Archives: reading

Good Books and Dull Books: Study tips on how to read both

Good Books and Dull Books: Study tips on how to read both

By Jasmine Bennett

Can you force yourself to read a bad or uninteresting book? Not really. But what if you’re compelled to read it? Maybe it’s a book that a friend wrote, or one that was recommended for you by a friend. I’ve heard of a lot of people that told me their friend urged them to read a certain book… and then they didn’t like it. Naturally, they want to give their friend a better review than just “Yeah, I liked it! It was really interesting.” Which can sound just the opposite of its intention.

Dull books, boring textbooks, or long history books can be read and remembered with somewhat of the same format. I use a simple process:

  1. Start by reading the Contents, and the chapters listed. It will give you an idea of where the book is going, and may even help you to remember what to watch for. This is especially useful for textbooks or history books, because the Contents can actually summarize a timeline that you can glance over from time to time. It will help you remember the general narration of the book.
  2. When you get to each chapter, look at the title of the chapter, and remember, “This is what the chapter’s about, and by the end of this chapter, I should be able to look at the chapter name and recount what it’s about.” Skim-read the chapter quickly, then go back and read in greater detail. Knowing already what happens can actually help you read, because now you’re reading “how” the end result happened. This can work with studying for school or recreational reading, and I have used it for both. Also, don’t do something mentally consuming right after you finish reading, let the information soak into your mind, and you will remember it better.
  3. If you are really desperate, need to read the book, and can’t focus, get out a pencil and paper and make your own timeline. Just a line and some scribbles that you will be able to read again. Highlight the beginning, middle, and end. Fill the gaps in-between as best as you can, and then try to memorize it. It will help you remember the book, whether it’s for a test, or for right before you see the person who recommended the book to you.

Now, a good book might be easy to read for you, but it might also be easy to forget. When you pick up a good book, make sure there aren’t many distractions around, like the TV, your phone constantly going off, or someone trying to talk to you. It’s different if you’re babysitting or keeping an eye on food in the oven. In other words, give your book as much focused attention as you can.

Obviously, it’s hard to read large portions of the book in one setting. So after you finish reading the chapter, section, etc., don’t go running to do something else that will occupy your entire brain. When you put your book down, try to do something mundane, like taking a walk, or cleaning the house while thinking about what you just read. It will help your book “digest” in your mind, rather than pushing it out with something else mind-consuming.

It helps you enjoy the book even more when you have someone to talk to about it. Find someone who shares a passion for book reading, or is a big fan of the particular book that you are reading. I absolutely love The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Beren and Luthien, or anything by Tolkien. When I find someone who shares the same passion and interest for those books, it makes my day! I will discuss Middle-earth till the sun goes down. It stimulates my interest in the books, and I love hearing what other Tolkien-readers have to say about them.

In summary, read a good book carefully. After all, the words are written to be read, and also remembered. If you must read a dull book, then make it worth the time you spent reading it.

Photo Credit: hannah-grace-3Pvk8mUJF3g-unsplash.com

More Blogs to Read!

More Blogs to Read!

The world, as a whole, is going through some troubling times. The media is full of things that can scare or worry us to no end. I know my own Facebook is often full of information about COVID-19, riots here in the U.S., and even killer bees, and I’ll bet that your homepages are full of the same kinds of things, too.

So, I’ve decided to take the time to compile a list of other blogs that you can read to fill your time with positivity and joy! And, of course, these blogs are all about either writing or books, because those are the best kinds of blogs, right?

Blogs About Writing

The Creative Penn – First on our list is the Creative Penn, created by Joanna Penn. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, so she’s got some cred when it comes to writing. Penn hosts information on nearly everything about the writing process, from writing the novel to how to best publish and market it. She also has her own courses and tools to help writers succeed in their dreams of writing and publishing a novel.

Writer’s Digest – The Writer’s Digest is another amazing writing blog. They tackle fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in their posts. With new posts nearly every day, they provide writing tips, marketing information, and even writing prompts! They also host several yearly awards, such as their Annual Writing Competition, Short Story Competition, and Self-Published Book Awards.

The Write Life – The Write Life brings information on freelancing into the mix. The site also gives information on publishing, blogging, marketing, and the actual writing. If your dream is to make a living either freelancing, blogging, or selling books, this is definitely the blog for you to check out.

Better Novel Project – The Better Novel Project is a website that I find incredibly interesting. The idea behind it is that the author, Christine Frazier, breaks down some of the most popular books to see what makes them work. What do they all have in common that make them bestsellers? From there, she’s created a “Master List” of plotting that she believes is the best way to write a bestselling novel. Along with some awesome writing merch that you can get from her, this is definitely a website to explore.

Blogs About Books

The Book Forum – The Book Forum is a magazine that holds book reviews and author interviews. You are able to see many of the articles online for free, but if you want your own copy of the magazine, a print edition will cost you $5.99.

Kath Reads – Kath Reads is a blog that mostly deals in book reviews. She’s also in collaboration with some publishing houses, such as Penguin Press and Berkley Books. As well as book reviews, she posts her own “Journal”, which is full of tidbits about her life. One memorable post is a Christmas tree she created out of books. The blog is a fun read, and it is definitely worth checking out. You may find some new books that catch your eye!

A Little Blog of Books – This is also another book review blog. This blog covers both fiction and nonfiction, and with reviews going back to 2012, you will definitely be able to spend some time looking for that amazing new book to read. She also has a small blog on the website, where she posts topics such as “Same Cover, Different Book” and “Are Libraries Killing Bookshops?”

Omnivoracious – Another book review (there seems to be a theme here, doesn’t there?) is Omnivoracious. For those who don’t know, this is Amazon’s book review website. It gives reviews of books, ideas such as “Books for Kids to Celebrate Diversity and Inspire Change”, and much more. This website even has celebrity reading lists, in case you want to know what Jonathan Van Ness is going to be reading this summer.

Long story short, there are tons of amazing blogs out there for you to sink into. Whether you want some help and inspiration honing your writing or you want to find next month’s reading list, these blogs will definitely help get you there.

From us here at Remnant Inklings, we also hope that we can bring you enjoyment and a break from what this crazy world is throwing at all of us.

Jessica Prieto


Sign up to receive notifications of new posts, as well as our monthly newsletter!

Subscribe

* indicates required
Types of Fiction

Types of Fiction

Novel. Novella. Short Story. Flash Fiction. No doubt you have heard these terms before. You might have an understanding that a novel is a long book, such as Harry Potter or Twilight. The novella and short story are shorter, but by how much? What exactly do all of these terms about books mean? As readers and writers, it may help you to have an understanding of these different types of fiction.

Novel

First off, we have a novel. According to the Author Learning Center, a typical novel is anything that has over 50,000 words. To put this into perspective, 50,000 words is around 200 pages, give or take. Now, keep in mind that 50,000 words for a novel is the minimum. Most published novels go above this number.

Novella

Next comes a novella. These are shorter than novels, typically anywhere from 20,000 to 49,999 words. Many novellas are published as ebooks, as they are harder to get published. Some genres that novellas typically fall into are romance, sci-fi, and fantasy.

Novelette

Novelettes are even shorter pieces, coming in at around 7,500 to 19,999 words. Novelettes are also incredibly hard to pitch, so many of these are also published as ebooks.

Short Story

Short Stories, a term you are probably familiar with, is a much more condensed form of writing. These are the smallest out of our types of fiction, and are usually between 1,000 to 7,499 words. Because they are so short, these usually involve fewer characters surrounding one situation. Typically, authors will publish their short stories in magazines.

Flash Fiction

Anything shorter than 1,000 words is considered to be flash fiction. This includes forms such as sudden fiction, postcard fiction, microfiction, and drabble, mini-saga, and six-word stories.

Knowing these forms can help you to choose stories you’d like to read or write. If you are a reader and prefer long, sprawling stories, novels are for you. However, if you like shorter, more concise stories that are a quicker read, you might want to look into novelettes or short stories. As a writer, you may find that you like writing the types of stories that need a whole novel or two to tell completely. You might also find that you like writing much shorter stories, perhaps even only taking six words to do so!

I encourage you to take the time to look into different types of fiction and try something new! You might be surprised to find that you like something that you didn’t think you would.

What kind of writing or reading do you prefer? Are there any of these forms that you’ve been wanting to try or are going to try?

Jessica Prieto

Short Fiction Forms: Novella, Novelette, Short Story, and Flash Fiction Defined. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/writing/fiction/w/identifying-your-genre/7125/short-fiction-forms-novella-novelette-short-story-and-flash-fiction-defined

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash