Read Too Much?
Is it possible to miss out on life by reading too much?
I suppose it is. Anything can become too much, subtracting from our life instead of adding to it. Even reading.
But most people aren’t in danger of reading too much. If anything, we read too little.
That’s why it’s important to get the most out of what we do read. To read mindfully. Artfully. Joyfully, like a child.
The real danger is reading absent-mindedly, not getting enough from what we read.
We just aren’t paying attention.
The Art of Mindful Reading
Ella Berthoud has a plan for that. She is a bibliotherapist. She prescribes fiction books as therapy to her clients (yes, that’s really a thing). Her new book, The Art of Mindful Reading, can help us be our own bibliotherapists, getting more out of our reading.
“As a bibliotherapist, I believe that every novel you read shapes the person that you are, speaking to you on a deep, unconscious level, and altering your very nature with the ideas that it shows you.”
She points out that reading might help you live longer—it slows your heart rate and produces a stress-reducing meditative state in your brain.
But this book isn’t just about the effects of reading on the brain; it’s also a how-to on enjoying reading more, by being more mindful. She gives advice on how to lose yourself in a book. She encourages exercises on discovering a new awareness of reading, depending on whether you’re an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic reader.
For poetry lovers (alas, I’m not much of an aficionado), she also includes a section on reading poetry mindfully. (Which makes me want to actually go read some poetry.)
She encourages her readers to create a reading nook, to learn passages by heart, and how to make reading a daily habit.
We often read for different reasons—knowledge, wisdom, emotional intelligence, excitement, escapism,catharsis—and that’s why it matters what we read, but it’s also why it matters how we read. This book addresses both.
Whether you consider yourself an avid reader or not, you’ll likely read advice you can benefit from in Berthoud’s book.
Pay attention to what you’re reading.
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Why do you read? For pleasure, for information, for help? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book
- 5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – September 2019
- I Hope He Doesn’t Offend Y’all