He knew everything of literature except how to enjoy it.
I have a problem with books.
I know a lot of people say that, and it is usually to explain why they don’t read. My problem is at the opposite end of the spectrum – once I start a book I find it hard to stop reading it! I now find myself having to be much more disciplined in my reading – selecting, planning the kind of reading I will do, managing my time in front of a book, and, in effect, rationing my time with my nose in a book.
In many ways I like the problem – and actually my increased discipline in what I read and when, seems to be increasing my enjoyment of it. And it has allowed me to read across more genres and be more selective.
If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.
Now I suppose this would look really impressive if I went on to tell you about the great literary classics I wade through every week. But, in truth, my interests are more prosaic (commonplace, unromantic).
Indeed, they might best be described as ordinary – or, gasp, popular! I love to hear the experiences of everyday contemporary authors, from across a range of interests.
From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
The title of my blog ‘Read to Lead’ actually comes from one of my favourite podcasts, a weekly broadcast by Jeff Brown from the USA, a former radio presenter, who brings a friendly professionalism and enthusiasm to his programmes. His interest is in helping leaders develop, and he is strongly of the belief that reading has to be in the toolkit of every successful leader. But he also brings an interesting slant to his work where, as well as bringing in the big name authors, he also gives many opportunities to the newbies or more niche writers.
Anyway, back to my beloved books. My enjoyment of a book seems to increase if I know a bit of the background to an author and the technicalities behind how and why they got started, how they pursue their craft, etc. A genre I particularly enjoy is the business book sector which of course covers a very broad range of titles.
Incidentally, another podcast which gives a great ‘behind the scenes’ look at the business book process in the UK is one presented by Alison Jones, the Extraordinary Business Book Club.
I mentioned that Jeff Brown comes from a radio background and Alison from a publishing one, but both have great voices – positively mellifluous - for podcasts. And perhaps this is one of the key differences between podcasts/audio and magazines/books – we literally hear a voice, which probably shapes how we listen. When reading we use our imagination to create ‘voices in our heads’- and again that shapes how we read.
It is astonishing how articulate one can become when alone and raving at a radio.
I think of podcasts as the magazine format of audio productions – shorter listens which can be enjoyed in many different locations. Likewise audio books offer a longer listen when it might not be practical to sit in front of an actual physical book or e-reader. But listening to either podcasts or audio books is like having stories read to us – which perhaps explains the enduring popularity of radio, in spite of the visual feasts that are available through TV, online or movies. And it is interesting how these all are now blending and merging together.
When I sat down to write this, my intention was to tell you about our local Book Festival, held at the end of last year. I guess I wandered a little. To be continued…
Not all who wander are lost.