How Well Do You Read?

In the era of digital media, we sometimes forget the importance of reading.  Recently, James Macpherson wrote a blog post responding to a comment I’d made.  In his response that he called Reading for a Change, he listed some really insightful issues about reading, and I thought they were worth repeating.  Check it out and let me know what you think.


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  1. I love reading and always have.  My discipline is to write a review for a book after I've read it assuming I consider the book worth reviewing.  I've done that for the past 4 years on Amazon.com and the funny thing is since I've begun doing that as a dsicipline I've risen in the ranks to about the 2,000th highest rated reviewer on Amazon, which has resulted in publishers and authors contacting me to give me free books.

    What's a reader to do?

    For a while I accepted almost all of them.  Now, I'm very selective and only take a few, because for me the reading has really never been about the reviewing.  The revieiwing is just a discipline to interact with the book and hopefully learn something or grow from it.

    It is sad for me to see that reading as a whole as a discipline seems to be declining in the wake of competition from all the other medias involved.  I don't have a problem with other mediums but there just seems to be a greater stimulus and involvement with reading that leads to intellectual growth.  But maybe that's just a little snobbish of me.

    For now I have about 180 reviews up on Amazon which is by no means exhaustive of all that I've read, but as I continue with this discipline (which I hope will grow as i have more time when I complete the degree I'm working on), if God gives me life, I hope to continue with the discipline and perhaps see more fruits as an influencer of others toward worthwhile books to read, as a Christian, and to extend that influence both inside and outside of the Kingdom. 

  2. I read for several hours every day.  I read my children's text books so that I can be prepared to teach them.  (We home school.)  I read essays by various friends and family members, responding as appropriate.  I read the news, carefully collected and collated to suit my interests.  I read various material related to stock options I am considering.  Then I read a book.  Usually it's a book I must read before a discussion group or to determine if we can use it for a study group or some other ministry purpose.  It's increasingly rare that I get to read a book for pure enjoyment.   

    So this whole "read slowly", take notes, write a review and find somebody to discuss it with routine sounds prohibitively time consuming.  If I did that it would seriously cut into my productivity.  I skim everything, slowing down only when something pique's my interest.  If it pique's my interest, I may compare it to related material, discuss it with someone who has special knowledge, or take action. 

     These self-help books by people like Joyce Meyer are nice, but not particularly meaty.  Mostly I skim 'em, just to make sure they're not harmful, then put 'em out for people to enjoy.  Dozens of books like that come out each month.  I would drive myself berserk, and probably have to  give up brushing my teeth and bathing, if I read them with a highlighter, discussed each with someone, wrote a review and read them twice. 

    Who does that – seriously?  I hear many people never read anything after they graduate college.  I'm betting it's because they had to follow that lugubrious reading process in college, and they hated it!   

    Read for information, read for entertainment, read/write to communicate, but don't torture yourself.   Reading was never intended to be a miserable chore in and of itself, but merely a means to an end. 

  3. My reading has definitely suffered over the years from the "bite sized" versions of everything on the web. There's some positives to it when a glut of words is boiled down to the core idea, but it also caters to a shortened attention span.

    And of course the net has taught us to avoid reading when there's a video or podcast of the same thing: speech, tutorial, review, etc.

    Despite the above, I still tend to write the same number of words… and just assume few read them. 🙂 

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