By Violeta Maftei
About Reading Lists
When skimming through various book recommendations, I wonder if they are not misused resources. As plenty others, though my reading time is limited, I usually choose books with a degree of randomness. And yet, how would our reading lists look, if our purpose was to be represented by the books read? How about pursuing a balance between achieving knowledge and dedicating time?
The mind is our utmost valuable instrument. Its evolution is our responsibility. Learn how to develop and expand it or draw away to comfort zones and be devoured by inutility.
For this purpose, the ultimate accessible method of expanding the mind beyond its limits is reading. Books immerse into unexplored, marvelous worlds and facilitate life changing encounters.
Of course, explorers are responsible. At the beginning, readers will penetrate only what subjectivity allows them. Books mirror minds, they offer, but it is up to the adventurers to be conscious of what they perceive.
To conclude, below are listed coordinates for choosing books, for picking the essential from an overwhelming diversity, a subjective recommendation of types of books to read.
Communion and connection are distinct characteristic for theater. That is to say, behind the stories presented in plays there are topics meant to be debated. The quest is one for the spiritual, philosophical and psychological meaning behind actions. In that regard, plays are unclogging mechanisms. Furthermore, they enlighten the reader on the importance of detail.
For those misjudging that reading theater is not worthwhile, on account that they were put off by poor mise-en-scénes, it can only be underlined that theater should not be tainted by offbeat visions. Without doubt, theater emits, presents and provokes.
Secondly, there are, of course, scores of novels made into films or series, but plays offer an enhanced perception of reading and being a spectator. In other words, they offer the opportunity of first hand experiencing a book, of observing people from our imagination take live in front of us.
Indeed, it is the opportunity to compare what our mind creates with others' creations. In fact, it is looking at fantasies come true. To conclude, it is the form of reading that involves directly and immerses completely.
The classic is a book that always had an audience. A majority agrees on the fact that it expands limits. It has, thus, a universal language and proved value.
What makes a book so engaging?
The classic can answer a variety of questions about life. Even more, it is rare for valuable ideas to be dressed in accessible, thrilling stories that urge readers to follow until the end, and yet, do not concede on intelligence, but leave the reader with the feeling that they have not grasped all there is to be fathomed.
Therefore, it is our privilege to have access to the complex labor of creative minds. There is no need to be intimidated by classic books, all there is demanded is to be thrilled by their presence and to relish the opportunity of figuring them out. In conclusion, classic books are rare, constructed from expensive materials, and remarkably wise.
It is amazing that they are so accessible. One might even ask - as a pun - why, with such available, free resources, is the human race not more evolved?
Poetry is the form of literature likely to induce dream states, reading poetry is allowing the mind to play. Poetry is mysterious, it is something to decipher, it expands thought processes. To put it another way, when reading poetry language and grammar skills, along with logic skills, improve.
When people didn't have the words to express what they felt or what they needed to say, they found new ways to use available vocabulary. I delight in how "fathom" meant "to encircle with ones arms" and after that it went to describe "to understand after much thought" or how "to sulk" comes from the old English word "solcen" that means lazy. Poetry also expands words to suit expanding worlds. Maybe in our attempts to understand what the future will be, utopias and dystopias should be bypass and the best of poetry should be elucidated.
Undoubtedly poetry is affordable luxury, a higher standard of human language, it enriches and compensates. When life is not consistent, read nonsensical limericks. When life is too complicated read haiku. When life is banal read Shakespeare.
4. National Literature
Coming out of a familiar place, out of the womb, so to speak, is required in order to grow and develop, but the history and contemporaneity of those familiar places connect us with ourselves. National books are relevant for that slice of our lives.
They are means of keeping contact with our roots, of finding out what our peers think and of what they think about.
Without doubt, a true discoverer searches in universal and in particular. There is plenty to learn when the familiar is observed through new lenses. It makes us more conscious of our perceptions on life, if that is something that needs to be adjusted or changed. The stories told by us to ourselves should not satisfy. Reading national books sets out what familiar is and that familiar also needs explaining, that growing is not complete until it includes learning about home, that maps are needed in order to arrive there.
Indeed, our first experiences take place at home, they form us, build strength or mark weaknesses and shape points of view. National books enable the comparison of the points of view of others with our own. They reveal what is relevant to our individual structure and that cannot be obtained from other sources. Reading national books might expose amazing facts that were ignored, important ones, thrilling ones or briefly, that we ignored.
5. Books for Surviving and for Expanding Horizons
Our development might be blocked at certain moments, but out there exist books on how to overcome difficult situations. My own list includes anxiety, introversion, extroversion, self-concept, creativity, security, love. Survival is a skill and books are an appropriate instrument for sharpening it.
Books for expanding horizons are different from the ones needed for survival due to the fact that you could live without them, but they are worth the investment. Books about music, to better understand it, to read about your favorite bands, to explore genres you thought were inaccessible. Books about economy, to learn what goes on behind the scenes, how to invest, how others succeeded or failed. Photography books, art books, books about movies, books about perfume, cookbooks.
Certainly, in order to see beyond limits help is needed. Expanding the mind implies expanding our understanding, being better prepared to face problems. In physical training there is such a notion as "muscle memory". A muscle will get accustomed to certain exercises and as such the performance results will not be the same as in the beginning when the body was learning and getting accustomed. That is why performing diverse routines and switching between training formats is recommended for obtaining the best results.
In the same way, reading is training on different levels of existence. Reading is exercising the mind in new directions, in unfamiliar ones, growing, experiencing new ways to live, progressing in useful areas, discovering the utility of areas ignored before.
Firstly the genre book - this is something that appeals to each owns taste. To name a few - mystery, thriller, romance, detective, hard boiled. Secondly, books that can be read at every age. I am convinced that children books, fantasy books and graphic novels should always be on reading lists, for the sheer pleasure of going on adventures. Choose wisely, avoid the banal and the overexposed and have oodles of fun. Thirdly, the humorous book, as a source of relief, of power and a brighter view on life. Fourthly, for connecting with the world, the contemporary book.
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