The idea of The Minireads came into formation around 1.5 years ago. I just set up the blog without giving much thought (one of the biggest reasons why it worked, otherwise I would have over analyzed and never started the blog in the first place) and started writing whatever I read. There were a couple of review blogs that existed. While I enjoyed reading their stance on any book they read, I knew something was missing. Apart from reading the perspective of the reader about the book, I was curious to know what the reader learned after reading the book.
Another issue was that book reviewers used to mention some praises or some critical viewpoints in short while I craved for a full-blown commentary. Much like the Brainpickings which has become my go-to place whenever I want to read long-form articles and devour the world of philosophy and literature. I wanted something similar. I am not from a literature background and reading is a hobby that I have constantly pursued over the years with highs and lows.
In this post, I talk how writing blogs on The Minireads has changed the way I read.
I read more
I used to read majorly when I was traveling or when I had particularly nothing to do. Reading was not something that I did with discipline, it depended heavily on my mood and what I am doing. When I was undergoing depression, I could barely focus on books and reading made me even more anxious because they don’t have the ability to keep you hooked like movies or music. Afterward, I started focusing on my career which gave me little to no time to read books apart from my curriculum.
Towards the end of 2018, I realized I need to read more to grow as a person, to live many lives and as William Faulkner says
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
Towards the end of 2018, I resolved to read more, finish a book each week. Although this continued for a few weeks, it eventually fell apart and I knew I needed a reason to read more and with consistency. I went through a lot of book blogs and eventually realized that I needed to write more about the books I read. For the same reasons, I need to read more!
I read with focus
My tryst with reading started when I was very young, perhaps when I was 12-13 years old and I mostly used to read Hindi literature and books that made me comfortable. I was hesitant to pick up tough books. First, they were tough to pick up, and second, I had less focus while reading partly due to my reluctance and partly due to my age. After Minireads, I know I will have to write about the book so I started investing my time and focus on reading the books which changed the way I see books and I started reading more with time.
Instead of being burdened by jargon and some random events that were somehow unrelated to me, I started feeling privileged that I have access to such rich information that spans across the globe, the universe and happens over centuries and epochs. It became a new experience altogether. I followed what George Raveling says:
“You owe it to the people who fought and died over the centuries—in the fights for freedom, fights against slavery and discrimination—so that we could all have access to books and information—we owe it to them to read. It’s a moral duty to search for truth and live by it.”
I read diversely
The year 2020 started with a pledge to bring more diversity to my reading. I promised to read:
- A new author every month and know about them.
- Books from various countries, at least once every month
- One non-fiction book every month
Also read: My reading and other resolutions for 2020
While I have tried to stick to the plan, there have been some outliers. However, I am trying to catch up and follow more. Reading in this manner has motivated me to find more authors, some of whom are an absolute gem. I have a habit of reading an author and if I like him/her, I read every work written by them. This habit of mine has made me repeat the same author over and over again. The authors in this category include Amitav Ghosh, Haruki Murakami, Ruskin Bond, Paulo Coelho, Munshi Premachand, etc. Now, I pledge to read more authors. Reading the same author, again and again, doesn’t help you grow beyond a certain point.
An example would be Ruskin Bond, whom I have read so much over the years that I remember most of his stories and characters. His stories are still comforting, no doubt but I need to read more authors and I am improving in my selection. I have also started reading books set in different countries. Most of the books I read were either based in India or the US. New books that I have read in the first half of 2020 have given me new insights which would have been impossible if I had not attempted to venture out and explore more.
I dedicate all these positive changes to The Minireads. Blogging has changed me a reader and as a person.
Do you write blogs?
How has writing blogs changed you as a person over the course of time?
See you all next time!