Supercharge Your Reading
As an author of speculative fiction writings, I have also dedicated myself to helping writers and readers write better and read more effectively. This is Lorenzo Samuel's Advice Blog, which I'm sharing with you. This blog's tips are for readers primarily; however, writers take note. Could help you too:
My guess is that most readers read for entertainment. Often knowledge is a plus, however entertainment remains king. The reason for my conclusion may be lame or wise depending how you look at it. Here is a lame interpretation: most readers read like I read. Here is an interpretation that may be a bit wiser: the author's job is to entertain readers using various techniques. Among these is presenting new things outside the reader’s experience. The story takes place in a world that is new to us. The character knows things that we don't. Those things may fascinate us or pass us by unnoticed. Regardless, part of what we read remains with us long after the book has been shelved. If we have learned something new while being entertained, that alone can place the book in memory.
An author should write a character for which the reader can empathize readily. This nearly guarantees that the reader will care about what the character does and what happens to her or him. Can a reader contribute to that empathy? I believe so and I will go so far as to say that the reader should do so.
Let's say that you are 1/3rd the way through a novel, and you become bored. You say, "I'm not going to waste my time on this," and put the book down forever. Imagine that in the very next chapter a twist in the story occurs, taking it in a new and interesting direction.
You can blame the author for not holding your interest, or you could become proactive. Let's say that you have looked back in the story and found when you first became less interested in the story, the plot, the character. You looked just prior to that and made sure you completely understood what happened at that point in the story.
Go ahead and put the book down then if you want to. Or apply this tip: Take a good look at the character. Find something new about her or him that you like or admire. In other words, increase your empathy for this character. This is not foolproof, although you might rehabilitate your interest in what will happen to the character and read on, get to that twist in the next chapter and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
You might never read another book by that author. That's okay and your right as a reader. However, at least you gave him or her a fair shake. You contributed and got more out of the story than you would have otherwise.
What does a reader contribute to a story? You probably can think of several that I may miss. Here’s some I thought of right off hand: interest, time, telling others about the book, desire to read more, say a sequel or another new story, learning something new, possibly a change in attitude, memory of the story. That’s some. Undoubtedly the senior one in the list is interest.
Good writers know these and they try to deliver them to you, the reader. Each contribution you make will benefit you and your experience in reading a story. Try to contribute to the next book you pick up.