More and more often lately, I find myself considering making a BookTube Channel.
As I’ve mentioned LITERALLY TONS of times on this blog recently, I’ve really gotten back into reading. And after discovering that other people have actually read the same books as me (who knew?) and that they were talking about it on the internet, it has become a great new interest of mine (BookTube I mean, not just reading. Although that helps).
But as some who know me well enough know… I already tried the YouTube thing once. And it did NOT go well (poor, poor fourteen year old Jess. Don’t worry, they’ve all been taken down now). So maybe it’ll happen. Maybe.
Until then I’ll just start talking about bookish things on this blog! I hope that’s okay with you?
As well as helping with my book recommendations, watching BookTube has really helped me step up my reading game, so not just in terms of what I’m reading, but actually how I’m reading it. These little tips and tricks I’ve picked up from my favourite book vloggers have really helped me take in the content of the books I’m reading better, as well as helping me remember the content afterwards, and actually just overall assisting with my general enjoyment of the reading process.
So here are my top five tips on how I improved my reading game and how you can too, no matter what it is you’re reading.
1. Take Notes
This has been the main game-changer for me when it’s come to my reading skills. Being able to stop reading for a couple of seconds to jot down my thoughts on a particular word, sentence, plot event or character has really helped me to take in more of what the stories are saying, and infinitely helped me when it comes to being a more critical reader.
I’m not saying you have to write down your every thought when reading, or even that you have to write down anything at all if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to write critical notes (however I do, it just makes the process more fun for me), but even just writing “OMG THAT THING THAT HAPPENS ON PAGE 232 WHEN SO-AND-SO DO THE THING” could really help your enjoyment of the book.
But if you suffer with a pretty poor memory like me, this tip could help save your life when it comes to writing reviews after finishing a book, or even just talking about it after, because I guarantee you’ll see a note about an event you forgot, and have tons more to say because of it. Just try it, and thank me later.
I love a good old re-read, especially of my all-time favourite books (did someone say Harry Potter?), and especially to get me out of a reading slump.
Whenever someone I know tells me they’re just not getting into reading at the moment, I just tell them to reread their favourite book of all time. It works for me.
Rereading can also be hugely eye-opening in the way that, if you hated a book the first time around (or loved it), rereading it a few years down the line can really show you how much you’ve grown and changed as a person, because of how much your attitude towards certain characters or ways of writing changes.
3. Learn to Say “Fuck That”
There’s this phrase that I’ve noticed a lot of the BookTubers I watch say, which I’d never come across before: “DNF-ing”, AKA “Did not finish” (in relation to books, obviously. Oo-er.)
When I was younger, I would pressure myself into finishing books that I absolutely hated or found extremely difficult to read, purely because I wanted that satisfaction of knowing I’d consumed the whole, shitty thing and persevered (did someone say ‘The Hobbit‘?)
But as I’ve grown older I’ve realised that… that sucks. Forcing yourself to plough through a story or book that you have no interest in, and that doesn’t make you feel anything except bored and annoyed, is such a waste of time. Why should you force your brain to live inside a shitty story, when you could be discovering worlds that you really belong in?
I’m not saying that you should give up every single time a book gets difficult – not at all. But if you can say you’ve truly, truly tried, and nothing is gonna come from this story for you – don’t feel ashamed to dump-and-DNF.
And of course, the whole reason for this post in the first place.
I can’t remember how it was that I found this whole new online community that I have so much in common with, but I’m so glad I did. Exploring and watching new online personalities, hearing new book reviews and recommendations and allowing myself to expand my knowledge on the book-loving community online has been so amazing.
I’ve now gotten into the habit of watching reviews and discussions online about the books I finish, so that I can see what others have been thinking, and also to open my mind to new interpretations of the stories I have just completed, and it’s really helped me to grow as a reader. I would sincerely recommend diving into the depths of this tiny online group.
5. Don’t Pressure Yourself
Going back to my previous point about not forcing yourself to finish a book that you’re just not clicking with, it’s important not to pressure yourself when it comes to reading. Don’t worry about what others will think about your TBR, or even about your favourite books. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t like something everyone else is loving, and don’t feel pressured to read The Classics if you just really can’t be arsed (like me).
Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, and it’s such a fantastic hobby to have. Don’t let others, or what you think others will say, stop you from enjoying it in any way you want.
So there you have it! My top tips to step up your reading game. Did you like this post? If so, give me a like and follow, and tell me in a comment what your favourite books are, and what takes your reading experience to the next level!
‘Til next time,