I found this image on Pinterest today (stop right there, quit judging me for being a male Pinterest user and then continue to read on) and found it to be ridiculously awesome. Being an English major I have throughly studied the works from Romantic and Victorian England and I truly appreciate the image of the gentleman. If you are interested, Charles Dickens book Great Expectations documents the journey of a young man and his evolution into a gentleman, it is quite good. Leaving the conversation of a gentleman to another post, I want to bring you back to the image here and I want to draw your attention to the bullet point that reads: “Read Books Often.”
Now, in recent years I have started to enjoy reading books. Before I go to sleep each night I get my fair share of reading in. Although my reading years are few I believe I have learned something along the way that can serve as a beneficial reminder to us all: one should not read books, simply to read books.
To read for the sake of reading is no different than eating for the sake of eating. Just as food serves the purpose of fulfilling hunger, your reading should serve a purpose as well. Reading, fiction in particular, may be read as for the purpose of release or escape, working in same way that television does for many. Reading also serves the purpose of conveying knowledge, people write books believing that they have knowledge to impart on their readers, in the same way you pick up a book believing that the author has some sort of knowledge that you may gleam. Now, I pray you, do not read simply to say “I have read ‘x book’.” If we look at reading as a conquest then we truly miss the beauty behind the written word.
When I read I do so with a highlighter and pen in hand. I highlight passages that stand out to me and I jot down any thoughts that I may feel are important or that may summarize a passage. I then use these notes that I have made to reference the book in the future. I love looking through a book I once read and to see what stood out to me during the time I spent reading it. In the same way, those passages that you mark up and highlight stand out to your mind, I’m no Psychology student but I can assure you that you will remember those highlighted passages and that the wisdom portrayed to you through the pages of the book will stick with you for future recall or application.
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” – Harry S. Truman