A while back, I posted a poll with a question on reading. I asked all the fine folk out there how many books they read a month. Most said that they read somewhere between ZERO and THREE books a month. I thought that was pretty good. Well, not bad if your toward the THREE range, but rather abysmal if you’re closer to ZERO. Every time I become engaged in a conversation about reading, I usually say that as a people (not so much as a nation or as even a continent, but as a people) we’re not reading nearly as much as we’re used to. Then, someone, without fail, will bring up the idea that we’re actually reading the most we’ve ever read – the issue is that what we’re reading is not what I’m thinking of when I consider “reading.” That is, we’re reading all kinds of Internet trash, which is mostly written at a lower level than what we used to be reading.
I’ll agree with that.
The way we’re reading is also different. We’re not reading with a degree of patience in silence, any more. We’re reading in short blurbs and blips. We don’t want to take the time to read because (well, among other reasons), we’re afraid that we’ll be missing something somewhere else. There’s so much out there nowadays. It besieges us and, is it any wonder that we feel overwhelmed. It’s similar to the feeling we get when we’re driving down a dark road in the middle of the night and all of a sudden, three cars begin to close in on you from behind. No, they don’t have their brights on, but you know how technology and the automotive industry is? They have those headlights that are just those kind that look bright no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Their lights always look extraordinarily bright. So, I’m presuming we all know that feeling. How do we feel? We were just enjoying our smooth drive at our own pace and these race cars came up on us out of nowhere and started making us feel that we had to rush. Well, shit. Okay. I’ll rush.
It’s too bad. We’ve been rushed to read faster, which makes for lower comprehension. Well, I’m urging all of you to not do that. I’m urging you to read and to keep reading. You shouldn’t even need to ask what you should read. Read what you would have read when you were 14 or 15. What do you like? Do you like adventure, romance, action, literary, fiction, non-fiction, horror, mystery – it doesn’t matter! Just read. Now, don’t read something WAY below your level all the time. That is, I don’t think you would benefit all that much from reading books for 5-year olds with any sort of consistency, but expand yourself. Read a little bit of everything if you’d like. But read what you want. That’s the main thing.
Me? I’m reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s once that I never thought I would read, or if I did, it wouldn’t have been until later in life. But how often can we really say we’re waiting. That’s bullshit – something to make the ego feel better. We all know the truth in that. We can say what we’re “GONNA” do until our eyes fill up with the yellow water of the lie. There is no “I’m gonna”, there’s only either “I’m doing” or “I’m not doing.”
Whatever you want to do, read, read, and read while you’re doing it. Keep reading and keep creating. That’s it.