In a book I read recently someone called reading selfish. The reader pretested until the antagonist suggested it was only solipsistic. It creates a world where only one self exists. Reading is frequently seen as isolationist, rude,unpersonable, and retiring. It can be all of those things especially if you are avoiding people at a dinner party by pulling out Ulysses during hors d’oeuvres. However, it can be adventurous, a shared experience, inspirational, and aggressive. Reading can cultivate relationships and bind people together on a deep level.
From personal experience it inspired passion and connection between two people that lead to heart stopping romance. One of the first things my husband asked me was, “Do you read?” He took my breath away.
1) Reading is a Shared Experience.
Most notably this is seen when parents read to their children. The time we spend with our kids reading to them does more than develop their minds. We learn lessons and value each other with our time. It is not just the words themselves, but the action of reading them that gives a shared experience. You both know that the bears is at the end of the cave, that it is time to say good night, or that C comes after B but before D. It is the excitement, tranquility, and knowledge shared.
This is not just done with parents and children. Old friends and new ones, those far away and those nearby, can share the experience of reading a book. Turning the same pages, looking at the same words, and going on the same adventure. These are book clubs, classes, friendships, and sometimes just picking up a book someone read to you once and revisiting it to hear their voice again.
2) Learning Together
Moving from the action of reading to the content of it, knowledge grows when you read and study. You can make the same discoveries at the same time or share something almost forgotten. It is so important to learn with your child, whether it’s about leaves or why the sky is blue. Sometimes we forget about our curiosity and have to grow it all over again, but reading develops the imagination and shared imagination leads to questions. Questions that can be answered together.
Often spouses and friends and coworkers use this form of learning, everyone passes around the same development book. The key is learning together, discussing the topics, asking the questions, and developing the mind in a new way.
3) Causes Adventures
Whether or not you read the same books as someone else, they inspire you to reach outside yourself and think of other experience. You can read about hiking African tundras, or slow roasting a pig in your backyard, and before you know it you have hiking shoes and a fire pit. “The more you read the more you know the more you know the places you’ll go” – Dr. Seuss
4) All of this makes you more interesting.
The goal isn’t to become more interesting, but as your mind develops and you have more adventures because of your questions, you have more to talk about. It all comes down to your attitude about it.
Fall Reading Plan
This fall I have a couple projects going- one for fun, one for survival – but both to invest in relationships.
The first one is a reading-to-keep-up-with-each-other bookclub. That is what the Google document says. A friend and I each picked six books for the next year and alternate them month to month. We have already read a mystery by AA Milne, Seven Brief Lessons In Physics, and the Knight by Gene Wolfe. The goal is to read diversly but shortly. We are busy people with many things to read as she is literature teacher and I always have many things to read.
The second reading goal is as intense as the first one is moderate. My husband started school this week and there are 47 books for the eight week term. I am going to share this experience with him or I don’t think we would see each other between now and October. I think we will be very interesting indeed by the end of this. Also, this will sharpen my mind in preparation for beginning my Master’s studies next year.
I am going to be tracking both reading journeys on the new page of the blog. So, if you want to share in either experience check out the newest page.