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The Habit of Reading

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“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

― Mark Twain

Though I often have certain aims or habits in my life, there are always those aims and habits which seek me out in stead, one of which is reading. I have no contempt for this habit, as I view it to be one of the better ones, and it is one of my favorite ways in connecting with another – over a piece of literature. Whether it be an engaging story or a detailed analysis, much can be gained from reading it, as Twain suggests, but even more can be gained from swapping viewpoints and opinions with another.

When I was an extremely avid reader, I had imagined reading a book every day. This did not happen, and thankfully so. It would have likely consumed the entirety of my being. However, during this speculation, I had painstakingly calculated that this process would yield approximately 365 books in one year, and 3,650 over the course of ten years. Aside from being a nearly impossible use of time, it was also barely enough to skim the surface of possible existing literature. Because of this, I developed a temporary elitist attitude toward books, declaring that I would only read them if they were truly great and, therefore, worth my time to read. This was quite possibly the silliest thing I have ever done.

Of course, no books are quite perfect, and no author is with certainty superior to any other (except Jane Austen or perhaps Emerson). In holding such fierce judgement, I was missing out on valuable reading opportunities. After a while, I dispelled this notion, partially in thanks to Richard Bach. In his book, Illusions, Bach alludes to the idea that any book may be opened to any page to reveal relevant truth or information. After considering this concept, I began to experiment with it. Suddenly, my bookshelf became a playground. I was able to choose any book that caught my eye, without the usual expected commitments. I began reading more simply because of that. Certain books I enjoyed, and I would read them all the way through, and this is most common in my current reading, but if I don’t think a book is worth finishing, or if I feel that I have learned the right amount from the book, I won’t finish it. In stead, I will find a new one.

Only recently, I have also been introduced to audiobooks. I really enjoy the idea of being able to read when it normally wouldn’t make sense to partake. Such examples include while driving, in a choir class, or while reading another book (though don’t think I haven’t tried these with books too). Also, some books are better when read aloud. Like poetry or drama, some books sound better than they look. I was able to read the majority of Orson Scott Card’s Ender series in audiobook format. It was incredible, and many of the books had an interview with Card at the end.

I am currently reading Eragon, re-reading The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, very interesting author), and listening to Jonathan Franzen’s How to Be Alone.

Reading is one of my favorite activities, and it benefits my life in many ways. I hope that you may all find many books that speak to you, as I have.

About Human Living

Not just a Human Being, not just a Human Doing, I'm a Human Living.

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