I am an avid reader. I believe we learn from reading…and so, the more we read, the more we learn. Through the written word, we gain insight into the vast world around us. We better understand views that are unlike our own (and possibly much better than our own). We hear different voices that speak truth. We go to strange and wonderful places. Reading introduces us to great minds, drops us into the very center of history, moves our hearts and souls.
In my mind, reading a book is magical experience. I cannot imagine my life without books. I find that people who read books are stimulating conversationalists. They don’t talk merely about other people or cultural trends; they discuss ideas and philosophies. They think deeply and reason well.
In fact, I’m a little suspicious of people who don’t read at all: I question the depth of their character, the very quality of their heart. I wonder where they get new ideas. Are they solely dependent on television and gossip for their information? Can they really have critical thinking skills if they only receive updates on life through their Facebook & Twitter feeds?
My practice for reading has been fairly consistent over the past dozen years. For example, I love biographies and usually begin with a bioography or if possible, an autobiography. Over the last couple of years I’ve read books about George Washington, Mother Teresa, Don Knotts and Andy Griffith, Julia Child, Lenard Nemoy, Einstein, Tom Hanks, Rob Lowe, Bonhoeffer and Penny Marshall. I’ve read half-a-dozen books on Lincoln alone.
I then read some of the novels that I was supposed to read when I was in high school. Those were the years when Cliff Notes were a favorite resource for researching those English papers assigned by Mrs. Washler. These books have included The Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, Travels with Charlie, Of Mice and Men, 1984, Animal Farm, A Tale of Two Cities, The Pearl, The Outsiders, and Call of the Wild.
From there I move on to books about history. These include The Civil War, Team of Rivals, D-Day, The Wright Brothers, Undaunted Courage, Band of Brothers, Catch 22, What They Carried and Pegasus Bridge.
I read books about management, business change process and creativity. I also like to shake it up and read novels like the Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, Grisham books, Janet Evanovich thrillers. I read New York Times best sellers. I read books about prayer and meditation. In short, I will read nearly any book about nearly anything.
Driving two-hours every day to and from work, I also have plenty of time to listen to books on tape. This has allowed me to listen books covering everything from Civil War History to storming the beaches of Normandy to Harry Potter’s fight against the Dark Lord. For you skeptics, new research reveals that audiobooks trigger the same areas of the brain as reading a standard print version. It is a way to engage the content when you are sitting in traffic.
The bottom line is that I believe Reading is Fundamental and I can’t imagine life without it.