Enrich Your Active Reading Life!

I picked this article up from Michael Masterson’s Early to Rise newsletter. (Masterson has written a few books, none of which I have read–yet–but I get his newsletter delivered to my mailbox every morning, and so far that’s a decision I’ve been happy with.)  I won’t say that it’s applicable to absolutely everyone, but he writes about an approach to reading that makes a ton of sense to me. Personally, I’ve long been in the habit of just plugging book titles and authors into my Amazon.com wish list as soon as I come across them . . . but until my monthly income gets a little higher there’s no way to keep up with the flood of stuff I’d like to buy if I had the cash for it. Luckily, Amazon.com lets people buy used books from other folks, which saves a lot of cash, and a library card handles a few other wants & needs, so it’s not an impossible situation, merely an inconvenient one.

One thing to be aware of: Masterson is ultimately a salesman, and his newsletter is filled with sales tips. I actually think his article reads like a sales pitch . . . and, I suppose it is, in a way. He’s pushing reading to people. I don’t mind the technique because Iagree with the aim. Other might, but, well . . . think about this. Pushing reading is something that too few parents a teachers do, so we librarians had better be involved somehow with the process of introducing folks who are not in the habit of reading for fun or enrichment. The ugly truth is that if we don’t, we’re putting ourselves out of business. And let’s face it: we’ll be putting the communities our libraries serve out of business, too. Just my humble opinion, mind you.

Now, for a bit of disclosure: I actually e-mailed Masterson to get his permission to post the article here, and my mail was returned "Undeliverable" by the server. I tried a second time and got the same result. I like to think this is a temporary situation between Masterson and his ISP, so I’m going to keep trying. And if for some reason I can’t, and he sees this article here and tells me to take it down, I will. Having said that, here’s the article.

A Great Way

to Recharge Your Reading Habits – and Enjoy the Benefits of a "Well-Read Life"

by Michael Masterson

Do you ever wish you had more time to read? Do you sometimes wish you had a better knowledge of science? Of geography? Of economics?

Would you like to find some extra reading time and use it to …

·                                 —Make more money?

·                                 —Have more fun?

·                                 —Understand more about the world?

I used to feel that way. But my busy life crowded out the extra time. If I could find 15 minutes to read every day (usually before falling asleep), I was lucky.

I don’t feel that way now. These days, I spend at least two hours a day reading. I read three daily newspapers, about a dozen weekly or monthly magazines, numerous periodicals and books. I love books – fiction for my pleasure and non-fiction for my edification.

Reading

has made me a better boss, a smarter parent, a more understanding spouse, and a much more successful businessperson. Right now, as I write this, I’m in the middle of the following books:

·                                 —Coatzee’s "In the Heart of the Country"

·                                 —Perkins’ "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"

·                                 —Joel Osteen’s "Your Best Life Now"

·                                 —Harold Bloom’s "Where Shall Wisdom Be Found"

·                                — "A Benjamin Franklin Reader" by Walter Isaacson

From each of these books I’ll take something – a productivity tip here, an interesting fact there; a good story here, and a quotable quote there. I read each at the pace it deserves; some slowly, some quickly. And I have taught myself to stop reading a particular book the moment I decide there is little or no benefit in continuing.

Reading

has always been an important part of my success and happiness. I am not unusual in that regard. Most of the most accomplished men and women of our time credit a good part of their success to reading.

My reading took a step up about a year ago when I read a manuscript copy of a book that’s just been released called "The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life." It was written by Steve Leveen, the president and CEO of Levenger Inc., the well-known catalog company.

You should get yourself a copy of it. Not only will you thoroughly enjoy Steve’s story – how he found his own "well-read" life – but you’ll be motivated and informed about starting one of your own.

An example:

"When my wife, Lori, and I founded Levenger and started selling ‘tools for serious readers,’ our customers graciously purchased our reading lights, bookcases, and notebooks. Yet there was one repeated request we could not fulfill. Again and again customers said to us, ‘What I need is more time to read. I just wish you could give me that.’

"As a merchant, I found it frustrating to hear customers express such a deep desire and not be able to satisfy it.

"But then I met a fellow who made it his hobby to ask people about their favorite books in order to build his own ideal reading list. I learned about people who fill their libraries with hundreds of carefully chosen books they would like to read. I discovered readers who read lots of books by listening to them. I encountered people who praised their reading groups for how much more they gained from books shared this way.

"Other readers described how they retained more from their books if they wrote in the margins or made summaries in notebooks. Still others became born-again readers due to some signal event (often a personal setback) and expressed how grateful they were for their rebirth.

"I began to wonder if I should collect these techniques and stories to share with our customers. If I couldn’t literally give them more time, perhaps I could give them tools for getting more books into the time they had."

And that’s exactly what Steve did with this very well written 120-page gem of a book. "The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life" is a leisurely read (you can do it in a single sitting) that is chock full of amusing anecdotes, useful reading techniques, and simple wisdom that will please you immediately and reward you long afterward.

I’m reading it for the second time now and it’s better than the first read – which was very good. There are not too many experiences in life you can say that about.

Get your copy of "The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life" by going to Booksense.com or Amazon.com.

About Jon Frater

A gaming industry stalwart dating back to the 1980s, Jonathan Frater is the co-author of roleplaying game books Robotech: Return of the Masters, and Robotech Adventures: Lancer's Rockers, both for Palladium Books. Jonathan also wrote a column on writing and game design called The Tome in Gateways magazine. He's currently a librarian at Metropolitan College of New York. Article 9, the first in his ambitious Blockade Trilogy, is Jonathan's first full-length novel.

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