Book Reading Tips & Latest Favorites

The more we read, the more we learn about life by educating ourselves or imagining the story along with the author. It’s a great brain exercise and one we all can enjoy easily. I’m planning more time this summer with a stack of books and hope you will too! As I’ve read more over the last few years, I’ve developed a few book reading tips to keep me reading. Here are a few:

Book Reading Tips

  • Earlier this year, I tried a book in a genre I wasn’t sure I’d like. Guess what? I confirmed it! The book by a famous author was suggested to me and I kept thinking I’d enjoy it, so I read the whole thing. The story wasn’t bad but by the end, it simply confirmed it wasn’t my style-and that’s okay! Expanding our literary horizons engages our brains but if it really doesn’t fit, it’s fine to move on. Which leads to my next item…
  • I only keep reading if something engages me. It used to think I needed to finish every book I began. It was like a quest. But now, if it doesn’t keep my interest after a few attempts, I put it aside. Maybe I’ll read it later or not. This means I may not finish everything, which was difficult for my perfectionistic tendencies. But it keeps me interested in reading and is a better use of my time. Plus, it reinforces not everything has to be perfect!
  • If I enjoy an author, I keep reading them if the story is a good fit for me. Most times this works, but not always. This practice also helps me think about what I enjoy about an author-their style, the genre, setting, characters etc. and will help me pick a better selection in the future.
  • Reading more than one book and fiction with non-fiction simultaneously is possible. Typically, non-fiction will take me a bit longer to read as I try to digest it, take notes, apply to my life/work etc. Fiction I often listen to on Audible or read on a weekend or trip so I get through those more quickly. I used to think I could only do one book at a time but doing it this way engages my brain differently. Plus, I often read them at different times of the day or week which also keeps my interest.
  • For me, fiction or biographies are usually the only genre of audiobook I prefer. Other non-fiction I typically want to refer back to, highlight, or simply digest more slowly and for that I need a paper copy.

Hope these book reading tips benefit your reading and for suggestions on what to read next, here are my favorites from 2022 thus far…some interesting non-fiction to help us learn and fun fiction to help us escape. Happy reading!!

2022 Favorites So Far

The Listening Life by Adam S. McHugh  I thought this should be my first non-fiction book with my word ‘Listen’ this year and it was a good start. It provided insight into the various types of listening and made me think about listening in different ways. Many great takeaways:

    • Hearing is something that happens to us. Listening is something we choose. It’s the practice of focused attention.
    • “If listening is the inhale, then acting is the exhale”.
    • The voices we choose to listen to shape who we become.

Grit by Angela Duckworth This highly recommended non-fiction text was very insightful; my copy is dogeared and full of notes! While sciency, (my made up word) Duckworth intersperses stories and examples to illustrate her points and makes the research easy to digest. Even so, I read this in spurts over a few months. It’s very worth the read for anyone interested in positive psychology and mind wellness.

Force of Nature by Jane Harper Another good mystery from Jane Harper, with the same detective from the The Dry  I read last year, I appreciate how I can’t always figure out the ending of Harper’s stories which keeps me engaged.

The Survivors by Jane Harper  This mystery by Harper has different main characters and a setting I could relate to: small town, a father with dementia etc. While other readers felt the ending was abrupt, I was satisfied it allowed all the loose ends to be tied. Listening to this on Audible with an Australian narrating the story set in that part of the world was a bonus.

The Sea Turtle Did It by Kay Dew Shostak I picked this up in an independent book store in a small Florida beach town over winter and loved it! It was a quick read, set in a town based on the one we visited with fun, slightly older women characters (like me)! An interesting, clean mystery and beach diversion for me in the early, not very warm spring!

The Shrimp Did It by Kay Dew Shostak I enjoyed the first book so much I kept going and plan on reading the next in the series as well. (The Sea Turtle Did It was the second in the series and this is the third. Reading the first one in the series, The Manatee Did It wasn’t necessary for me, but it may be more helpful for the backstory.) Fun to read over Memorial Day weekend which was also the timeframe for the story! An easy, quick mystery that kept my interest-the quintessential beach read!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett  This novel for children about children was a breath of fresh air. A childhood favorite of many I had never read, but now understand why it’s cherished. Another easy Audible listen even with the Yorkshire dialect in the story, which may make it more difficult to read than it was to listen to by a great narrator. A classic for a reason!

May your summer days be full of sunshine plus a good book to engage both mind and soul!

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