This year, I set a lot of goals for myself. Maybe too many! However, one goal that I am really glad I've been sticking to (besides doing this blog every Monday) is reading more. MUCH more. Last year, I don't think I read one single book cover to cover. Shame! As far as 2016 goes, I am currently on my 7th book. Nobody forced me to read any of them either! I really think that reading, along with writing (like, pen and paper writing...not a text message or very long Facebook status), is such a lost form of communication and art. Why don't people read anymore? Sometimes it's like pulling teeth even getting people to read this very blog. Reading is good for comprehension purposes. By listening to someone speak, especially face to face, there is a chance you can miss certain things due to lack of focus. Reading to comprehend is much different. Looking at the actual words, your brain can reread and embed it in your mind. It will be there for you to go over again as many times as you need. I understand fully that often reading can be very time consuming in such a fast paced world, but trust me, it helps me understand so much better.
First off, I'll give some tips that have helped me read as much as I have so far this year. The thing is, if I overwhelm myself with too much to read, I will end up not reading anything, or taking a very long time to read one thing. I started off the year by going to Barnes and Noble to get a book on a subject I was immediately interested in. I chose a book that was very direct and not too wordy. I finished that thing in less than a week! The next book I chose was a little bit longer, more complex and verbose, but I was on such a high from finishing the first book that I was determined to finish the next one. That book took me about 2 weeks. After that, my mind needed a sort of "break" if you will, so I decided to read a SUPER easy and light book, just to keep the momentum going, but not come to a screeching halt. That book took me like a day. After that one, I read a very interesting fiction book, which was definitely interesting, but also very deep and thought provoking, so it took me a minute! The next book was another short one, less than 100 pages. Which brings me to the book I'm on now! So in short, I've found out that I need to alternate between easy reads and the more complex books. Also, it is good to start with stuff that really REALLY interests you, or you'll get so freakin bored, and in turn, discouraged from ever reading again! That is why, yes, I would love it if everyone in the world read my awesome amazing blog, but I'm really looking for the people who are interested in the same things I'm interested in. That way I will have more faithful readers. Niche' market! I'm telling you, I really didn't think I had it in me, but I really love reading now. I find myself quoting the books I've read very often.
I will also share a story with you know about the real world importance of reading and writing. Some of you may be aware that at times, I can get a bit annoyed. I actually have an entire alter ego named after my announces (her name is Ann Noid). Anywho, I was out with a friend one day and we were hanging at one of my favorite lounges in the city. Everything was pretty fun for a while. I had some drinks, they had some drinks, usual stuff. After awhile, the person I was with began to get a little bit drunk. Or actually, a lot a bit drunk. If any of you have ever hung out with someone inebriated, I'm sure you can relate to how annoying it can become. This person was not listening to a thing anyone was saying. They were totally unaware of their outward actions. No matter how many times anyone around would try to tell the person that they were going overboard, it didn't seem to matter. Everything went in one ear and out of the other. People were arguing and getting mad at each other all over the place. There was a lot of everyone talking over everyone, and on top of that, there was loud music playing in the background. Needless to say, less than desirable conditions for any sort of effective communication. I decided to take a piece of paper from my notebook and write a small note. In that note, I wrote down why it was that everyone was upset at this individual, and gave it to them. They may not have read it then, but the next day I did get a thank you text for explaining clearly what went wrong. Sometimes speaking can be good too, don't get me wrong, but when two people are on different pages in different books, in different libraries... we aren't really listening to what is being said, rather what we are about to say next in response. With reading, you do not think like that. You don't think of any arguments until you've completely finished reading. And even when you do think of any opposition, the text is right there for you to reread over again just to make sure you understood correctly before jumping to a conclusion. Makes sense right?
I know that some of us may not be in school anymore, and after school is over for us, it's hard to keep doing the things that you were once forced to do so painstakingly everyday for 8 hours. It took me a very long time to realize that reading actually IS fundamental. I know, I know, it sounds so corny and cliche', but I've lived the examples people. There are so many books out there. So many things we could be learning about. So many insights from people long ago...an actual window to the past! It's just all very exciting just thinking about it. Does this make me a nerd? Eh, I suppose I've aways been a nerd (hard not to be when you wear glasses). But I don't care. I wish I had all the time in the world to read all the books, but for now, I'll just read as many as I can and hopefully encourage someone else to do the same.
p.s. "Reading" is also another fun term for telling someone about themselves (which I find equally as fundamental at times lol). Here is a great song (with explicit language) and video on the lesser known reading!
p.p.s. Writing notes to people who do not seem to understand or listen to you really is a good idea, and has worked for me many times. Writing isn't fool proof though. A lot of your general tone and demeanor can be misconstrued without body language or facial expression to accompany. I suggest being very direct!
p.p.p.s. Even though 7 Habits of Highly Successful People has been my favorite book so far this year, the current book I'm reading, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a close second! It's a very in depth look at what makes individuals and groups stand out from others in extraordinary ways. Go read it! (All of my top recommendations will be on my Favorite Things Page...)