Choose a book. If you’re reading for your own enjoyment, you will probably want to pick a general interest fiction or nonfiction book. There are literally millions of such books, so finding one that’s right for you can be challenging. A good place to start is by thinking about what you like, and also about what you don’t like. Keep in mind how many different types of books are out there. There are dystopian books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There are realistic fiction books such as Perfect by Natasha Friend. There are fantasy books like The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. There are historical fiction books like Dragonwings by Laurence. Yep, and so many others.
Knowing your personal taste can really help you find a book you’ll find enjoyable. Just because someone else says a book is good doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily enjoy it. Some people enjoy fantasy novels, other people hate them. Think about what kind of an experience you want to have while reading. Do you want a rousing adventure tale? A cerebral exploration of ideas? An emotional journey through the lives of believable characters? How long of a book do you want to read? How challenging do you want it to be? Are there certain perspectives you want your book to embrace or avoid? Answering these questions will narrow down the field of possible books.
Don’t judge the book by its cover. The title and cover illustrations may seem boring or not your taste, but inside the book could be a whole world of pleasure and enjoyment that you will be enthralled by. This, however, is not always the case, so make sure you pick wisely! Also, look at the thickness of the book. If a quick read is what you’re looking for, a big, heavy book wouldn’t be suitable, and vice versa. Lastly, if you are buying the book for someone other than yourself, think about their age and interests, if you are purchasing for a child, young adult books such as Fifty Shades of Grey may not be the ideal choice.
Ask those around you. Good friends and close relatives may be able to recommend books to you based on what they enjoyed and thought you would also enjoy. But be careful because some people like to read long stories while others don’t. If you love science for example, search for science books.
Check online. The Internet is filled with book lovers who are more than happy to share their opinions about various titles. Find a community that discusses books and search for the subjects you like, or just visit online retail sites and browse user reviews of books that look good. Either way is a great method for getting a quick idea of the most popular and best-liked titles in any category of book.
Make it a group event. Book clubs and readings are both fun ways to expose yourself to new books.
Many clubs are focused around a particular genre of book, such as science fiction or romance, but some are more general.
Fiction readings happen regularly at many independent bookstores.
Nonfiction writers can sometimes be found giving readings or even free guest lectures at nearby colleges. Go and listen to see if their book sounds like something you would like to read, and learn a little about something that interests you at the same time. Some books starts with brief explanation so don’t get bored after the first few pages; remember every story has a lesson.
Acquire the book you want to read. There are a few different ways to accomplish this:
Check out the book from the library. The upside of this approach is that it’s free and easy. If you don’t have a library membership, just walk into the library and ask for one.
Many library systems allow you to electronically reserve a copy of a book you want in advance, and then notify you when the book is available so you can come check it out.
Be aware that if you’re trying to read a very popular book, you may end up weeks or months down the waiting list for a copy.
Buy the book. Visit a bookstore or newsstand and purchase your own copy to keep for as long as you like. The advantage of this method is that with a little work, you can usually find even the hottest books and read them right away; the downside is that you have to pay money to buy the book.
Since you’re paying, be sure to pick up the book and read a few pages of it in the store first, so you can tell if you’ll enjoy the author’s writing style when you crack it open at home.
Borrow the book. Friends and relatives who recommend a book to you will often have their own copy and be glad to led it to you for as long as it takes you to finish.
Be sure to take good care of books you have been loaned, and read them in a timely fashion so you don’t forget about them and leave them gathering dust on a shelf for the next year.
Electronically purchase the book. With the advent of portable e-readers and smartphones over the last several years, electronically published editions of print books are becoming more and more common. It also means that the book can be taken with you anywhere where your phone/kindle/tablet/iPod is.
The cost of purchasing a virtual book is often slightly less than the cost of purchasing a physical copy, so if you have a reader already, you might save a little cash. Don’t buy huge books if you know you won’t finish it. good types of apps for these are the Kindle apps or if you have a new version of an iProduct, iBooks.
Like a paper-and-ink book, an electronic book is yours to keep once you’ve paid for it. The only downside to this is that, unlike paper books, you cannot pawn them off because the book is installed in your device.
Read your book. Find a comfortable place to sit, make sure there’s plenty of light, and open the front cover. Start at the beginning, which is usually the first chapter unless there’s some front material, and read each page in order until the book is finished. If there is any end material, wait until you have finished the rest of the book before reading it.
Decide whether or not to read the front material. Front material is the writing at the front of the book that isn’t the first chapter of the book. It comes in four basic flavors, and each type serves a different purpose. You can decide on your own whether or not you want to read any given section of front material. The four types of front material are:
Acknowledgments: A brief section that lists people who helped the author in some way during the writing process. You can read acknowledgments if you like, but most people don’t bother. Acknowledgments also commonly appear at the very end of the book.
Foreword: The foreword is written by a different author than the person who wrote the book, so it is usually only seen in later editions of a book that has made some sort of impact in the past, such as an award-winning novel or an important scientific work. The foreword talks a bit about what to expect from the book, and why it is worth reading.
Preface: The preface is written by the author of the book. It is usually (but not always) shorter than the foreword, and is basically an essay that explains how and why the book was written. If you’re interested in the author’s personal life or creative process, the preface can give you some valuable insight.
Introduction: The introduction is the place where the author speaks directly to the reader and introduces the book, reviewing what its intent is and building excitement in the reader about getting to read it. Introductions are more often found in nonfiction books than fiction books. If you would rather not know a few things in the book before, reading the writers prelude after would be a good idea.