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Deep Reading

What is deep reading, exactly?  Basically, it’s submersing yourself in a contiguous block of time reading a sizable book of text (not just mere images) from beginning to end.  Oh, you think: that’s easy! Or, you’ve done it plenty of times.  If you done it recently and regularly, then kudos to you!

But for some, have you noticed that your attention wanders so fast when trying to sink into a good book that you had to put it down as soon as you started?  You’ve chosen a topic you want to read about, a topic you want to learn and educate yourself on, or a novel you heard about and wondered what the hype was about, but the book sits on your nightstand for weeks on end, if not months, only collecting dust.  

I am glad you are reading my blog posts and would love you to come back, but I challenge you to make a goal to read a book a month and then two books a month, if you are not a reader, or an avid reader.  I know people read at different speeds and some have learning disabilities that make this highly difficult.  I know I am a slow reader myself.  I have fallen out of good habits here and there, trade one habit for another, but deep reading should be up there with diet and exercise.  

In the past, reading a book for pleasure was the norm to expand one’s knowledge.  Today, social media and news online allows me to devour a wealth of information in passing, but that’s it.  It’s fleeting and not ingraining.  What’s noticeable, however, is my loss for time.  Before I know it, I have spent hours noodling through articles on the internet and have not truly educated myself on anything, just the news of the day, and the occasional viral videos of pandas and baby goats (which tickle me, by the way).  

Most of what’s written online are also wrought with spelling and grammatical errors, and it’s no wonder that the current president of these United States cannot spell, let alone do some real deep reading either.  But politics aside, not only is good reading good for our society, but it is good for your general well-being.  As a writer and teacher, I often hear students tell me that they hate reading.  Especially in this digital age, I know why.  

In my most recent blog posts I have posted various books for my readers to consider on the topic at hand because I want learning and inspiration to continue long after you have read my short blog posts.  Some of you may ask what deep reading has to do with art or music or writing.  Reading books at length about these topics has everything to do with it!  If you were to take a Master of Fine Arts whether in creative writing, visual arts, music or theater in college, you will be doing a lot of reading and a lot of doing. You will also be learning from artists of the past, comparing styles and techniques, learning from the classics and the contemporaries.  A well-rounded education for artists and writers is important to establish your voice and style and your vision.

A well-rounded reading diet about various topics for the average person is ideal. It doesn’t matter if you buy actual books or an e-book and if you must, an audio book. Your mind will be engaged in mindfulness and you will come away with it full.  

Here are the benefits of regular reading:

1) Discover/improve yourself
2) Improve society/world
3) Reflecting what you read improves memory
4) Makes you more attractive 
5) Can make you a better communicator

So, read like you’re in college and read for your personal pleasure.  This is the deep reading I speak of.  Make the time to exercise your mind.  Most of all, read and be happy!

Once you’ve made a habit of reading on a regular basis, here’s some journals to keep track and reflect on the books you’ve read:

"The What I Read journal is ideal for jotting down thoughts and keeping track of all the books you’ve read and can’t wait to start. It’s great for keeping checklists, taking notes, and deciding what to read next, and it’s the perfect size to take with you anywhere."

"With checklists of award-winning novels and recommended reading for every genre (spy novels, romance, sci-fi, humor), this classic reading journal also includes plenty of pages for keeping track of all the books you've read and want to consume next."

"The ultimate journal and resource for book and list lovers, My Bibliofile includes checklists of recommended reading, activities, and entry pages for recording all of the books you've read and making note of the books you want to read. Recommended reading lists from a variety of reputable sources (Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker, and National Book Award winners, Oprah's Book Club picks, Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, BBC's Best Novels, etc.), as well as lists of favorite titles for various genres (horror, sci-fi, detective fiction, international classics, etc.) mean you'll never have to wonder "What should I read next?""


Patrick King said…
I find your blog post for me today, ironic. Just this afternoon I was reading Norman Mailer's The Spooky Art: Thoughts On Writing. In it he says: "The ideal, and as you get older you do try to get closer to the ideal, is to write only what interests you. It will prove of interest to others or it won't but if you try to steer your way into success, you shouldn't be a serious writer. Rather, you will do well to study the tricks of consistent best-sellers authors while being certain to stay away from anything that's well written. Reading good books could poison your satisfaction at having pulled off a bestseller. I don't think Jackie Susann went to bed with Rainer Maria Rilke on her night table."

Of course I don't entirely agree with him. I would not be surprised to learn that Stephen King read Rilke and I'm sure Ian Fleming did.
Unknown said…
I think it's funny that I stumbled across this blog while clicking through all the pages because I have been meaning to read more and this inspired me so much! As a college student, it's really hard to find the motivation to read after you've been reading textbooks all week but a part of me really wants to read for pleasure like I used to. I read The Lord Of The Rings in a week when I was 12 so it's not an inability, simply a disinterest.
Unknown said…
I absolutely loved reading this post! It was thoughtful and also actually gave real information. I have been meaning to read more and this is kind of motivation for me! Thank you!

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