Book Reading: Aversion to Predilection


Reading is used to be my aversion and the most avoidable thing to do for circumventing my unavailing leisure time; at least till I reached my campus life. When at a particular time, I ever was involved in a circle fierce discussion and felt just utterly speechless and refrained to talk. Being completely mute and inanimate to respond, was not because I didn’t want to, but because to be honest I didn’t have any questions to ask, any answers to talk and even any opinions to fuel the blaze of discussion.

I did understand the topic but my understanding was just in fact too banal and hackneyed. Almost everybody perhaps knew what I knew, it was too superficial and even if I said it, it would be unable to create frictions in the collision of discussion’s arguments. One self-conclusion that I could grasp: I was lacking of reading books.

Subsequent to it, I begun to force my inner will to read that so-boring-thing called books. Opening the cover then reading first to second page always ended myself to sleep. But doing that over and over again, day to day, while my desire was still high, I just realized that I caught many new informations that I didn’t know before from that book. It started to enlighten my mind and evolved to be my incipient addiction to fill my leisure time. Getting used to read the book, I was no longer see the world in the same way.

Book is an enormous window of the world, thereby It helps us witnessing world’s occurrence to discover new things and knowledge we don’t even know or hear before. It derives the value from the past of human history, delineates complex quotidian events of the present and even foresees the future of the mankind. From book we could also learn from other people past and experience, to absorb and apply those lessons in our current situation. We are also able to understand many prodigy writers’ way of thinking and scarcely fathom the result of dozen intricate researches which perhaps took decades to finish it.

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One of my resolutions this year is to finish 48 books BUT with deep and comprehensive understanding. Reading fast but without capturing the core value of the books is worse than not reading at all. The indulgence of reading is precisely supposed to lie on the digesting process of information that we are curious to know about. When the questioning moment occurs and we are eagerly belligerent to find the answers whatever it takes, that is the highest satisfaction of reading itself. So, that 48 number is not absolute. I won’t force myself for it. I prefer to read maybe only 12 books in the end of the year but with such deep understanding of the grasped information rather than brutally rapid read the contents.

Furthermore, Reading books are also able to improve our problem solving skill by broadening our point of view while looking at the problem. I just realized this morning when there was my friend asking about something related to the world’s problems that we are facing right now. His question was somehow related to the book that I just finished reading “Gun, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamonds”, the book I am currently reading “Muqaddimah by Ibnu Khaldun”, and some other historical books that I read in the past “History of the Caliphs by Al-Suyuthi” and “Imperium III by Eko Laksono.” Those books are telling us the history of the world and how the rise and fall of human civilization. With some NEW knowledge about what happened in the past of human history, I could perceive the problems from different and new perspectives, linked the past to the present, thus hypothetically answered my friend’s question. It was not exactly 100% correct but at least I could penetrate the problems from various of approaches.

In order to intensify the excitement, I have four suggestions to increase the jubilance of reading. First, always rise the questions before you decide to read a book. You must have high curiosity to find the final goal about what new information you want to know after you finish the book. Therefore in the recent years, instead of going to the discounted side in the bookstore/event and randomly buying some “mediocre” books, I prefer to save some money to buy “most curious” ones despite of expensive.

Second -I just got this from Coursera “Learning how to learn”- try to understand the big picture of the book first before chunking the details of it. So, it’s better for us to skim what chapter I title, chapter II headline, and so on or try to understand the table of contents to hawk-see the big picture of the book. It helps us to prevent getting bogged down by petty details before knowing the whole concept of the book contents.

Third -it’s same, still from the Coursera- do recall and concept mapping when you are in the midst of reading. Recall means that you conceive the understanding of new information that you got from the book in your brain. I usually use “Instagram Story” feature to help highlighting core information from the book and rephrase it with my own words with additional self-thinking as well as sharing it to my IG followers. Or you can also use concept mapping in the paper to draw the connection between the points if it is too arduous to understand.

Recalling “Guns, Germs & Steel” book in IG Story :p

Fourth, try to combine some “form” of the books. Nowadays, personally I differentiate books in 4 types: paper book, digital book, audio book and short book. I use them according to the needs. Paper book I usually read it for Bahasa Indonesia and digital book for import English books. I use and truly recommend kindle paperwhite, the most affordable and cool e-reader. It’s light weight; using e-ink which not damages eyes so it’s exactly similar to reading paperbook; has LED light; less distractions; and weeks durable battery. Audio book is for uncomplicated content books with not so many pages. The latest I listen audiobook is “Art of War by Sun Tzu.” Last but not least is short book, for some second tier ones. I have many books to read but don’t have much time, so I prefer to read the resume or watch the conclusion on youtube. One of the channels I recommend is “fightmediocrity”, just search it in youtube and you’ll be able to read hundred pages book in some minutes. It also could be used to recall what we have already grasp from three other forms of the book.

There are actually many other methods to make efficient ways of reading, such as using Pomodoro technique, highlighting, flowcharting, or even just whatever, I ONLY want to read and enjoy my brain diving deep into the new world of writers, it also works. Somehow you will then paradoxically realize you learn new information out of it. Trust me. :)

In the end, reading books is one of the methods of learning. Proudly I can say, it’s used to be my aversion then converting to be my predilection right now. But, same way like learning, the more we learn the more we feel so small of God existence, that His universe of knowledge is so immensely tremendous. Therefore we need to set our intention to become closer to Him.

Then don’t forget to keep humble and down to the earth. Like what paddy rice metaphor taught us, as they mature, and the grains and the spikelets get heavier, the panicles seem to nod or bow down. The more we get better educated, the more we know new things and become more well-off, the more we are supposed to be humble and be magnanimous to the others.[]

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