Reading, for me, is about as enjoyable as flossing, or brushing my teeth, or working out. Still, much like those other activities, the benefits seem to add up over time with even a small, consistent commitment, so regular reading is probably a good idea. I read each day for at most an hour, but I try not to spend less than five minutes reading whatever book I’ve got on my nightstand.
So that brings us to the point of this section: I don’t read many books in a given year. Therefore, there’s a finite (and low) limit to the number of books I can read in my lifetime. And because of that, it makes sense to be picky. I want this section to be a resource for others who, like me, find a lot of satisfaction from great books, but just can’t commit to anything mediocre.
What I aim to do:
Read about 12 books a year at an agonizingly slow, but steady pace.
Select only really excellent books
Abandon disappointing books sooner than later, and try again for a better book next time
Keep a log of each book to maximize the benefit I get out of each one (both in terms of developing my thoughts, and creating a resource to refer back to later), and to share with others
Make sure great books get read and discussed more, and draw attention away from lesser books
What makes an excellent book:
Nonfiction: I put it down every couple pages to ponder and go, “wow, why didn’t I ever think of it that way? wow!” A good test is that I’ll interrupt whatever my girlfriend is doing to tell her for the 12th time that she should read it when I’m done “because (author) really knows their shit.”
Fiction: I stay up each night until 11 or later (my usual bedtime is 9 pm) because I can’t put the book down.