Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Words on Reading, Part II

In the post below I introduced you to Sean's blog & pasted in one of his posts about reading.

Here's his follow-up post about reading.  Good counsel!

Redeem the time, Paul says.  Teach us to number our days, Moses prays.

Thank you for this challenge, Sean!


by Sean Demars

Readers, friends, countrymen, I’ve got an exercise for you. An exercise in foresight, education, and discipline. Now, if you’ve read the previous sentence and you are still interested, let the exercise BEGIN!
Let’s Get to It
I’m just going to assume that the majority of my readers/followers are between the ages of 18 and 30. Another way of saying that is thus: you are just old enough to be responsible, not old enough to be wise. Now, let’s just assume that, thanks to modern pharmacology, you will live to the almost ripe old age of 65. That’s a nice round number, I think. That’s not quite ‘diaper’ old, but it’s not exactly young, either. It’s post andropause, pre dementia. (you won’t read that in a Life Psychology handbook)
Now, let’s take the median age of 18-30: 25(ish). So, the ages we’ll be working with for our little exercise will be 25 and 65. I never made it past high school, so, correct me if I’m wrong…but that’s about a forty year difference. No? Yes? Good…
Now, again, using our incredible mathematical giftings, let us multiply 40 x 2. You can do it several ways, just follow along: 40x2=80, 2x40=80, 20x4=80, or even 40/4=10…10x8=80. Aren’t Platonic forms wonderful?
Now that we’ve used our genius to subtract 25 from 65 (leaving forty), and multiplied that 40 times 2, we have the number 80. Why does any of this matter? Well, if you’ll remember your geometry, you’ll also remember that the shortest distance from point A to point B is a strait line. Right? Well, I hate geometry (notice the little ‘g’). It’s fun(er), and more aggravating to take the scenic route. Seriously though, I’m just having fun with anyone who’s had the testicular or ovarian fortitude to read this far. Let me stop…

If you live for another forty years (remember: 25-65), and you read two books a year, every year, until you die, you will have read 80 books. Not a whole lot. I mean, eighty is  significantly more books than many people who may have lived in pre-literate cultures would have read in their lifetime, but in our epoch, well, it’s not very impressive. Now, let’s say you read five books a year. What is that…200? Yes, I just double checked my math. If you read five books a year, and we’re assuming that you’ll live another forty years, that’s 200 books you will have read by the time the Grim Reaper starts doorbell-ditching you with heart attacks.
Do you see the increase? That’s 120 more books in a lifetime! Now, let’s take it a step further. Imagine you read 12 WHOLE BOOKS A YEAR!!!! That’s one book a month (I had to take my socks off to do the math on that one). One book a month; that’s not a giant workload, is it? Using the formula above, the number would jump all the way to 482!!! That’s almost five-hundred books in 40 years. That’s a lot of knowledge. Well, that’s a lot of words…maybe not knowledge. I don’t know that reading 500 Twilight Sagas will make you the next Einstein. Maybe the next Joel Osteen. But anyways, I’m getting off track…

If you pick your books wisely, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, by the end of your life (500 books into the book-time continuum), you will have come to know the world around you, the ideas that dominate it, and, hopefully, the God of the Bible, much, much better. Alright, I’m about to blow your mind now:
What if you really hunkered down, exercised some discipline, cultivated a passion for knowledge, and devoted yourself to thinking (2 Timothy 2:7), and you committed yourself to reading two books a week, every week, until you hit 65? What if…? Using our formula above, that would be 4,160 books. That’s a lot of books. That’s 104 books a year! (in case you weren’t counting) 
Is two books a week a daunting task? It shouldn’t be. Be wise in your book choices. Read  classics that have proven themselves worthy of your time. Exercise discipline. Turn off the T.V…or break the darn thing as far as I’m concerned. Read a book with your wife. Keep a book on you, or in your car, so that you can redeem the incessant waiting time that is covalently bonded to the American lifestyle. Brothers, two books a week is not an unreasonable goal. It’s not for everyone, I’m sure. But even one book a week, on top of your normal study of the scriptures, will be tremendously beneficial. Why don’t you try it for a month? Let me know how it goes…

Note: I write the numbers in some places and enumerate them in others. Why? Just to make you mad Mr. Grammar man. Just to make you mad.

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