Most students argue that they’ve got too much to read with so little time with so little to enjoy. Of course, academic reading is a must, a necessary burden that’s neither too painful nor too enjoyable.
But reading, of any kind, is useful; helpful, to say the least. Get your hands on all kinds of books. Even that dubious self-help will do. Fill your brain with information. You’re young and that’s good. You’re young but you’re mostly dumb and broke to get your hands on a good book so find time for your library (and don’t always sleep!) or visit thrift shops. If you don’t know what to pick then just run your hand across the spines. You’ll know then what to take.
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For most people, start with fiction. Read fiction, the classics and contemporary; read them to enlarge your imagination, to become better at getting along with people. Fiction teaches you that all people and places are possibilities waiting to happen only if you let yourself be carried along in the great adventure that is life.
Do not be tied to a single author, neither allow yourself to be limited by the dictates of countless lists made by whoever. You have to read a lot so you’ll know what’s good and what’s not. If you never try, you’ll never know.
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Read your non-fiction. I know they’re a drag. Some are terse, dry. But make no mistake, they’ll temper your imagination by bringing in the concreteness of life. Critical thinking is a must and concepts are helpful and useful if you know them by name. So acquaint yourself with sexism, reductionism, commodification, and objectification. Do not shy away from cognitive dissonance, egotism, and fatal attraction.
Don’t be pressured to remember everything. Although the pleasures of reading include familiarity and recall, it does not mean you’re a lesser reader if you can’t remember names, dates, or instances of sex and damnation.
To help you remember, write them down: that favorite quote, that quirky name, that steamy act, or that beautiful sunset. Write them down by pen, pencil, or keyboard. What the hand sets down, the mind remembers.
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Reading teaches you patience and trains your focus. It calms your mind and soothes the heart. Read in all formats and styles, whether it be in print or on screen. What matters is to start now if you haven’t. And if you already did, then you know the drill: read, read, read!
Dom writes for pay by day and writes for passion by night. He is a Japan major at the University of the Philippines. He’s fond of ramen and anime but not of nice people.