Have you ever encountered a book that you find incredibly hard to finish? Even the most avid readers have their White Whale books—those works that we pick up and put down again, but never get around to reading all the way through.
I've encountered that problem myself lately while reading Moby-Dick. As much as I want to keep up with our 2020 Moby-Dick Reading Challenge, I've found myself lagging this week. After all, there's only so much you can read about whale anatomy before you eventually have to put down the book, right?
So lets take a look at some tips to help you (and me) tackle those difficult books!
1. Read in small doses
Just because you can’t sit down and finish a challenging book in a single sitting, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad reader. Reading, even if it’s in small doses, is what makes you a reader, and this is a key part to getting through that tougher-than-nails work of literature. Commit to reading 5 pages a day, and if you can increase it to 10 – 20 over time. Try to avoid going over 20 pages a day though, because you’ll risk skimming instead of internalizing what you’re reading if you’re looking at it in terms of quantity instead of quality reading time.
2. Read something else too
Something that will keep you from feeling bored or becoming discouraged with your progress through a difficult book is if you have another book you’re reading on the side. Pick something light and fun that you know you’ll enjoy reading, and treat yourself to it once you’ve finished the 5, 10, or 20 pages of your tough read.
3. Read every day
It’s important to keep the momentum going when taking on a difficult projects, and the same applies to reading. Try to carve out some time to read every single day. Even just reading a page or two on days when you’re particularly busy can go a long way toward helping you work your way to the finish line.
4. Read it first
If you put off reading that tough book until the end of the day, you’re much more likely to just not get around to it at all. Make reading it a priority and finish your pages during your first reading slot instead of leaving it until last. You’ll feel so much more accomplished if you get it out of the way first, and that way you can enjoy your lighter, easier reads after!
5. Read in moderation
Once you finish Moby-Dick, or Anna Karenina, or Wuthering Heights, you may be thinking you’re on a roll and you’ve got to jump right into that next big read to keep your reading streak going. Instead of doing that (and possibly burning yourself out), take some time to rest and give yourself a big pat on the back! How much time is completely up to you: perhaps you’ll need days, weeks, or even months to recharge, and that’s okay. As long as you do set yourself a new reading challenge eventually, a little R&R can’t hurt!
Do you have any tips for finishing tough reads? Share them with us in the Comments section below!