How to Enjoy a Novel

I’ve met a good number of people who tell me that they don’t like reading novels and when I ask why, I hear a lot of weird things like ‘novels are too big’ and ‘I’d rather just watch the movie’; this article is not aimed at you who would rather watch a movie than read a book (your case is in the hands of God now), but you who want to read a book but end up stopping halfway through for some unknown reason.

In this article we would run through a few bad practices that can make reading a novel tedious and their counters that will make the novel-reading process more interesting and fun for you.

Bad Reading Practices and their Counters

  1. Reading the blurb (back of the book): I see a lot of people picking up a book and the very first thing they do is to flip it around and read the back to know what it is about; every book is supposed to be an adventure, a magical journey to unknown places. Knowing where you are going before you arrive is a way to dampen the magic a bit. If possible, don’t read the blurb or know what it is about before you decide to read it.
    To counter this, learn to trust your authors. Read two or three of their books (or in my case fifty of Stephen King’s books) and if they don’t disappoint you, trust them to always deliver great books and stories in the future. For me, authors I trust include Stephen King, Ken Follett, Michael Crichton, John LeCarre, Brent Weeks, Elmore Leonard, Nelson DeMille, Justin Irabor, Toluwaleyi Babalobi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ben Okri and a host of others.
  2. Reading online reviews: Reading online reviews is a sure way to make you prejudiced about a book. Book critics all have different opinions and points of view and sometimes are so disrespectful as to write the entire plot of the novel in the review. When you read three online reviews about the same book, chances are that you have probably read half of the book already.
    To counter this, get a personal reviewer or a friend who you know is interested in that particular author or genre and have him/her personally recommend books for you. For me, I have a friend named John who picks fantasy books for me to read and he hasn’t been anything less than spot-on even once. Your personal reviewer does not need to tell you what the book is about, just whether it is interesting or not. Also your ‘personal reviewer’ can be a blog or magazine or internet buddy.
  3. Reading two books simultaneously: Like I said earlier, reading a book is supposed to be an adventure, a magical journey to unknown places. You can’t travel to two places at once (except you’re Houdini or Padre Pio), it would make both of the books less enjoyable than reading them one at a time. A way many people fall into this conundrum is when they are reading a book on their laptop or tablet and the battery dies but they want to keep read something, so they go ahead and start reading a print book. I fell into this conundrum myself when reading The Exorcist and David Copperfield (both taking me around a month to finish.)
    To counter this, you can copy the book to your phone (if you’re into eBooks) so when your laptop or tablet’s battery runs out, you can continue reading. Basically, just be patient.
  4. Rushing a book: A novel read for fun is not a competition; you aren’t writing exams or trying to analyse the book, so what is the hurry? Even if you can rush the book and finish it in one day, what would be the point of it without letting the book have proper time to saturate your brain and influence you? In the words of Brandon Sanderson, ‘…Journey not Destination’; the reading of the book is supposed to be more interesting than just getting to the end or finishing it.
    Even while trying to keep up with the one book a week rule, remember that nothing is set in stone and that ultimately reading a novel is for your amusement and recreation.

We hope that these pointers will help you enjoy your novels better; you can contribute to the discussion by using the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to get the updates on the latest posts by email.


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