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N.E. Johnson

Words Are Hard
New Book


On Reading Tough Books


Do you love books, but not the ones you’ve been reading lately? Do you love books, but wish you could get more out of them? In On Reading Tough Books, a recovering avid reader shares the coping mechanisms he’s developed over decades to keep the joy of books alive.

Available Now in Print and Ebook Formats:

This field manual to reading will help you to...
  • Make reading a regular habit.

  • Approach different types of books to get the most out of them.

  • Take notes that are useful, and apply those notes afterwards.

  • Understand literary criticism and how to make it work for you.

If you’re a student struggling to get through assigned reading … and then struggling to say something insightful about it … or if you’ve grown out of reading and wonder what happened to that passion, this book has actionable advice to improve your reading experience.


Readers Reviews of On Reading Tough Books

I used to read a lot all the way up until college. And then college really took the fun out of reading. I joked that I went to college to stop reading. This book addresses that issue. It shows how to bring the fun and usefulness back into reading."

If you are tackling hard books or enjoying an easy read, this book is going to help you get more out of them. Because it approaches things like picking a book and note taking in such an effortless and humorous way, I feel young people would get a lot out of the book."

A very readable book about reading! The author invites us to examine our reasons for reading, remember why we loved to read, and suggests methods for active reading that are useful for personal pleasure and enrichment as well as academic purposes. I made notes all throughout this book because I found myself WANTING to. The author’s personality is humorous, unpretentious, and enjoyable."

Book Excerpts


A few excerpts from the book:
"The idea that only some people, a literary elite, ‘truly’ understand a work is utter poppycock ... anyone can appreciate and get more out of a work by digging into it and all the things it could mean."


About N.E. Johnson

N.E. Johnson is a collective of malcontented cephalopods in a suit pretending to be a real author and desperately hoping you don't see past the fake moustache and monocle. They spent five years homeless and ten years as an engineer until circumstance, secrets, and unspeakable acts forced them into doing the one thing they always wanted to do; actually finish a book.

Their debut book, On Reading Tough Books, is the cathartic examination of a love for literature that flourished despite the best effort of their English teachers.

When not writing they enjoy reading, cheese dishes, walks in the park, stressing about all the writing they should be doing, and drinking in dubious company. They live in regrettably sunny California with their turtle ‘Spike’, who abides their company in exchange for food.



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