What to read

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.

7 thoughts on “What to read

  1. Well said. I followed a similar advise of my father, which had increased my language skills. I used to read bill boards when I was young, increased my creativity and the search for new words, captions etc.,

  2. People used to say if your day passes-by without you gaining extra information or knowledge then your day is wasted. I have come across a course where people get taught how to read a story, article ….etc. in a book, magazine, newspaper..etc. by focusing on certain parts of the story to get the whole picture. I used to avoid buying books more than 100 pages long assuming that I am not going to be able to read it all hence it will be wasted. Then I realized that I do not have to read the book back-to-back to get to the point the author is trying to convey so I started reading all books types, does not matter how thick they are , I was jumping sections and chapters but still get the idea and add something new to my knowledge. I guess “How to read” is as important as “What to read”.

    1. That’s right. How to read is as important as what to read. Knowing how to read will definitely help you grab the point that the author is trying to convey in the shortest time, giving you the chance to read more.

  3. What I love doing when visiting other countries is picking up a local newspaper in the morning. You learn a lot about their political, social and religious issues very quickly.

    Reading in other languages or learning other languages is also a big plus. My understanding of Arabic has grown immensely since moving to the middle east. I keep picking up new words and phrases from road signs, billboards, subtitles to films and the newspaper.

  4. Reading …..

    The Only way to light up your mind and take you in the the path of life and keep on guiding you on and on and on.
    Reading is Life itself.
    Stop reading and you will wither away….
    and life will leave you behind…

    Happy Reading

  5. Reading is a skill … Actually it is more than that … it is a condition that you swiftly delve into where your senses start absorbing and your brain start creating worlds of its own …Reading gets better with more reading … You read and read until you start reading written text and text that is not written, spaces given and others hidden, people you met and people you never saw, faces, feelings, movements, sounds, silence, sky, clouds, winds, past, present, future … are you still reading 🙂 …

    Thanks Ibrahim for reminding us with one of the greatest blessings…

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