“Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers” was the advice an old mentor, Charlie Bell, gave me years ago. It’s a bit of a cliche statement, I suppose – but if it is, that’s only because it rings of truth. I’ve always been a reader, and a voracious one at that. I remember distinctly the look of shock on the new librarian’s face when she told me, at age 10, that I’d checked out over a thousand books from the library – and the look of amusement from the other librarian, who’d seen me dutifully coming in and out of that branch since I was four.
That pattern of eagerly reading everything I could get my hands on continued throughout my teenage years, but at some point – I’m not sure when – I stopped reading books at the breakneck pace I used to. A couple weeks ago, I realized (with no small amount of horror) that I’d only read six books cover-to-cover in all of last year. That’s one every two months – this from a guy who used to average a book a day! In its place were thousands of blog posts, news snippets, forums, and discussion threads.
What’s interesting is how I see myself having changed during this time. It could be a result of this, or something else entirely – correlation does not equal causation, after all – but I honestly don’t feel as smart or as sharp as I did. I don’t feel like I’m sharpening myself as much as I was before. It appears there is some loosely scientific evidence to back this idea up – but regardless of what caused it, I do miss reading as much as I used to. That said, I’m making it a goal to read actual books significantly more than I have been, lately – I’ve gotten two down already this year, and I’m about halfway through a third right now – “A Feast for Crows,” by George RR Martin. Up next are A Dance With Dragons and then the Hunger Games series, but I’m open to suggestions as to what to read next – fiction or non, just so long as it’s a book and not a blog. So, what say you, my readers?
I’ll close with a video of a vaguely on-topic poem that I enjoyed.