How reading makes a difference
Reading can make a difference.
The sentence is not quite finished but it's left open like that because it shouldn’t offend anyone. It’s about reading books and articles that need more than 5 to 10 minutes of your attention. No, reading more doesn’t make one superior or more educated, but in each and every case it can make a difference.
It’s not about title dropping, author critique or quotes you share.
It’s about what you learn while you read. The act perse of reading can tell a lot about a person.
Reading teaches you a lot about patience, it plants the seed of curiosity and the willpower to pursue it. It equips you for life with hacks that you really can't learn from a youtube tutorial.
Disclaimer: audiobooks don't do the trick unless it’s an emergency and a hack to read more. If you listen to audiobooks because you are an avid reader who evolved to that stage and just want to make the most of some spare time, then yeah, audiobooks do you justice.
All the other hacks around reading won’t be able to fill in the void either. Blinkist? Good if you have it and I hope it actually makes you buy those books and really want to enjoy full pages and understand more.
You will never be able to find the essence on mighty Google, in an article, in newsletters, in conversations with people if you haven't educated yourself to read… because reading is also about reading situations and about reading people.
I'm so glad for those long summer vacations given by the educational system I grew up in. It offered me 3 months of summer days that I could spend reading in my balcony while getting a tan. Jules Verne planted that seed of adventure and travel in my mind. My best friend was also an avid reader and going to her pool house meant besides swimming, also reading together. I can't remember if it ever was a contest between us, but it sure was a playground for recommendations. Ok, I admit, with Harry Potter there was some kind of a contest to devour the books.
I am grateful for the ladies from the library who waited patiently to select numerous books, or for the one in school who always pointed me towards new titles based on what I have already borrowed.
Finding titles without the internet back in the days? It was just the old school way of reading many many titles on many shelves and picking up new ones. The pleasure of discovering. Of course, there were bad choices too, but never too bad not to finish a book.
Photo by Susan Yin on UnsplashThen it was the German language that I was studying and I needed to develop my vocabulary. Ritter Geschichten about finding the Heilige Graal were more entertaining than anything back then on TV. I was also lucky to discover the German literature by having to study authors that other people my age didn't have in their curricula.
Oh, and that exchange Erasmus semester in Germany? That library was the one that gave me access to so many titles that I would have never heard about otherwise. All the branding and advertising, psychology, sociology books during that “unedliches” Winter were originals, written in English. That tiny city with grey gloomy weather sure was the perfect setting to make me read more and want to read even more.
Now, that I’m in my thirties with a job I can proudly say that I have kept my pleasure for reading. I turned more towards non-fictional, business-related books. I also had to swap real books for ebooks because of my more nomadic lifestyle, but travelling is also another great motive to read more.
Growing up with books makes a huge difference in building a character.
Even those who didn’t grow up with the pleasure of turning pages can develop this wonderful activity over time. Periods like this with forced quarantine and too much social media may be the right time to ask for a recommendation and start reading a book.
Of course, those who don’t like reading will get somehow offended and won't actually understand the true meaning of this text. They will scan it, get some negative vibes out of it and move on to memes.
Scanning is mostly the biggest sin for non-readers and the nicest blessing for those who learned how to do it properly by reading tons of pages.
Yes, I'm judgemental, and a well-read person shouldn't be judgemental. But this text is not written to judge others. It's written to praise the passionate readers. That glow in someone’s eyes when they genuinely ask what you’ve been reading lately makes me want to become instant friends with them. Seeing people on public transportation, by the pool or anywhere in nature with a book makes my heart melt. It feels like we’re in the same badass nerd gang that can practice sarcasm, that can use beautiful words in perfectly balanced sentences, that will be always careful with spelling and will appreciate punctuation.
I’ve been sending over pdfs to people I see reading things I already read. Those are careful recommendations based on this other secret understanding of the importance of curation.
“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.” George Santayana