Reading difficult books can be quite challenging because, in the beginning, it always feels like you’re reading, but you’re not understanding anything.
If you have a difficult book you need to read, make sure you figure out a strategy that helps you go through it. For example you can write an expository essay, it can help you to systematize information given in a book. Begin by figuring out what the book is all about so that you have a rough idea of what you should have learned by the time you complete it.
Difficult books can be about anything. It could be a technical subject or a controversial topic. If it’s a controversial topic, figure out where you stand before beginning the book. You might be convinced to change your standpoint as you read, and that is okay.
Here is how to read a difficult book without going insane.
Break the Book Down into Bite-Size Chunks
If you want to go through a difficult book, you have to break it down into bite-size chunks. Chunking information allows you to focus on the details of the book.
You can decide to study one chapter at a time, so you don’t worry about how big the book actually is. Instead of counting how many pages you’re still left with, focus on the information you mastered so far because this will motivate you to keep going.
Make sure you don’t proceed to the next chapter until you fully understand what the current one is all about. Be sure to get information from external sources so that you expound further on the concept you’re currently reading.
Have a Notebook
You cannot successfully read a difficult book without a notebook by your side. Jotting down notes as you read helps you retain information.
The last thing you want is having to start reading all over again because the first time you got nothing. Of course, re-reading a book is a healthy practice because you’re bound to learn something new. But don’t do a shoddy job the first time because there’s the option of re-reading the book.
Set a Timeline
Since you’re reading a challenging book, you might not always be motivated to do it. When you set a timeline, you can make sure you get around to completing this task.
Be realistic with your timeline by ensuring you’re not selling yourself short or being too hard on yourself. Take your time to understand the concepts in the book fully, but don’t spend an entire year reading one book.
If you know of someone who has already read the book, seek help whenever you feel stuck. Getting a thorough explanation from someone who understands the concept you’re studying ensures that you save time you’d have used for research.
Be very honest with the person you’re seeking help from. If there’s a concept you still don’t understand, be clear about it.
You are not a robot, which means your brain needs breaks just like your physical body does. You cannot study a challenging book for 12 hours straight and expect to understand everything.
Make sure you take reading breaks, especially when you don’t seem to understand what you’re reading. Sometimes what you need is to rest so your brain can digest the information you’ve gathered so far.
Don’t Study on an Empty Stomach
This applies to any type of studying you’ll be doing. It’s not advisable to study on an empty stomach because your brain needs the energy you get from food. It can be quite challenging to focus when your body is demanding to be fed.
Difficult books are quite challenging to go through, but with the right strategy, you can complete one in record time.