There is no ‘proper’ way to read

Some time ago I wrote a post about Blinkist as being akin to speed dating for books. You get snapshots of what the book is about, edited for enjoyment quite likely, lasting but a fraction of what a traditional date would in comparison.

One of the responses I got to that through Twitter was that it was a shame that people today would prefer to speed date books rather than becoming intimate with them. I somewhat agree, but here’s the rub; if you aren’t reading very much right now, being told that you’re not doing it ‘right’ isn’t helpful.

Do we tell children with their repetitive picture books like Cat in the Hat that they aren’t ‘properly’ reading? When they ‘grow up’ and start reading things like War and Peace or 1984, then we’ll consider them ‘readers’?

Of course not, we show them support and encouragement. We say “welcome to the wonderful world of books, I’m so excited for you for what is yet to come”.

Everyone has different priorities, different aspirations, different lifestyles. Some of us make time to sit down and read for an hour or two, or accept that we get only 30 minutes a day to read and spend weeks or months reading a single book. Doing that isn’t superior or better than reading Blinkist summaries of the same books, it’s just different.

If your goal is depth and understanding of what you’re reading, then yes, reading the whole book is going to bring you much closer to that goal. If you goal is merely to allow some new ideas into your mind, then it doesn’t matter how they get there, as long as you do it in a way that engages you enough for the ideas to stick. Audio books, summaries, even live adaptations.

So please, fellow readers, don’t gatekeep reading, everyone should be made welcome.

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