Reading, when done right, is joyful. It opens up the world to all kinds of possibilities. When I was a kid, though, some of my relatives thought I read too much, and some of my teachers thought what I was reading was “trash.” I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had such experiences. Some people, who have internalized these views, may even think that they just don’t like reading. Anything. Ever. Period. I have a little sign hanging in my office that says “if you don’t like reading, you are doing it wrong.”
I’ve always loved genre fiction from when I was in primary school and read Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet books, and later in elementary school discover Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. But I also loved historical fiction, and scary stories, and westerns, and romance, and mysteries, and adventure, and all types of entertaining books. Because of this I was thrilled when I ran across Betty Rosenberg’s First Law of Reading: “Never apologize for your reading tastes.”
So, is there a right way to read? Yes, but not in the way my relatives and teachers thought of it. Every book is a creative experience built from the reader’s imagination, filtered through their experiences, applied to an armature of the writer’s words. One reader’s trash really can be another reader’s treasure – and both people, in a sense, are right.
Because I love reading so much, I’ve thought long and hard about what makes reading fun. So, without further ado, here is my list of Rules of Reading to help you read the right way:
- Read what you enjoy.
- Realize every reading experience is unique.
- You don’t have to like the books other people tell you are great, and you can love books nobody else likes.
- If you aren’t liking what you are reading, STOP! (Unless it was assigned for school or work.)
- Always have a backup book in case you finish your book or decide you don’t want to continue with what you are reading.
- Find your comfort books, the books you know you love, so that if you get into a reading slump you can try reading one of them. If it doesn’t work, you need to get outside and do something else for a while.
- The bottom line is reading is different for everyone, but if you are reading the right books, magazines, blogs, or even technical manuals for you, it is great!