Reading is NOT a Golden Ticket (Silver Bullet?) to Being a Better Person and More Reading Links
I’m fundamentally contrarian. I’m also currently obsessed in noticing when people are promoting something as a golden ticket or silver bullet or whatever. Which I think often involves using a correlation-causation fallacy. One of these is reading makes a person better.
A lot of people who read a lot like to label themselves and set themselves apart, or as Katherine Grimm Bowers puts it, “deifying reading” (go read her post, it expresses much of what I’m trying to say). Reading is privilege, it should be a right, not a hobby, everyone should be able to read a lot and help themselves and enjoy good literature. It is true that reading a lot CAN make you a better person as well as a more intelligent person, but it doesn’t necessarily do so (Stalin met this criterion after all!).
It DOES matter what you read. If a person is reading poor quality writing regularly, how are does that benefit his/her mind?
It does matter how you read. I barely skimmed the surface of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well (I’ve got to buy this and read and reread, she so eloquently expands on this subject of books and how we actually need to use them in order to use them well), and she mentions the importance of reading to understand NOT impose our own opinions onto another person’s words.
We have to stop reading sometimes and apply the things we’ve read or even just live our lives. I’ve read/heard lots self-help people mention how many forget that reading can’t be substituted for doing. (Yes, I definitely have this problem). If one doesn’t apply anything one learns in living a life, what was the point? Reading is supposed to HELP us in life, not distract us from life.
BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. Awesome video on bookstores around the world and reading.
A Realization and A Revelation. What draws you to certain books and characters? What pushes you away?
Dethroning Books. I love books but being contrary, I dislike when people act like books are a golden ticket to some state or attribute (actually, I dislike when people make anything, cough, college, cough, a golden ticket) such as erudition, intelligence, etc.
A section towards the end of this podcast episode discusses the effects of reading so much you have no time for development and application.
What To Do If You Hate Reading. These tips will probably work for those in a reading slump or burnout as well. I find that I can relate to a lot of these types of suggestions.
I really hate when people act pretentious because they read a certain kind of thing. Reading doesn’t make you a better person. I love the concept of reading with a purpose.
Well, I can probably fall in that category, I do think there are objectively good and objectively bad stories, prose, etc even while much of reading is subjective. And I think there is objectively good and bad way for reading (again, while reading is subjective), which is why reading isn’t a silver bullet/golden ticket.
I hate when people act superior to people who don’t read – although I’ve been guilty of thinking like that. It’s easy to say when you’ve been brought up around people who read and always had books around you. I like to think reading has helped to make me a better person though – or at least more empathetic, because you’re getting into other people’s heads and seeing the world from different character’s points of view all the time.
I’m sure it can help people be more empathetic, be a better person, etc., my issue is when people assume it just automatically does, I think it involves the person and the book, it’s not a passive thing. And I don’t think reading=decent person. I think that is what is thrown around a lot. I as a reader, of course think reading is excellent, I just like being devil’s advocate/straight up contrary a lot, lol.