How to Read a Boring Book

If you are reading this, perhaps you have had a bad experience with a tedious book. Maybe it caused you to slip into a boredom-induced coma, or perhaps it has defeated many a tenacious reader, so you are hesitant to peruse it. Today I will offer a few (hopefully useful) ideas on how to take on a tremendously tiresome tome.

Consistency is my solution. I need to read a few pages every day. I tell myself. There is no excuse for skipping a day. Even if a zombie apocalypse happens, I must take my book with me when I flee the city.

Persistent, daily reading is what works best for me, but all readers are different. Sometimes the classics can be both dry and confusing, because of all the details and explanations they contain. Something that might help here is a bit of research about the time period. Historical context goes a long way in explaining tiresome, unfamiliar material that seems unnecessary to the book. Or, maybe you could read a daunting tome with your book club; misery loves company.

But, whatever you do, don't think you need to read a book straight through in under ten days. Find a reading pattern. Some books are best read as fast as possible. Others are easier to read just a few pages at a time, over a month or two, or three. And still others are managed in spurts; a few days of frenzied reading, a break, and then a few more.

There are no rules as to how quickly a book must be read. The main idea is to read it and get something out of it. And, some books, I have found, seem most uninteresting at first, but have turned out to be some of the best books I ever read. This has made me wonder if, perhaps, there is no such thing as a boring book, only bored readers?


  1. I won't presume to speak for anyone else but certainly how interesting (or otherwise) I find a book is very dependent on whatever frame of mind I happen to be in at the time of reading.

    I think you're right about historical context often being helpful. I found both the "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers" rather heavy going until I learned more about the period, then proceeded to really enjoy them. Especially the former, it's become one of my all-time favourites.

    Finally, I have to say that I really like the background image you have on this blog, it's lovely!

  2. What an epic conclusion--only bored readers. I could get on board with there being no such thing as boring books.
    I tend to get bogged down with the need to absorb what I'm reading, so I read too carefully, with a journal to keep notes and quotes nearby. Are you familiar with Doug Wilson's work? My husband often reminds me of a quote of his that helps me so much, and I can't say it word for word (I can find it and annotate it if you would like). But the idea is to basically, READ. Don't worry about absorption, just read with freedom. Reading IS absorption, so just do it. ;)


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