How my reading has changed over time
I believe that we all have the one thing that keeps us afloat. It may be love, travelling, friendship, faith, money or an addiction to something. It’s my life greatest assumption because, how else would somebody live through this scary world without something to hold on to?
Mine is reading. I started reading way back when I was a child in primary school. I mostly read newspapers and magazines from my mother’s collection. Occasionally, I would read novels. I love to joke that my mother had more books than clothes. That woman read a lot. We’d call her a witchdoctor because she had answers to everything. If you called my mum and told her you had a stomachache, she’d recommend soaking clean potato peels and drinking the water. Believe men, she’d read that from one of her books. She especially loved and had a lot of books on health and nutrition.
I didn’t read a lot in high school. That’s the point in my I’d describe as having a ‘reading block.’ I wouldn’t say I hated reading literature, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I actually have just one memory of reading a pacesetter whose title I can’t remember. I was literally on a literature dry spell. And because it always feels better when we blame something or someone, I’d blame the school system for making learning feel like a punishment.
Then uni came! This is where it hit me that I am an introvert. I didn’t have any real friends in uni, didn’t get caught up in the partying system because ‘too many people!’ That’s where books came in. This is where my conscious reading culture started. I read a lot of African literature novels. I was the queen of African lit I dare say. I didn’t have a reading structure since I was mostly just looking for entertainment. African literature is hilarious! Also, the fact that I’d connect with the authors’ stories of climbing trees, chasing dogs in the village, stories of their savage African mothers was pure bliss to me. Most of my weekends were spent in bed with a book in hand trying to look for the most comfortable reading position. I’d read so much and enjoyed so much of my solitude that my neighbour would often knock on my door on Sunday evening just to check whether I was still alive. This habit of locking myself in my uni bedsitter and reading throughout the weekend became normal for me; some sort of identity. As long as a novel had good reviews online and was trending, I read it. That was my way of deciding what to read. I learnt a lot, to say the least, and it gave me so much peace and confidence in myself that I can’t even begin to explain in this post.
Stage 2-Note taking and internalizing
After uni, my reading habit changed. Mostly because I was exposed to other serious bookies. I started reading books that had a lot to do with my work; teaching, facilitating, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, communication etc. This stuff wasn’t enjoyable, but I had to read it because being an average performer at work or having just a little knowledge wasn’t tolerated. I didn’t struggle much to read this stuff either way because I had already cultivated a reading culture. Still, I always spared some time to read my novels. This is also the time I found it necessary to take notes when reading for future reference. This slowed down my reading but you gotta do what you gotta do! Around this time, I also learnt about the importance of taking time to think about what I read. This was a little hard and unfamiliar at first. Like I literally had to take time after each book to think about the concepts and how they fit into my personal life and work and how to apply the concepts. That was a tough one as I was mostly used to investing my energy in the number of books I read per year. Growth! Sigh… It was a difficult affair and one that calls for some patience. This is also the time that I learnt that ‘knowledge without application is useless’ C’mon! What about reading just for pure entertainment? This growing up is difficult.
Stage 3-Attacking my weak areas
I’m currently in stage three of my reading culture which involves reading books on areas of my life I want to change or improve. The two areas that I’m currently working on are financial literacy and improving my writing. Here is a list of books that I have read so far on the topic on Financial Literacy;
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Other books that have been highly recommended and are on my reading list;
Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Unshakeable by Toni Robbins
Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
Money: Master The Game by Toni Robbins
The 5 Lessons A Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth by Richard Paul Evans
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
The $1000 Project by Canna Campbell
The One Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
Nice Girls Don’t get Rich by Lois P Frankel
On improving my writing, I am currently reading two books;
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
On Writing by Stephen King
I’m on the lookout for more books on how to improve the art. So far I have learnt that the main lesson is to ‘Read a lot. Write a lot. Repeat.’
I still employ the tips learnt in stage two here which involves taking notes as I read and taking time to think about what I read and how to practically incorporate the lessons in my day to day life.
Everything you feed in your life grows; whether it’s your pet, addictions or habits, you get better at what you pay attention to. My reading has definitely grown and transformed over the years but one thing still stands; that books are a form of portable happiness.