We say, referring to books:
"It's a real thriller. Once you pick it up (- meaning, start to read it) - you can't put it down." (Also referred to as a 'page-turner'.)
"Now, class, turn to page 10 and pick up where we left off yesterday."
" I picked up a book in the newsagency in the Departure lounge to read on the plane." - but this is not 'starting to read a book'.
Student or Learner