Saturday, 29 April 2017

Reading - How and Why?

What sort of reader are you?

I have become fascinated by how different people approach their reading.

What I mean by this is, some of us will have two or more books we are reading at any one time.

A work colleague has recommended several books for me to read. They are, ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ by Vishen Lakhiani and ‘The Life Changing Magic of NOT GIVING A F*ck’ by Sarah Knight.

Both books have been interesting, educational, thought provoking and confronting. In many ways, each book has been affirming too.

While both books were thought provoking, it was another reading related conversation with my colleague that has motivated this article.

I suggested a book for her (my work colleague) to read - ‘GUT – The Inside Story of the Bodies Most Underrated Organ’ by Giulia Enders. We had a brief conversation and she said she would add it to the books she is reading at the moment. During this discussion, she revealed that at any one time, she has 5 or more books that are partly read and she selects basically at random to read a little of.

What interested me about this is how different this reading approach is to what I do.

I am what might be called an “obsessive” reader. I start a book and become obsessed with the concept of starting another book before I have finished what I am reading is completely foreign.

In fact, when I start a book, it becomes an almost “life focus” and reading it is prioritised over many other things, eating, work, socialising, writing, and so the list goes on. I am notorious for reading late in to the night, and even going sleepless as I become engrossed in a book, obsessed with a book to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

I love international plane travel. A flight to Los Angeles is a luxury as it gives me about 13 hours of largely uninterrupted reading time. Dubai is even better as this is about 15 hours all up. I once flew from Paris to Dubai and when day light disappeared I realised there was a faulty overhead reading light. The flight crew recognised my dilemma and allowed me to sit on one of the flight crew seats adjacent to the galley, giving me good light to read.

I have to confess, that my reading was interrupted by way of being able to overhear some simply amazing chat between the flight crew. Their chat was most entertaining and some of it was unbelievable.

The idea of having more than one book partly read at any given time is not something I can conceive at all. I find it extraordinary.

How do you decide which book to pick up and read? Do you always select the same book at night and is the Saturday morning book always the same?

Maybe it is a little like selecting music. Like me, I am sure you make a music choice based on your mood at the time, your current emotional state of mind or the emotional state of mind you want to achieve. Music is, whether we realise it or not, a huge emotional influence. (as I write, I am listening to “Uluru” by Tony O’Connor). Becoming aware of the emotions different music can impact is quite powerful, but that is a topic for another day.

Back to reading, how do you choose what to read when you have two or more books partly read at the one time. To me, it would be like deciding which child you love most – well, that might be a bit extreme but hopefully you get the point.

When I decide to start a book, I have to protect myself against my obsessive reading tendency. I have to be mindful that once I start the book, it will overwhelm many other things in my life until it is completed. I have been known to pick up a book at 7pm, read for 8 hours, sleep for 2 hours and read again for 5 hours. (all too often). Given my reading will be prioritised over many other things, I need to discipline myself before starting a book to ensuring I have the space to read it, hence my love of a long-distance flight. (don’t even think of starting a conversation with me on a plane).

But back to the subject. I realise my “obsessive” reading approach may be considered a little extreme. However, how does someone manage having more than one book partly read at any given time?

I am interested in feedback.

What is your reading style? Is it multiple books at once, or one at a time.

Is it obsessive like me, or more “balanced”?

Do you digest your reading in big chunks or take your reading in small bit sized pieces?

Really, I would like to know. Please comment on this post, comment or reply on Twitter or Facebook, direct message me, email or text.

I also almost exclusively read non-fiction. Do you consider yourself a fiction or non-fiction reader, or do you seamlessly switch between the two?

I look forward to your input – and will value it greatly.

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