What to read?
A friend of mine told me, a long time ago, about an advice he got from his father: “If you see a paper on the road, pick it up and read it”. I was quite impressed with this advice and since then, I try to fill any spare moment I have with reading.
Just to let you know before we go on, I am not a “focused reader”. In other words, I don’t read books from cover to cover. I tend to read few pages or chapters from one book and jump to a journal article, then to a magazine, and back to another book, passing by my daughter’s text books – for fun and nostalgia…
Back to the question: What to read? This question came to me when a young friend recently tweeted “Knowing too much isn’t good. Maybe I should stop reading. Reading is a destructive weapon”. I have to say that this tweet made me jump, literally. Knowing too much is never bad. Believing everything is bad. And in order to differentiate and judge what to believe and what not to believe, you have to read more.
The question metamorphoses now to “What to believe?”, and that IS a difficult question. My first answer is: You don’t have to believe or disbelieve what you are reading. You don’t have to judge. Read to be aware, read to know, read to enjoy. You don’t have to always judge what you read. When you listen to your favourite song and enjoy it, do you “believe” every word in the song?
But if you have to make a judgment about what you are reading, then my second answer to the question “What to believe” is: “follow your guts”. Why? Well, haven’t you ever got into a situation where you met someone for the first time and you said to yourself: “I don’t know why, but I don’t like this person”. Later on, you discovered that your initial feelings were right, and that person turned out to be not worthy of befriending. This is your gut feeling and it is seldom wrong. And guess what, your gut feelings are nothing but a collection of your readings, experiences and encounters in life. This means that the more you read, the better your gut feelings become.
So, my advice to you, my young friend: Read everything and anything. Go on, read books, journals, newspapaer, magazines. Read restaurant menus and advertisement weeklies. Read store names and car number plates. Read bulletin boards on the road and building names. Read everything and don’t say: should I believe this or not. Say, now I read this and understood it. Next.