By Tim Kalinowski
I have been consciously scheduling in time into my busy week to read recently. I have always been an avid reader, but lately as busy as I am I have been finding it difficult to read regularly. I know I work in a job where I read probably over a thousand words a day, but that is part of the job description. I am talking about reading for pleasure, entertainment or escape from the real world for a time; that is what I have been lacking.
Luckily I am quite the night owl and have found time to read for an hour or so before going to sleep. It helps shut my mind down after a busy day by replacing the endless chatter in there with one author’s voice. I read a variety of books. Most in the detective and or fantasy genres. Ideally a combination of both. So the Dresden Files are quite appealing as are the Garrett P.I. books. A mystery to solve, great action sequences and an appealing central character. That seems to be the combination which works best for me. Satisfying but not too heavy.
I, however, also like to read poetry as that was my specialty during my undergraduate years at the University of Regina’s English department. But poetry late at night is not usually a good idea in my case as it stimulates my mind instead of quieting it down. Wallace Stevens, Rumi, Dylan Thomas and W.B. Yeats are all old favourites and standbys of mine.
The last major category of reading I try to undertake on a regular basis is in the non-fiction realm. I usually like books which deal with the edge of knowledge as we understand it, and are actively pushing the boundaries to create new connections and levels of understanding. In my undergraduate philosophy courses I usually came back to the Phenomenology school of thought and that influence continues to mandate my choices in the non-fiction books I read.
Some of my favourites in this vein over the years include: “Mad Like Tesla: Underdog Inventors and their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy,” “West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief,” “The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary” and “The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World.” All worth reading more than once.
Life is most often locked in routine and can be humdrum and dull. We can forget to savour things and see the amazing world which exists around us. Reading can be an escape from the humdrum, but it can also be the means through which we learn to savour. So why not make it a part of your everyday routine? You’ll be glad you did.