How can the average person become a more discerning reader?
One, move your lips when you read, or at least say the words aloud in your head. Writers care about the sound of their sentences or the lines of their poems, and the best way to appreciate a distinctive style is to slow down and listen to the voice on the page.
Two, always read with a pencil in your hand. Mark favorite passages. Scribble questions or comments in the margin. Argue with the author.
Three, resist habit and complacency. Don’t just pick up every James Patterson or Charlaine Harris novel that comes out. Try something new or old, or translated from a foreign language, or in a field that you know nothing about but that sounds interesting.
Echoes of Mortimer Adler and How To Read a Book.