Thursday, March 05, 2015

Oh The Places You’ll Go

Reading-empathyToday is World Book Day and I love seeing all of the posts about what people are reading and how much they love to read.

What am I reading? I’m in the middle of Creation by Gore Vidal, an intense long complicated book set way back in the time of the Persian empire. I’m also working on Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, a very thick lit fic that’s so beautifully written I could be jealous if allowed myself. And I’ve just started on a brand new ebook by Rigel Carson titled G-1, a sci fi futuristic read that has a lot of today’s societal issues mixed into the make-believe world of the future.

Yes, I’m usually reading three books at once. I never used to do so, but I find it convenient to leave one upstairs beside the bed, usually the one that takes the most concentration, one in print beside my easy chair that I’ll read during TV shows someone else is watching or through Pirates games (it’s Pirates season again!), often non-fic. And I have one always in progress on my ereader or tablet. That’s usually one I can carry in one hand as I chase the baby around the house to keep her out of trouble, one that takes less concentration and often with short chapters that works well for short reading spurts.

I do read a lot. Not because I have the time, but because I make it, because it matters. Often it’s after 9 pm when I’ve already put more than a full day’s work in and I need to unwind. Books unwind you far more than TV does. They do.

But it’s not only for unwinding. It’s for my profession: I don’t read authors who say they don’t read other authors. It’s part of the job requirement. Along with that, it’s for my knowledge base. I’m a perpetual student and I can’t understand anyone who isn’t and doesn’t care to be. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Apparently I feel like I have a lot of growing to do. ;-) So I read. A lot. In different genres. About different subjects.

And yes, I often encourage others to do the same. Why is it my business? Because we are all connected. What we do affects those around us and our society as a whole. The more we truly understand each other, the better we can get along. And books don’t argue back. They say what they say and you’re free to take it in or dismiss it. But the more you take in, the more empathetic you become.

There’s a world of difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is caring about how someone else feels. Empathy is actually understanding how someone else feels. Huge difference. Empathy is far more important and we need for more of it.

So pick up a book that’s set somewhere you haven’t been about something you haven’t experienced, and let your empathy grow.

Reading helps you go places, even if you stay right there in your home area. But you don’t have to listen to me. Listen to the experts about going places:

And if you’re interested in checking out one of my EMK books, Pieces of Light, a novella, is free this week only for Read An Ebook week.


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