A Reader’s Digest


The last book I got as a present was Fifty Shades of Grey in a Secret Santa gift that came accompanied by a very large penis-shaped peppermint lollipop.

While I threw away the lollipop (I hate mints), I did give Fifty Shades a go, and by “a go,” I mean that I skipped through the book trying to find all the steamy tampon-filled sex scenes to see if it was really that dirty. But alas, my tolerance for poorly written smut found itself at an end when Anastasia sensually cried out, “Holy crap!” in the middle of getting spanked.

I personally don’t go for books like Fifty Shades or Twilight, but I do have to respect their role as gateway books — you start there and boom: you’ve burned your way through three dozen romances. Can’t hate too much on anything that gets you to read another book. I myself happen to adore cheesy Tudor romance reimaginings. That is my right as an American.

Yet while we all have time to marathon a million different TV shows, we have considerably less time to read even a single book.

So here are Paige’s Four Tips for People Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too. (And I’m a credible source — I’ve already read 16 books this year.)

1. Why pay more when you can pay less?

Sign up for BookBub (bookbub.com), a handy resource that aggregates the best eBook deals of the day (at your retailer of choice) in a morning email. You can choose to get specific alerts by genre, author or even on specific titles.

2. Read in small bursts.

Reading does not have to be a lengthy task. Tackle books in little bursts: five minutes at the bus stop, 15 before bed. Chapter by chapter, you’ll wear away at it. And if you end up really liking it, you’ll find time for the marathon.

3. Don’t feel like you have to finish.

If you hate the book, don’t finish it. Why suffer through another 300 pages if you didn’t like the first 50? Life’s too short to read bad books.

4. Go for a mix of genres.

Now, I like Tudor romance but if all I read was Tudor romance, I’d be absolutely sick of reading in two weeks. So I try to mix up genres. It keeps your mind and interest fresh.

To encourage you on your journey, I conclude with a list of the 16 books I have finished thus far this year, in order: Shockaholic, My Lady Viper, The Bird Eater, 999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense, Just the Tips, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Thomas Jefferson’s Cr me Brulee, The Wedding Shroud, The Light of the Fireflies, Room, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, After I’m Gone, Guardians of the Night, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

(Yes, I did read two biographies on Thomas Jefferson. Not sure why myself. I’d recommend Billy Lynn to just about everyone, though: a poetic, incisive critique of the Iraq War and American society. And it’ll be a movie starring the likes of Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and Vin Diesel soon, too. Consider it Paige’s Pick of the Week.)