How To Be A More Productive Reader

Hey! Welcoming Taylor back for another post- this time, she’s talking about how to be a more productive reader. Check out her first post here too.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

Our world is full of books, millions upon millions of pages to read. But with all of our responsibilities, whether it be school or work or both, it can be difficult to find time to reduce our TBR (to-be-read) stack. Especially for us readers who are constantly scouting out bookstores and websites for sales, which ends with us juggling several new books. Then our TBR pile is even bigger, but we still can’t quite find the time to read these stories.

After about one and one-half years of reading, I have discovered methods to read my books between the chaos of life. I may not have many years of reading, but I’ve already read 120+ books, with the addition of balancing school and writing a book of my own. Considering my other duties, I would say that’s a fair number. So I’m here to share my techniques of being a productive reader.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Set the mood.

For me, setting the mood to read is an easy process that involves my speaker rolling out instrumental tunes, a “do not disturb” sign hanging on my doorknob, and possibly a cup of steaming rose petal tea.

If you prefer to read in peace, like me, and you’re having trouble finding a quiet space, try wearing headphones. You could simply use them to tune out the noise or turn on music to fill your head with new sounds. I find instrumental music is not only relaxing, but it helps me focus, especially if the tune matches the genre of the book.

In order to sit down and absorb the story in front of you, it’s important to do whatever it takes to make yourself comfortable and relaxed. Think of the things that put your heart at ease and soothe your mind. Whether it be music or a drink or a certain environment, place yourself there and allow your mind to relax. This brings me to my next point.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Find a place to read.

Discovering the proper place to read fits into the theme of setting the mood. It can be difficult to delve into the world in your hands if you’re not comfortable. You want to find a spot to be warm and content, where you can really focus on the words in front of you.

I also recommend having a designated place (or places) to read. By doing this, you train your mind that you’re going to sit down and read, which may help alleviate any scattered thoughts. It’s similar to falling asleep, when you fall into bed, your mind tries to prepare itself for sleep.

I have two usual places to read: my futon or my bed. My futon is my number one place to sit down and read. I occasionally watch films and television here as well, but for the most part, it’s my reading haven. I try to only read in bed during the morning, after I just wake up. Otherwise, my mind will try to convince my body that it needs sleep. So you can usually find me curled up with a book on my futon, a blanket on my lap and a cup of tea on my ottoman.

How to be a productive reader// tips and tricks from Taylor via Opinion9

  1. Read more than one book at a time.

Okay, not that many. But I’ve found that reading multiple books at a time leads to a more enjoyable and quicker experience. I tend to read about two to three books and alternate throughout the day. I find that this keeps me both entertained and more productive. Instead of trying to finish one book at once, I can usually finish about three books around the same time. This is a massive help in chipping away at my stack of 80+ books in my TBR. (It still keeps growing; I need help.)

I know this may sound intimidating, because I used to think the same thing. Before, I believed that reading multiple books at a time would leave me confused and unable to grasp onto all of these stories. Once my TBR pile started growing, I knew something had to change, which is when I started reading two books at once. I found that as long as the books aren’t too similar in genres (like epic-fantasy or science-fiction), it’s not much of a difficult task. Since then, I’ve been reading three books at a time, and some even sit in the same genres.

This is certainly something that is a matter of practice, of being able to immerse yourself in multiple words without tangling them together. But with enough patience and practice, you can learn to read multiple books at a time. If you do this, you’re likely to see a massive increase in the amount of books you read.

Well, these are all of my tips in being a productive reader. What are your tips in being a focused and productive reader? I would love to hear what methods other readers use for themselves. -Taylor

Thanks for sharing, Taylor! Find Taylor on her instagram (@taylormaemarie_).

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Baby, You’re So Classic

Baby, You're So Classic- an essay column via Opinion9.comAnd we buzz through everyday, barely aware that we are writing the history of tomorrow. Minutes counted down,  days ticked off calendars and before you know it, today becomes yesterday.

That philosophical feeling came to me as I listened to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ on my old playlist.  Here I was, singing along to a song from 1982 (yep, just googled that) when I caught myself thinking “Ah! This song really is a classic!”.  The song has proved to be immensely popular, timeless… but a ‘classic’ – is it really one? Or is that territory only reserved for Beethoven’s and Mozart’s of earlier eras?

What does it take to make an artwork a classic? What does it mean to be a classic? And… which songs or books do you think will be the classics of tomorrow?

We often refer to something classic to say that it is timeless – like in my case, with the Thriller track. I thought of Jackson’s song as a classic because it was still enjoyable even now. Several years after its release, it still retained its charm.  Another key factor is that a classic is usually relatable – although in an indirect way. The song is still relatable – its subject of ghosts and zombies is an age old story that we would have all heard before and yet, a story that never goes out of fashion. It contains a message that we can relate with in a different time period.

Baby, You're So Classic- an essay column via Opinion9.com

The same goes for books. Shakespeare’s tragedies haven’t lost their charm because of their extensive portrayal of human emotion – a subject that is once again, timeless. We can feel jealousy like Othello, and crave power like Macbeth even though we don’t dress or talk like them.

Relatability is perhaps a criteria that people take with a pinch of salt. Many times we refer to books as classics, not because they were very popular or because they describe a relatable human experience – but simple because they are… old. Mark Twain seems to agree with this. He once said, ” Classic: a book which people praise and don’t read.”

Baby, You're So Classic- an essay column via Opinion9.com

Not to disregard classics, of course. There may be many works which are exemplary forms of literature despite being un-relatable. Dickens’ Great Expectations is often described as a classic although in my personal opinion, I found the story quite hard to relate with. But then, is ‘classic’ truly the right word to describe them? Or maybe it’s just me.

Either way, it’s interesting to wonder what parts of our present life will become classics tomorrow! I wonder if Justin Bieber’s ‘What do you mean?’  will become a “classic” in pop music. In the future, perhaps safari scenes in films depicting this decade will play Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams”. If only we could take a sneak peek and find out!

Baby, You're So Classic- an essay column via Opinion9.com

Well, for the time being- we could just borrow MKTO’s upbeat definition. If “they don’t make you like they used to” and “You’re never going out of style”, then…. Most certainly I’d say, “Baby, you’re so classic”.

Essay by Dee & Photos by Aaria Baid

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Book Reviews coming soon!

Book love <3

Just an update that I’m going to be starting book reviews, discussions about literature and more about the wonderful world of fiction! (and also a bit of fun non-fiction!) So excited to share this..stay tuned and keep in touch via my instagram @opinion9! -Aaria

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Reading.

tibetan monastery

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr Seuss

Tibetan monastery, photo by Opinion9

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