The Best Way to Read a Book – A Comprehensive Guide

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The Best Way to Read a Book - A Comprehensive Guide

Do you love the smell of old leather-bound books as much as I do?

There’s nothing quite like it. As a child (and son of a librarian), books were an integral part of my life and I was reading well before I was in pre-school.

Reading is one of those hobbies that sticks with you…

Kind of like a good climax in your favorite book.

I think the reason why is because, over time, I’ve learned what the best way to read a book is. This can make even a drawn out novel more interesting to read.

Are you ready to hear how to elevate your reading experience?

Let’s get started!

The Best Reading Environment

The secret to flipping from page to page isn’t about what you read; it’s about how you read it.

How do you create the best reading environment?

Great question! Here are some things that I try to do:

  • Use my favorite reading tools
  • Create the perfect ambiance
  • Dedicate a space to reading
  • Eliminate distractions and interruptions

Let’s dive into each of these a little further!

Use My Favorite Reading Tools

I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to reading books and I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve embraced a non-traditional reading experience and if you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely check it out.

Here are my favorite tools:

As much as I enjoy a hardback or paperback, I also enjoy eReaders.

I was really skeptical of my Kindle when I first got it, but I’ve come to love it.

It’s lightweight and I can adjust the brightness of it when reading in bed. Not to mention, I’ve been able to read some books for free, which is a score!

I just keep forgetting to charge it, which is my fault, but it sure beats driving back and forth to the library to pick up and return a book.

I also have come to embrace book stands.

You may think…

Why do I need a book stand?

Some books are heavy! And, they can cause damage to your wrists over time if you don’t change it up.

Not to mention, they work great in bed, at a desk, and really, wherever you want.

And, that brings me to my next point. Reading glasses.

If you have multiple pairs, leave them wherever you might read.

I was stubborn about getting glasses, but it really helped me focus on the words. Suddenly, the text wasn’t as blurry as it used to be.

Perhaps it’s similar for you.

Don’t let your reading experience be negative because you can’t see the words.

Create The Perfect Ambiance

Ever notice how you walk into a fancy schmancy restaurant and the lights are dimmed to the perfect level where you can still see the people at your table, but it feels intimate and cozy?

That’s by design.

And, it’s a design you can replicate.

For reading, there’s no reason why you can’t get up close and comfortable with your book. I do and it strengthens the bond I have with the characters.

One of the best ways to help set that stage is with book lamps.

When you have fluorescent lights or otherwise bright bulbs lighting up your room, it doesn’t feel as intimate.

But, a good book lamp can help provide just enough light to read while your spouse is sleeping and it isn’t obtrusive.

Dedicate A Space To Reading

Where do you like to read? Are you in that space right now?

When you walk in, does it establish a mood for what you’re going to read? Does the artwork contribute to the backdrop of the novel?

These are all questions that help you figure out what the best way to read a book is for you.

I find that subdued artwork is fabulous for adding some character to the room, but not in a distracting way.

Also, having a rug helps to add some warmth. Not to mention, the book lamps that I discussed in the last section also help make this space uniquely yours.

I can’t tell you what your reading environment looks like, but it should be prime for reading.

Whether it’s artwork, rugs, lamps, or a soothing speaker system, find something that speaks to you and lets you get your book mojo on.

Eliminate Distractions And Interruptions

Are you constantly obsessed by the onslaught of notifications coming from your phone and desktop?

If so, you need to ditch those at the door when you commit to reading.

Here are my favorite ways to get rid of those distractions:

  • Turn off (completely) your phone
  • Power off your computer or laptop
  • Close the door, if there is one
  • Let others know to not disturb you

There’s nothing worse than flying through the pages and arriving at a climactic moment, suddenly to be disturbed by an unnecessary notification.

Whatever you can do and whomever you can tell to make your reading environment distraction free will help you establish the best way to read a book in your household.

Techniques To Improve How Much You Read

Now that we’ve gone over how to create the perfect reading experience, let’s discuss how to…

  • Read more words in a minute
  • Comprehend and remember more details
  • Make the most of shorter reading periods

You might not have heard of these techniques before, so don’t skim over this section.

Read More Words In A Minute

Have you ever actually calculated your per minute rate?

I know typing tests were a thing of the past (well, I still do them regularly), but reading tests are just not common anymore after you leave elementary school.

Staples actually has this free test that calculates this.

When they were developing eReaders, they were concerned about readability, so they decided to measure it.

I actually got 404 words per minute, which is above the 300 word average. Take the test and let me know in the comments what your score is.

But, the key isn’t to skim through the page. You’ll actually retain fewer details that way.

There are a couple of strategies to aid you in reading more:

  1. Trace your eyesight as you read
  2. Start a few words in

I’m sure when you were a kid, you used to trace what you read with a pen or pencil. It’s great for following along when someone else is reading, but it’s also a great system for you to read more.

Your eyes won’t be scattered…they’ll be focused.

This allows you to read more words in a minute.

Speaking of eyes… have you tried blue blocker glasses for night-time reading?

You can also take advantage of your peripheral vision. Instead of starting with the first word of the line, focus the center of your eyes on the third or fourth word in.

By doing so, you allow your peripheral vision to catch the first few words.

The same goes for the end of the line. Let your peripheral vision read the last few words.

This method will allow you to read the full line without actively and intentionally concentrating on it.

See if you can up your per word count with those methods.

Comprehend And Remember More Details

If you’re reading and you’re not understanding what you’re reading, then you need to reread the section.

Plain and simple.

But, if you have a fairly good grasp on the subject matter of the book you’re reading and the language isn’t so stylized and archaic that you can’t easily comprehend it, then there are a few ways to comprehend what you read better.

  • Visualization
  • Repetition
  • Linking

I always know an author’s done a good job when I can perfectly imagine what I am reading…when they just swoop me off my feet into their literary universe.

But, that’s the goal. Do that. When you visualize something, it’s embedded in your memory. That can help you recall details later on.

The more you repeat, the more you remember. It’s plain and simple. But, this doesn’t have to be just through reading the passage.

There are other ways to regurgitate information:

  • Highlighting it
  • Telling a friend or family member about it
  • Writing it down for further reference

Try one of those and see if it improves your comprehension (or, at least, what you comprehended the first time around!).

You can also link the experience to another time/experience in your life.

In the same way that when you eat mac n cheese, you’re reminded of mom’s home cooking, you can associate experiences with each other.

Perhaps the scenery in the novel reminds you of a childhood vacation spot.


Utilize that experience to remember more.

Make The Most Of Shorter Reading Sessions

I know it can be amazing to binge read another novel in one sitting.

Trust me, I do it, as well. In fact, that’s how I got through Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.

But, if you decide that you only want to read when you have an hour or two plus, you might be doing yourself a disservice.

If you use an eReader, you can read wherever you want. And, it is lightweight, so it’s great for traveling.

If you enjoy the great Byronic hero tales as I do, then you’ll expect to lug around a hefty hardback book if you’re not using an eReader.

Just try it out if you don’t already use them.

I also find that shorter reading sessions can also be incredibly beneficial for my momentum in reading a book.

For example, if I know that it takes me 20 minutes to read a chapter, then I can set aside that time and knock that out.

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a chapter and having to put the book down.

I hate it.

But, if I properly portion my time out, then I’m ensuring I can get more reading accomplished.

Not to mention, when you read less at one time, you can focus more on retaining what you do read.

It’s kind of a win-win situation, really.

The best way to read a book doesn’t just have to be about the environment in which you read it, but your approach for reading it.


There are many ways to read a book. I’ll be the first to admit that.

But, it’s important that you figure out what the best way to read a book is for you.

Nobody can tell you what that is except for you.

My favorite ways are to:

  • Use my favorite reading tools
  • Create the perfect ambiance
  • Dedicate a space to reading
  • Eliminate distractions and interruptions

I also discussed techniques for improving how much you can read and what your comprehension can be:

  • Read more words in a minute
  • Comprehend and remember more details
  • Make the most of shorter reading periods

What’s your secret to the perfect reading environment?

Is it a book lamp, eReader, or pair of glasses?

Whatever it is, let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Drew DuBoff is the son of a librarian and book enthusiast. Whether it’s acting out the famous words of William Shakespeare or flipping through the musings of Charlotte Bronte, he will always have a literary affinity. You can check out his blog to read more of his articles.

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