The Epicurean bookworm
Reading for practical purposes, we may occasionally need to slog through (or skim over) the mire of a boring book. But when we read for pleasure alone, there are no mandatory books. There are only enjoyable ones and dull ones.
The most effective way I've found to improve my reading enjoyment is to never read more than 50 pages of a dull book. If it ain't good after 50 pages, then it ain't no good for me. Never mind if it's a "classic", a "best-seller" or a "must-read". De gustibus non est disputandum.
Another important improvement was to start seeking out interesting books more deliberately. I used to read opportunistically: books on display at the library or the bookstore, found on the shelves of friends, given or lent to me by enthusiastic acquaintances. The books I sought out actively tended to cost me a lot of money and a trip to a bookstore.
Lately, the net has changed all this for me. Most importantly, I've discovered inter-library loan at my local public library. They can't buy books to cater to my tastes, but our friendly librarians happily get me any book I want from another Swedish library at little more than a dollar a pop (SEK 10, €1). I fill out a web form, press the button, and a few days later I get e-mail notification that the book is ready for pickup.
But of course, a lot of the stuff I like to read isn't held by any Swedish library. Enter eBay and on-line book stores. I'm no bibliophile: Content is King. I prefer a used paperback to a new hardback for reasons of economy, space and portability. So I go for the cheapest available copy, being careful to order from dealers inside the EU if possible. That way I don't have to pay customs. And most paperbacks fit through the mail slot in our front door, saving me a trip to the post counter down at the grocery store.
I have a tendency to make duties out of things I really only do for fun. But in recent years, I feel I've managed to turn my reading into an almost unalloyed delight.
[More blog entries about books, reading, libraries, Sweden.]