The Art of Proper Reading

Reading is a skill most of us take for granted. We either read to learn or read for pleasure. But do we really know how to differentiate the two? Or do we just read through it all without truly understanding?

Monday, October 14, 2013 | 1:22 pm

When we read, we either read for information (serious reading) or read to pass the time (bed reading). Reading for information means we hope to improve our minds from it, while reading to pass the time is a means to keep us entertained.

Serious reading and bed reading are two sides of the same coin. When we do some serious reading, we expand our mind and knowledge while enriching the soul. It is pleasurable, yet confined in a rigid discipline that’s hard to enjoy for long stretches.

Bed reading, on the other hand, is pure pleasure. We don’t care if it contributes less towards the stretching of our mind or enriching of our souls, we get entertained and that’s what’s important.

Problem is do we really spend time to understand it all? Or do we just consume everything as quickly as possible? These days, unfortunately, it seems we treat serious literature as bed reading material, while we take bed reading material seriously.

It’s like watching documentaries for fun, while taking the latest celebrity gossip seriously. It’s not healthy.

In this age where celebrity gossip, trashy romance novels, and poorly-written novellas made into movies rule the literary world, one should take a step back and start reading books that matter.

Some reading suggestions:

Across Five Aprils

by Irene Hunt

From the Newberry Award Winning author of ‘Up A Road Slowly,’ ‘Across Five Aprils’ tells the unforgettable story of Jethro Creighton, a boy who comes of age during the turbulent years of the Civil War.

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Erich Maria Remarque

Paul Bäumer enlists his classmates to join the German Army, and with youthful exuberance, they become soldiers. However, under the first bombardment in the trenches, they break into pieces. As the war continues year after year, Paul holds himself to a vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other. That is, if he can come out of the war alive.

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

A story of three ordinary women, Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny, as they take one extraordinary step, coming together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. Why? Because they are tired of the lines that define their town and their times, realizing that sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

These books are meant to be savored and devoured slowly, though it can be read for pleasure as well. The titles can be both uplifting and entertaining, but most especially, definitely worth your while,

Bed reading and serious reading are not exclusive from each other. What you can read for entertainment, can be read to enrich the soul, as long as you choose the right reading material.

To find more books that can enrich your soul and expand your mind, visit The Book Rack at 2014 1st Ave., Arcadia or check out for more information. You can also call (626) 446-2525 for more details.

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