We’re all readers here, but the kind of genres and topics we enjoy reading and learning more about can be vastly different. Some of us may enjoy poetry, fiction, and history books, while others may opt for news articles and practical advice online or in magazines and newspapers. Wherever you are on that spectrum, we’re sure we can all agree that reading is a joyful and enriching experience, and becoming a better reader also means being more engaged with the surrounding world and more in touch with ourselves.
But how can we accomplish that goal? Well, let’s start with these 6 invaluable pieces of advice from famous readers in history, as they will most certainly go a long way!
1. Only you decide what to read and what to avoid
This very quote from Roosevelt's autobiography reflects the practical intelligence and wisdom for which the renowned American president is so well-known. The message of these words is simple and sensible: it is you who will benefit from and should enjoy the process of reading, and so it is also your freedom to choose what kinds of books to read and what topics to choose. An avid reader from his early childhood, Roosevelt was always stuck by the rule to read for at least a few minutes every day - a rule we should all definitely adopt, too!
2. Get acquainted with the classics
Albert Einstein is certainly one of the most forward-thinking minds of the 20th century, the genius who single-handedly invented modern physics and without whom many of the modern technologies we use today (like GPS or laser eye surgery) would be impossible. But even with a lifelong focus on the future of technology and physics, Einstein always said that it's crucial to look back at the past and explore the writings of our ancestors. The great scientist firmly believed that without the wisdom of the past, people fall victim to the prejudices of the present and become nearsighted. Thus, to gain more perspective, go back to the basics, and explore the classics.
3. Reading the same book several times is a must
Continuing and building up the previous piece of advice is Lucius Annaeus Seneca (known as Seneca the Younger), a Roman Stoic philosopher, who stood by the thought that you have to re-read books over and over to really absorb and understand the wisdom imparted into them by their authors. The philosopher further specified that it's better to limit yourself to a specific genre or group of like-minded authors at a time to get the most out of it, otherwise the message and intentions of the readings will slip away from you, being no more than a mere distraction from reality.
4. Don't shy away from second-hand books!
If the quote we have selected puzzles you, let us set the context for it first, and you'll soon understand what it intends to teach. These words are from Woolf's essay titled “Street Haunting”, where she lays out the merits of second-hand book shopping. Here, Woolf intends to say that a street market full of books is like a treasure chest full of pleasant surprises, unexpected finds that you would never have intentionally selected. We must point out that the famous writer is, of course, right, as nothing warms the heart more than a surprise find!
5. Reading of any kind will benefit your mind
It is easy to detect a hint of judgment in this quote from the 18th-century writer and women's rights advocate, but we must understand that, at the time, gossip magazines didn't exist and reading fictional novels was considered frivolous, which is exactly the kind of reading the writer refers to here. Wollstonecraft was no exception to the rule, reserving the "serious" genres to history and philosophy books only. In spite of her initial criticism, however, she remains optimistic and concludes that reading any kind of material, irrespective of the genre or topic, is an enriching and mentally-stimulating experience.
6. What you read in your leisure time reveals your true nature
This quote, too, is a perfect reflection of Oscar Wilde's rebellious spirit we all cannot help but admire! If you have ever been told that the kind of books or articles you read are too simplistic or not worthy of your time, even though you really enjoy them, brush away those critical remarks. After all, your reading preferences are a reflection of your own personality and interests, and toxic comments that intend to prescribe certain preferences are only there to waste your time. As the famous writer also once wrote, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all”. And we hope you enjoyed and learned something useful from this article!
Share this article with those who love reading!