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Your Way

Read your own way.

Two thousand eight hundred and eighty. That is about how many books an avid reader will get to consume in their lifetime, if they don’t reread anything. That’s four books a month for sixty years of an adult reading level. Some people read much faster; some people read much slower.

I read a book every few days when they are short, simple pieces, but sometimes a book, as we have said before, deserves to be chewed on. I am guilty of having read a book, stopped, backed up several pages, and reread a section I love. Something can work so well I needed to understand how the author did it.

I’ve also read books, where they are ok fluff pieces, without anything new to say, and I am just trying to get through them. Sometimes, I read because I want be challenged. Sometimes I read because I want to be entertained. That entertainment might take the form of a pulpy fiction piece I’ve read before and I want to wallow in nostalgia. Sometimes I want to be entertained in just the way I expect, with simple easy to predict characters and well-trodden genre ground. Still other times, entertainment needs to change things up for me.

These are all different ways to read. None of them are right. None of them are wrong. They can be about our mood, or our personality. Some people may always want to have reading as escapism. Why should we judge that? Is TV or movies not another kind of escapism? Board games, video games, these are kind of escapes that have different level of engagement possible. Not everything must be an epic masterpiece. At the same time a person who prefers to always be challenged, constantly learn a new word or two in each piece, a new turn of phrase, is not reading above the rest of us either.

Reading, is a wonderful hobby that can meet everyone where they are. If you have a busy life, with family, children, a stressful job, etc. there is nothing wrong with slowly reading your way through a light piece or blitzing through a speed read of light fluff every few days. There is also nothing wrong with choosing to spend your weekends delving into deep landscapes of the imagination, or seriously consuming a difficult read every few months.

If you are a literary professor, who reads for a living, there is nothing wrong with always seeking to press the boundaries of understanding or challenge writers to elevate their consideration for what is possible.

Every one of those options make you a reader. A partaker in the greatest passing of information in human history. A book is the summation of another person’s life, their work, their imagination placed on the page for us to consume. Every time you consume one, large, small, fast or slow, you are taking part in stories passing from past to future, and every way, is the right way. So read your way, and never be bothered by it.

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Anna Varlese
Anna Varlese
08 במרץ 2023

Thank you for the reminder to consume a varied diet of reading material.

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