I speak a lot on this blog about the power of perspective and not being limited in thought. As I made my coffee yesterday morning and thinking about a book I needed to finish, I thought about reading and the profound role that literacy plays in our lives. Perspective can be defined as:
“…a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.”
#1 You Are What You Read
The saying, “you are what you eat,” is used to convey the message that we should be careful what we are putting into our bodies. A stunning new report from the World Health Organization has concluded that there is clear scientific evidence that eating pork leads to cancer, and I am not just saying this because I don’t eat pork. An overindulgence in snacks such as processed foods is also not good and can hurt the kidneys and harm weight.
Just like we are what we eat, we are also what we read!
What you put into your mind has the power to change you for better or for worse.
#2. Reading One Type of Book
Do this, and you will indeed be confined to one form of thought. You can be passionate without being limited. There are books about black history that are not written by African Americans, and while I get how that sounds counterproductive, there is still some useful information in some of these books. I don’t neglect to read them because the author is not black. (I don’t even believe in white or black people. I use these terms specifically for understanding, but I believe in nations, not colors.) I read Urban Fiction sometimes, and sometimes I read Western Literature. I will not be boxed in, and I will not be limited.
#3. Neglecting Indie Authors
Readers should not limit themselves to reading only Traditionally Published books. Because you have read one poorly written Indie book, and now every Self-Published book is not good? The Shack, a book I own and have used for research for many years, started as a Self-Published Book. It became a USA Today Best Seller and is being made into a movie.
As an Independent Author, I must support this community. If I am reading something, like a classic novel, I make sure that I also have an Indie book to read, and since I am a book blogger, I always have an Indie book on hand.
Indie books also tend to be cheaper than Trad, so there’s really no excuse. You probably spend more on lunch and coffee. Two dollars and under a month (for an eBook) is not expensive. Go the extra mile and buy the paperback. Pick an Indie Author whose books you love that are well-written and support them. Or, pick a slew of Indie Authors and purchase at least one book a month. How can you really support Indie Authors (or change the way you think of us) if you don’t read our books? How can you say all Independent books suck if you’ve never read any?
#4. Neglecting Trad. Published / Classics
The door swings both ways, people. Don’t neglect the Traditionally Published books and Classics either. Mainly since many of them are well-written. This next part may be sensitive for some of you, but it is the truth:
Be Careful Reading Poorly Written Books
This is mainly for the writers out there. Balance is everything. I’m an Indie Author, and I support Indie Authors, but disregarding the elephant in the room is just naive. While I enjoy Indie books, not all Indie books are well-written.
I have a genuine love for reading, so it matters little to me how a book is published. I read Indie books, classics, and traditionally published books. This is important to me because if you keep reading books that are not up to par, you can only begin to write just the same.
I am not saying Indie books can’t compete with literary classics or traditional publishing. I am saying there are still lots of Self-Published books that are just not well-written. To continue to read this kind of material is counterproductive.
#5. Morals / Values
I saved this for last because I know how sensitive we are about anything that we “perceive” to be religious. However, it must be brought up and goes back to the first bullet point: You are what you read.
There are lots of great books for research purposes, and then there are books that are not worth the time.
While some readers are strong enough to “chew the meat and spit out the bones” – meaning to dissect the worthy information and apply it without ingesting the falsehood – some readers are too sensitive to do so. In other words, it wouldn’t take much convincing for them to be negatively influenced or adopt a foreign belief.
If you know that you are easily swayed and unstable in your thoughts, you may want to stay away from particular literature that has the potential to change who you are.
Sure, I have books on the importance of watching what I eat, but I will not become a vegetarian Goddess who condemns all meat-eaters because we should love animals.
That’s what I am talking about.
As I say, staying true to yourself is a priority. Some books are not worth the time, and we must learn to discern what those books are. People walk around, like reading is always a good thing. In some instances, it is not. Everything has a balance to it. Some books are bad for you, just like there is food that is bad for you. Make sure that as you read, you are also paying attention to yourself. Reading can influence your perspective in more ways than one.