Thursday, February 10, 2011

Turning the page

I'm often struck by how we tend to limit our scope when we read.

Like choosing the same item every time we visit a favorite restaurant, or taking the same vacation every year, it's a little like reading the same page over and over again.

It's easy to point fingers here, but I'm just as guilty.

I'm not saying it's wrong to have favorites. But we tend to read from a single pool of authors (and as tempting as it is to name names, I'm going to resist), all with similar viewpoints and similar emphases.

Those outside that pool are met with suspicion, or even outright contempt. Their work might be read, but only for the purpose of poking holes in it.

Again, as I point a finger at others, three are pointed directly back at me.

I recently looked at a friend's posted reading list, and found myself bristling at one of his selections. Even worse, the title intrigued me, but I cringed when I saw the author's name.

That tendency to limit oneself to reading from a single viewpoint is something that really irritates me when I see it in others. And it's far more annoying when I see it in myself.

More frustrating still is my tendency to quickly justify my reaction: I only have so much time for reading. Why would I choose to read something by that person?

I think of myself as pretty broad-minded. Clearly, I can be just as narrow as the people whose narrowness bothers me.

Maybe it's time to challenge our thinking by reading something from a different pool of authors.

Maybe it's time to turn the page.


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