even if you can only fit in 20 minutes a day, do so. Split it into two 10 minute segments if you want – at the start of the day and then at the end.
Do this and you’ll read a novella in a week, potentially. A novel in two months. This, over time, will provide you with all manner of intellectual stimulation and interesting stuff to mouth off about. But… how do you find great books to read? By heck, here’s a new section to find out how!
Reading The Right Stuff
I’ve always been drawn towards canonical literature rather than the bestsellers list. This is partly because I can be a bit snobbish at times, but also as you’re far more likely to be guaranteed a seminal work if you pick a novel which has been critically lauded over decades or centuries.
Madame Bovary, for instance, is far more likely to appeal to you than 50 Shades of Grey. Why? Well, the former was written by a genius and his novel is recognised as a classic. The latter is a tawdry pile of crap written by someone who could do a lot better. Ignore the fact it’s sold so well – Madame Bovary is the one for you.
How do you go about discerning such information? Head to excellent sources! You really can’t go wrong with Penguin Classics. There you’ll find all manner of amazing literature – read through the synopsis of a few and take your pick.
Penguin Books, of course, features modern literature which may tempt you. However, we’re particularly fond of Alma Books as they’re independent publishers and choose unique titles to promote to serious readers.
You can also rely on a site such as Goodreads to get a decent understanding of how literature fans rate certain books. From there, you’ll be able to comprehend whether or not you want to commit to purchasing and reading a title which interests you. Or, try out my Book of da Week section over on Professional Moron, where I’ve reviewed (in concise form) over 100 books.
There’s also, no doubt, a local library near you. So get in there and register – you’ll be flying high before you know it. It’s one of the great forgotten modern luxuries. All that knowledge available to you, right there!
Buying Your Books
We tend to go to Waterstones to buy our books, but this situation will no doubt be a great deal different if you’re from a country other than the UK.
Amazon is a good source as well as you can get what you’re looking for usually at cheap secondhand price. eBay is another good option, in this respect.
Wherever you are, however, take your pick and you can always sell your books on at a secondhand shop at a later date. Or, if you like what you’ve read, hand the book over a friend to read – literature is a shared experience, after all.