Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lead an Extra Life: Read a Book

Do you read enough? 

Books are like sharing secrets with the great minds of our time, and they are the best tools we have for learning lessons from times past. If you’re not reading, you are denying yourself the joy of new thoughts, new worlds and new experiences - all from the comfort of your own bed, or bathtub or seat on the train.

People often feel overwhelmed by the task of reading - myself included - and many get put off all together. But if you can find writers you love, a niche that suits you, and take the pressure off, reading becomes a pleasure you’ll wonder why you hadn’t been making the most of earlier.

Self-help books get a bad rep. That’s because a great deal of them are formulaic and, well, pretty bad. But not all of them. Many of them genuinely have the power to turn your whole thought structure around; to lead you like a good friend into a completely new way of existing.

Fiction is daunting and, again, there is so much trash out there that you’ve probably read one or two novels on your summer holidays and thought ‘I don’t have time to waste on some sappy rom-com’. Equally, though, you might be scared of the mighty classics; the pressure to read and enjoy them weighing down on you like a cartoon anvil.

Books, particularly (but not exclusively) non-fiction books, do not have to be read in a linear fashion, that is, first page to last. Books don’t rule you - they don’t have your wrists chained to either cover - it is up to you at which points you want to dip in and dip out.

What you must remember is that books are there to be enjoyed, not to taunt us, and there is such a plethora of them out there that it would be foolish to limit yourself to any – even the classics – if they are simply not for you. Books don’t just teach us about the rest of the world, they teach us about ourselves. Books are your tool, not rigid sermons; you can disagree! Books are treasures for you to seek out and savour because they resonate with and motivate you, if nobody else.

♥ Books share secrets and valuable lessons.
♥ Don’t let generalisations or bad experiences put you off reading the books you’ll really love
♥ Books don’t just teach us about the world, they teach us about ourselves

Start your new relationship with books.

Go to a very good library, or one of those bookshops conveniently dotted with sumptuous leather seats for you to peruse your potential purchases in comfort; grab a stack of interesting looking reads, both fiction and non-fiction, and try to get a feel for each one in its entirety.

Flick through the pages, scan paragraphs and chapters, read the blurb and contents page – is this a book for you? No? Back it goes and on to the next one. Be brutal, if a book doesn’t instantly grab your imagination, discard it. Choose two or three books to check-out or buy, and dedicate an hour or two to sitting and reading parts of them all at once. Hopefully, this will help you to realise how we can control our reading habits, rather than letting books control and scare us off.

If you started a new journal for your MYLA adventures and have a wedge of space left in it, I now nominate it as your new reading diary. Record the major new thoughts you take from the books you love, muse on what you have learnt, and foresee what you will do with these lessons.


Maria said...

What a timely post! I am a huge adorer of books and I'll read absolutely anything. My friends share this passion so we've decided to start a book club. It'll be a great excuse for all of us to see each other regularly over a glass of wine.

I've also signed myself up to a reading challenge on I've given myself a goal of 20 books this year. I'm still ploughing through my first one which is a beast: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

Maria xx

Megan said...

Maria - Thanks for your comment, and the link! A book club between friends is a great idea and I'd really love to read Atlas Shrugged so let me know what you think of it!

Joisey Dani said...

A fellow teacher friend of mine has her students use the I PICK method. It goes like this.

I choose a book

Purpose -- Why do I want to read it?
Interest -- Does it interest me?
Comprehend -- Am I understanding what I read?
Know -- Do I know most of the words?

Maybe as adults we can use this same method?


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