When I first saw this book arrive at the store, I found myself feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I was mesmerized by its beautiful cover. Perhaps the photograph doesn't do it justice, but it's a gorgeously textured hardcover book that simply demands you take it home. On the other hand, I felt a bit too proud of my vast reading history and asked myself why I should read a book about this wonderful habit that I have built and cultivated over the years. I read, a lot - so did I really want to read a book about how to read? However, I am so absolutely glad that I caved in and decided to indulge in this book.
This book is a part of a larger series from The Leaping Hare Press. Some of the other titles in this series include The Art of - Singing, Cycling, Baking, Gardening, and many more. All of 140 pages, this book brings to light so many techniques to engage with and enjoy the experience of reading. Written in very simple language by author Ella Berthoud (she is a Bibliotherapist!) her love of all things books and reading is definitely dripping from every page in this book.
There were times in the book though, that I felt quite disconnected with the content - especially when I found the ideas different from my own experiences (for instance, she talks a lot about reading as you did in your childhood, but I did not grow up with books around me) or if they were too unrealistic (like building a tree house and reading there, which I definitely do not have access to). But more often than not, I was left nodding or smiling at the suggestions in the book.
Here are some of my favourite things from the book:
- DEAR Time - It literally stands for Drop Everything And Read time. She mentions that there are some schools where DEAR time is allocated and all the children simply drop everything they are doing and just read for twenty minutes. I simply LOVE this idea. If I could, I would make it mandatory in schools globally! I could see this idea also extend beyond schools to workplaces and at homes, and I encourage you to implement it into your lives.
- Making reading a daily habit - I know that many of us have our times of the day that we like to read, for me, it has always been before bed. The way the author threw suggestions about reading in the morning, reading at breakfast, reading at lunch, and more, got me trying something different and now I find myself reading in the mornings with my first cup of coffee; even if it is just a page or two. It gives me great energy to start the day!
- Reading and peace - Research has shown that even just six minutes of reading can de-stress us, much more than listening to music or walking. Reading slows down the heart rate and puts the mind in a meditative state (excluding reading of current events!). Apparently long-term readers of fiction, on average, live two years longer than non-readers. It rang true and feels true and not like I needed another reason, but now I also have science to back this fulfilling habit of mine.
I've really enjoyed this book and it brought me a deeper perspective into what I enjoy doing everyday. I hope you do pick it up, perhaps you might find a few things that resonate with you too!
It's available at The Moon: https://www.themoon.com.sg/products/the-art-of-mindful-reading