The art of reading without actually reading!

Emily Watton shares her tips on how to master the art of reading.

Emily Watton
19th October 2015

I’ve loved books all my life but only read a real book when I was 12 years old. Yeah, it is possible. I have a visual impairment and therefore the printed word was accessible to me until I had 6 years of surgery. But I was still a book worm  - of the insanely addicted variety.  My answer to this wee problem was: audiobooks.

"charles dickens is actually quite funny with brilliant characters when you no longer have 900 fucking pages"

This works for everyone who can hear and it allows you do other things while you’re ‘reading’.  They get such great readers to do the recordings that it gives life to words that some people just can’t find any interest books. Actors like Stephen Fry or some are even read by the authors themselves, so you get to know exactly how they wanted the book to be read. It’s a completely different experience. My favourite part is that it gets me through some of the longest books – great, oh my gosh far too long. Charles Dickens is actually quite funny with brilliant characters when you no longer have to 900 fucking pages.

"Stop missing out on getting to know amazing worlds and characters"

The drawback is that they are more expensive to ordinary books, it screwed me over pocket-money-wise when I was a child. But libraries and charity shops have audiobook sections. Also, there are subscriptions like, but my favourite cheat way is to find them on YouTube.  It’ll even give you recommendations after a while, only problem is that if copyright find out then they get removed pretty sharpish, and that’s gutting.

I like it because it opens new worlds the people who have difficulty reading, like dyslexics or chronically lazy people.  Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, knows this expensive pain in the arse for dyslexics so audiobooks of his stuff is all the same price as the books.  I really respect that kind of initiative. Thank you, Rick! I feel bad ripping off audiobooks when all authors do what Rick Riordan does – you guys should care for all kinds of readers (insert self-righteous angry face here).

"Listen to the words rather than read them, most of my education is done this way"

Podcasts are also really useful, Welcome To Night Vale is hilarious and has a massive fan base now. Cabin Pressure is lively as well. Even the readers most attached to their paper and ink books sourced from Waterstones are gah gah for these podcasts. They offer something completely different and it gives you an alternative to music while you cook, or run, or go to the gym or clean or Facebook or plagued with insomnia.  Radio 4 hasn’t really caught onto the younger audience idea yet but some of their stuff is worth a try. Who knows you make be an Archers fan and never know it.

To conclude, (because I’m a third year and can’t write anything without an obvious conclusion) you guys who don’t enjoy or have not time to read. Read another way. Stop missing out on getting to know amazing worlds and characters, and not getting super cool literary references from your nerdier friends. Listen to the words rather than read them, most of my education is done this way.  Preachy bullshit over and I hope you managed to read all this to get my point.

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