Inspiration from Summer reading
For some people a break over the summer is one of the only chances they get to relax with a book. I set myself reading challenges over the course of the year and try to always have a book on the go. But in these days of information overload, why is it that a traditional printed book can still be an object of so much inspiration?
I started reading ‘more’ again a couple of years ago after originally only doing the ‘reading on holiday by the pool’ thing. I now set myself an annual goal to try and read a certain number of books. This keeps me inspired and I’m always really satisfied whenever I finish another book – not just for finishings sake, but because of what I’ve learnt or experienced along the way.
An emotional and intellectual journey
Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, reading a book takes us on a journey, both emotionally and intellectually. You’re often sharing someone else’s journey or story, either through that of a fictional character or a real person.This often forces you to ask questions of yourself, which your mind may not have been open to previously. Allowing yourself to be open to different emotions than you may normally be on a daily basis, I feel, is an important mental exercise.
Shared life experiences
Books allow us to share people’s life experiences that we wouldn’t normally have access to in our own social circles. These experiences can be positive and uplifting or gloomy and thought-provoking. Through them we can gain an understanding of the experience and the subject matter and mentally ‘bank’ them, should they ever need to be called on in the future – possibly when we need to face a similar life experience ourselves.
Empathy with other cultures and fields of work
There’s no way (I don’t think!), that I’ll ever experience life on board the International Space Station or find out what it’s like to live and survive in the remote mountain villages of Nepal. Through reading about different cultures and fields of work I can learn and gain an understanding.
Taking your mind elsewhere allows other thoughts and ideas to seep in. Books allow us to access worlds we would ordinarily not experience – especially those in works of fiction. Personally, I love this idea of escapism and (dare I say it) will actually rarely read a book about graphic design as a way of escaping. It’s simply too close to my everyday reality.
I have a strange fascination with science, aeronautics and the wonder of space flight, when I'm not drawing for a living. I think it’s to do with my boyhood dream of becoming a pilot that never quite left me. Now that I’m indulging my other passion (design) as a career, at least I can indulge this other fascination through reading about the subject. On the flip-side, I’m also reading a lot as part of a business course I’m completing currently – further knowledge through reading.
Yeah, but we can just do all this on the internet right?
Again it comes back to the idea of escapism and relaxation. As a relatively ‘old fart’ I believe we spend too much time glued to computer screens and smartphones. We should revel in the contrast that a book offers, whilst acknowledging that the internet absolutely has its place. Also, in terms of escapism for the mind, if ten people read the same book of fiction, they would all be conjuring up different mental images in their minds. This, rather than being ‘fed’ what things should look like in a film or internet video.
Finally, isn’t there still something just so tactile about flicking through the pages of a book?
I’d love to know what you read this summer
Share what you’ve read and been inspired by this summer. Comment below or tweet me @createcadence – I always after recommendations of what to read next.