The most challenging part of reading is feeling as though everyone already doing it has something that you don’t. “Readers,” as they appear, are built to sit and pay attention for hours on end, utterly indifferent to distraction, and naturally gifted with the skills of the task. It is easy for one outside of this select few to feel their books are better kept for the aesthetic value they bring to a home.
It is intimidation that leaves books unread, and individuals ignorant of the magic they offer. In a modern, overeducated environment like the one we find ourselves in today, the biggest fear among non-starters stems from the idea that there is one objective “way” of doing things, and that unless one is privy to this “way,” they will not be doing the thing correctly, and therefore, are better off not doing the thing at all. Imagine if this standard was applied to the parts of society that create what we see today as our “culture.” Imagine if people took the same stance on sports, fashion, and finance. Like most ventures, there is a way forward, and that way is simplicity.
The following call to action will sound silly, as most baby steps are, but will likely, if followed, upgrade your faculties for reading tremendously over time: find a book on your shelf, and read ten pages per day until it’s finished. Do not worry about understanding. Do not take any notes. Do not read or watch any supplementary material.
This advice may seem like you are being asked to jump without a parachute. It is. What you are not accounting for, though, is the fact that there are parts of your brain built-in for this exact purpose. It may feel like you do not understand what you’re reading, but you will find that over the course of the text your brain has done the work for you and that you are doing what you thought you couldn’t — reading, understanding, and even enjoying a written text.
Not only is this strategy effective, but it can be done in no time at all. Ten pages per day, every day, and you will feel like you’re in the club, and that you’re no longer ignorant to the magic of some great secret. This strategy will take less than fifteen minutes of your time, and will greatly build your ability to understand and enjoy written text.
Today, there is a great demand to find and replace difficult tasks with easier, more efficient ones. This is a worthy pursuit. However, there are modes and subtleties to the written word that are lost in translation when a text is adapted to audio. These things, if destroyed for modernity, will be lost with time which will be a great detriment to our Posterity.
Do not be afraid. People far less intelligent than you have read and understood texts, large and small, and have built the muscle necessary to enjoy them. It is possible, ten pages at a time.