A comment on When Do You Make Time to Think? got me thinking about books. I am a big, big reader. On vacation, I can easily read two, sometimes three books a day. Not on vacation, I only read a couple of books a week. I skim much of the non-fiction, so maybe I actually “read” more books that two a week.
I believe in abundance when reading (as opposed to scarcity). I used to have a rule: I must finish every book I start. I have modified that rule to be: I can finish this book if I remain interested in it or in the topic. That rule transformation created an abundance mindset for my reading.
That transformation and abundance mindset has freed me to try many more books.
I read all manner of fiction. I prefer romantic suspense (contemporary or historical), thriller, and action/adventure. Oh, and urban fantasy and steampunk. I also like romantic comedy, mysteries of all kinds, paranormal, and straight romance.
I used to read all kinds of science fiction. For me, too much of it now is dystopian or horror. Not my cup of tea. I still like science fiction, but it depends on the story.
I might have hit all genres by now. Did I say I like to read?
I happen to buy books. My daughters tend to use the library. Buy or rent, I hope you read, too.
When I find a writer I like, I binge on their series. Some writers write in several genres, and only one series is to my taste. That’s fine. I buy the first book in the series, decide if I like it, and buy the rest of the series. If I don’t like it, I’ve only “invested” in one book. That allows me to use the abundance mentality for my reading.
When I changed my rule about book finishing, I became freer to experiment more in my reading. That reading experimentation led me to experiments with my thinking. I had a chance to ask more “what if” questions. The wider I read, the more ideas I get to consider. It doesn’t matter if I read fiction or non-fiction. I still gather a ton of ideas.
Even better, the ideas collide in my brain, creating more diffused learning.
In non-fiction, I learn by practicing. Yes, I do the homework in non-fiction books. (Why do you think I include “Now Try This” in my books??) I realize I might be unique for doing the homework. That’s okay.
I also learn in my fiction reading. I learn how another writer has written something that resonated with me. Or, that the topic resonated—or didn’t. I learn who I want to use as a model for my writing.
I’m not talking about copying or any form of plagiarism. I am talking about how the writer told the story or explained the idea. Not the specific form, but the how.
I don’t have to enjoy every single book, even a well-known bestseller. I don’t make myself finish books any longer. I do read for enjoyment in all genres, fiction and non-fiction. That enjoyment allows me to learn in any number of ways.
I think of this learning as diffused thinking. I’m learning without focusing on the learning. That makes my reading even more enjoyable. And, I gain the benefit of diffused thinking and learning.
That is the question this week: Do you have rules for reading?