Sunday, February 15, 2015

Reclaiming the reading habit - a successful try out

Remember the famous quote from Francis Bacon: “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”

Blame it on the Internet, Google, Social Media, the general waning of reading culture, so on and so forth - reading for pleasure, enrichment and enlightenment, at least for me, was becoming a difficult task. I simply couldn't imagine getting back those days when I could pick up a book and finish reading it in one go! It was more fun to share the reading experience with friends and there were fewer distractions that affected our attention span and patience required for reading.

Professional reading and self-help kind of stuff was fine. Though this kind of serious reading was mostly online and on my mobile phone, in various 'e' forms - PDFs, ebooks, websites and all. And in most instances such reading was fragmentary, disconnected and purely functional. It rarely kindled my imagination.

I tried out something different to reclaim my reading.

The idea was to read at least 5 to 10 pages everyday from a book that inspires or helps me think creatively or imaginatively.

At first instance, I picked up the easiest ones and made it a point to read whenever I could - early in the morning, soon after office or just before going to bed. After a week, I could see that my reader's block started clearing out. It made me feel good and I didn't realize that I able to complete many more pages in one go. The joy doubled when I could take out my collection of CBT books and quickly recollect those lovely stories – mythology, Indian history and folk tales.

Then came English classics and some eternal favorites like Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince and Animal Farm. And, believe me, reading them all over again was like a tonic that sparked off divergent lines of thought. This was the need of the hour for me as I decided to hone my writing skills, for reading serves as the base to preparing to write.

As a follow up and to ensure that I continue to remember what I read:
  • ·         I quickly make a note of some interesting points and snippets.
  • ·         I go to the Web and read more that complements the book.
  • ·         I share some ideas with my friends and colleagues.
  • ·         I pick up some ideas and explore their relevance today.
  • ·         From biographies, I try to pick up at least three things I could emulate.

In an age when there are so many distractions, reading competes with other interests that are easy and effortless to pursue. But, nothing can beat the earthy smell of old books or the freshly printed new books for that refreshing break from the routine. Aren’t they like our best friends who we can always depend upon – come what may!

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