Three tips to help you read boring books

Assigned to read a thick volume of literature and feel like falling asleep? Reading should be an enjoyable task, but there are times when books are simply too dry to bear. No matter how boring a book is, it is always possible to persevere and finish the book. In order to continue reading the book, it helps to not think about how boring the book is. Another trick is to relate it to another event. Lastly, it helps to take a break every once in a while.

First off, constantly thinking about how boring a book is does not make it any more interesting. It does not do any good to constantly dwell on how stupid the teacher was to force students to read this stupid book. In contrast, it would be beneficial to focus on the more enjoyable parts. Savor the good parts and steam-roll through the rest. Since the book is usually a required reading, try to make the most of it. The book is as enjoyable as the reader makes it. It can be hours of suffering and reluctance, or it can be delightful and entertaining. Try to make yourself enjoy it if you have to read it anyways.

The second trick is to relate it to another event. It does not matter whether this is a real event or a fictional one from another book or movie. Connecting one event to another may allow you, as a reader, to further understand the situation and be more empathetic with the characters. By associating part of the book with a past experience, you will have a better recollection of that passage. This is because memory is associative; associating a new memory with an old one allows the new one to be easily remembered.

Lastly, sometimes it is just better to take a break. Go do something else before coming back to confront the book. Perhaps you may experience something new that can be related to the book. Going out for a walk, eating a meal, or even taking a shower can help. Of course, the length of the break may vary. If the book is a required reading for a class, then the deadline may be quite urgent. If the book is just an interest, the break could be indefinite. However, according to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, it takes repetitive rehearsals to encode knowledge into memory. Just taking a day off from a book can strip half of the knowledge away. Taking a break is fine, just remember to get back to it sooner rather than later.

In the end, reading should be a relaxing task; it is intrinsically rewarding. Every so often, there comes a book that is so boring that it seems impossible to continue. With some perseverance and knowledge of psychology, the book and its contents can be conquered. If you really need an extra push of motivation, try rewarding yourself after you read a certain number of pages. Gradually add more and more pages before the reward and then try to wean yourself off of it completely.