05 May 2017
I listen to a lot of talks/lectures online. I realize that I listen to talks about imagination and story more than anything else, I think (and usually focused on my favourite authors). There is so much to draw from all sources of story - ancient or new. The power is in the subtext of story. It's not a fact book that spells out all the answers for you, but rather it is the experience of events and occurrences to which you are brought into and made to interpret for yourself. It is one of the reasons I am drawn to the more mysterious -- it makes you think. Good books cast their own spell of imagination.
That's the beauty of literature. You may be drawn to something that went unnoticed to someone else. You may ponder deeply about what a character is doing and why. For all of that you must use your imagination.
So, how can we be better readers? I thought I would make a short list of things to think about. Since I talk about reading a lot, I hear so many people say that they want to read more, that they should read more, and they wish they had more time to read. It is all a choice of how we spend our time, for we all have time to read if it is important to us.
- Read More
The more you read, the more you expand your vocabulary and ability to interpret different writing styles to enjoy a broader range of books. If you worry about not understanding something and that causes you to not read, keep reading and it usually sorts itself out. As time goes on the things you read begin to cohere in your mind, building upon foundations and previously read knowledge.
- Make Reading A Priority
You say you want to read, but then never pick up a book. Just as you make sure to take a shower each day, make sure you take time to read. Start small. Don't feel like you have to read for hours. Just 15 minutes. Then build it up over time. Before you know it, you will be continuously expanding that time.
- Read Good Books, And What You Like
Be selective in your books. Don't just read the popular book that everyone seems to be reading, but select books that are classics you've always wondered about or that come highly recommended. But if it is not of interest to you, don't read it. You should enjoy what you read and be challenged in a good way.
- Be A Thoughtful Reader
If you are reading a pure plot-driven action book, there isn't much to ponder about, but if you are reading a classic or a really good story, there is going to be a lot for you to ask yourself - why is the character making those choices? Why does this topic matter? What is the context in history that this book was written? What is the character learning? How are they growing? Do you agree with what is happening?
When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, you start to interpret and develop understanding about yourself that you never would have known before.
- Talk About Books
It makes it more exciting when you can talk about books with others. Whether the other person has read the book, or not, you can share about what you are learning or why it is so interesting. I am always available to talk about books, by the way.