Being a reader- chapter 5/5

#Narration of my reading journey

Since I realized that being a poor reader is an obstacle to my aspiration of being a good writer & developing those supporting skills, I was really worried. With the medicines working for my sinus problem in the backdrop of self-renovation. I made it a regular habit to read the first page of newspaper for some time.

Slowly & steadily, I moved on to the sports section & added one big article from the editorial section of ‘the Hindu’. My efforts increased to reading the entire two pages of editorial & the first page by the end of month& half. During this time, I was completely fascinated by the binding language of the eminent writers, advocates, social workers, environment experts, editors. Their articles were filled with a strong appeal, amazing & gripping ideas & abstract theories that can engage the most ingenious minds.

I felt privileged to reach this milestone. So, I started writing in a diary– their styled- sparkling ideas & aesthetic valued phrases, along with the difficult words, to later find their meaning. I found that with regular reading, my time span of completing the task reduced considerably & my comprehensive skill improved significantly. I was no more mind boggled by the heavy phrases, bulky lines, I was beginning to see the forest beyond the thick foliage & heavy wood barks.

Later in the year, I tried to tune around my other skills to aspire to same level of writing. So, with personal volition & valuable suggestion from my creative writing course teacher. I worked on my grammar & tried to grasp techniques from the book- ‘ how to read better & faster’. I was already cruising along with my vocabulary Building project. I realized that there’s always more to learn than you know right now. One must always pursue an interest like a student not a master. You can never be a master of a language but mastering your reading ability is definitely one of the most advanced skills in the world & it can be most frustrating too for poor readers.however, its rewards are great on personal, intellectual & recreational ends.

For active netizen – you may be belonging to a social network circle, connected to a cause, belonging to a highly vocal society where every person is an authority to be a republic of his own opinions & challenge others on theirs. In such an environment, it is only befitting to be aware of the latest bubbles & things that are trending in the nation, for e.g. I am an Indian and this is the most complicated place in terms of demographic variations, socio-political debates, the vociferous breast-beating contests of ideas of our nation. In such a place, it is important to be part of all revolutions & one can achieve it by being a good reader. It can really help you in the execution of your ideas & moral templates on the seemingly active & ever-erupting opinion volcano.

Hopefully, some tips in this write-up will help you along as it has helped me.i am sure reading will further improve my short-comings,as it has before in this personal journey narrative of past one year.
From being a bad reader towards being a reader.

In goodwill of all who need to voice their genuine opinion, to add their ideas & voices to the world.

being a reader

being a reader

Godspeed.
Vishu mishra

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Being a reader- chapter 4/5

So in benignant gesture, here are some of the tips I found useful-

#Tips

Lets divide it into three part-a. grammar b. vocabulary c. reading

a. Grammar– this is the easiest part for those who have had a solid foundation and toughest for those who care not but for language styling. These people find themselves too much embroiled into the slangs, catch phrases, colloquial English while expressing themselves; it is a curse & boon of the social network & active netizens-ship. Here’s a book –Murphy’s English grammar by Raymond Murphy- Cambridge publication. It’s very useful plus it has a foolproof technique to step by step eradicate your habitual errors. Further I read that most writers-

1.Make errors in using past continuous tense, usage of would, could & present perfect tense.

2. The usage of articles esp. ‘the’ and their prepositions just kill the sentences.

3. Their structuring is too lengthy & loses comprehension –so work on informative & extra-informative clauses.

4.Over usage of double-past & reluctance to use simple past makes sentences complicated.

5.Use of regular and irregular verb forms – e.g. lay/lie ,hung/hanged

6. confusion of using –who/whom , i/me ,she/her ,prophecy(prediction)/prophesy (predict)

7.The book has a specific exercise at the back that determines the areas you need to work on, so all your problems can be taken care of by one book.Apart from that, follow the above points and be conscious about their difference & try to research further on the internet about it.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary can only increase by extensive reading, once you engage your reading time into books of different genres, kinds, fields. you may notice that College level students have great vocabulary, it’s Because they are constantly challenged to dwell into unfamiliar topics & fields and increase their reading span and knowledge of different terminologies. So read all kinds of books, of all kinds of fields. you will definitely find interest in a few more subjects than you anticipate right now. The tips for vocab. Building-

1.Buy any good vocab builder that is based on etymology.

2.Always give importance to the form of word- i.e. noun,verb, adjective,adverb & try to look for a sentence of its usage.

3.The step by step process for learning new words-

The most common but wrong way

People sit with thumb-nailing dictionaries & as soon as a word pops up into reading ,they are on their toes to look for its meaning. However, such ways can never build vocabulary as you are bound to forget the word & its familiarity. It is temporary & an inferior method, even though so many people do it.

The right way

a.When you encounter a word, think of its meaning for few seconds, find all possible word roots or things it can mean. Then move on with your article.

b.When you meet this word again somewhere, you are more conscious to its presence & you are more aware of it.

c.It now has a stronger impact on you & it becomes clearer in a variety of context.

d.Eventually, new words would become old friends.

Reading tips

1. Always read with a sense of urgency, i.e. your main aim is to get into the passage, get the main idea & central theme-get out.

2. Reading slow is a habit not a maladroit, so it can be changed with practice. try this book – “how to read better & faster by Norman Lewis”. It is excellent for the cause.

3. You should try to evaluate, how the writer has structured the article i.e. which para’s are theme based, which are simply Variations, which are used for points & elaboration. If you can figure this out,It will boost your reading speed.

4.You should always challenge your comprehension by pushing your reading speed, it spurs alertness which leads to interest and hence a fast paced & concentrated reading.

5.Always remember that reading phrase by phrase & looking for ideas is more important than crawling around word by word for details, because the ideas & effect will eventually turn out together in the end & it will become clearer.

6.Always try to have a time constraint in your reading. Give yourself a stretch of two hours and do concentrated reading. If you’re giving time to your reading before going to bed, you are simply dabbling around. It’s important to set a good time for doing it like an activity.

7.A good reader will always have tools for reading, like an efficient artist with different brushes & pencils, he will gear up at peripheral & sub-ordinate para’s but gear down at central ideas &themes based para’s.bad readers just read everything with a same dumb pace & tone. They try to over-emphasize on word-relations that on an ironical note, leads to bad comprehension.

8.Remember, good comprehension of a piece of writing is not based on the keenness of your memory but on the clarity of your understanding.

9.Challenge yourself to read material on fields you haven’t explored before, it will make you a better reader. People who keep exploring their limits & fields are the ones that turn out to be most efficient in the end. You should break the habit of reading average fiction & choose the good stuff- non-fiction material, editorials of newspaper, good magazines e.g. harpers ,Esquire, the new Yorker, news-week, time, today etc.

10.If understanding of a piece of article is the vivid scene of a forests and the words & phrases are its trees. It is rightly said for a poor reader.

“they can’t see the forest because of the thickness of the trees”- them bad readers.

11.However, it is a habit & habits can be changed with applying yourself like a student & a will to improve. After all, you DO want to see the forest, it is actually beautiful!

being a reader

being a reader

godspeed.
vishu mishra

Being a reader- chapter 3/5

Let me tell my story to recapitulate the entire thing

I have a great love for English as a language- idioms, phrases, vocabulary, slangs,different verbiage, linguistics, semantics. one can’t fail to be a good and entertaining conversationalist if you pursue interest in all of these. Along comes a natural flair for good humor, personal observation for people’s behavior, their idiosyncrasies, their accent, their weakling as a recipe for protruding out their animated self & basically a central idea in my mind to create entertainment for people around me.

So often i have tried to engage my mental troubles to writing diary, creating couplets, writing short & long poems, even few articles on random topics. However, I was never a reader. You could ask me about any of the first three questions on world scenario, books, topics & I would give a nay shrug with personalized cussing tone & move towards outdoor. It is because I was possessed with the idea of real time engagement for e.g. sports, biking, running, hanging out with people etc. I could look at a book shelf for ages and still not get one familiar name from the shelf.

I was neither a voracious reader nor an omnivorous reader nor could I simulate myself and dabble around with a book. I gained my expertise by being out and living & everything written in books seemed second class. However, my only hook was my interest in writing and my love for the language, for which I miserably looked for self-help books on vocabulary, phrases, idioms, all those –‘how to?’ books.

As mentioned above, I had an acute problem with my concentration and passing the bookish books of college was itself a daunting task altogether. So, there was no shelf for other books. Now here’s an an interesting dichotomy, There are two kinds of people, first ones are runners and second are readers. Life needs a balance of both R’S, without which your overall development won’t suffice. I rated myself at 1 out of 10 on reading habits on the above (considering it an evaluation from my past).

Now the embarrassing part of the story
In College I could read nothing without great efforts, so I wasn’t reading at all with no efforts .To be in this position, you will feel that life turns stagnant in every-way. Your awareness of the world is through tv-news , which already morphs the real meat & present their meager work of self-cultivated reality-scenario for the medium class people. Your information is only through other people which to say the least, is again second hand & lacks credibility. Which finally means, if you haven’t read about anything nor known it from the source, how can you ever be sure of what you’re stating to other people.

In such a case, you will always hustle, you will give poker faces while asserting, you will try to master the art of word mincing, you will turn a consummate liar at points & an unabashed ego-debater with no grounds or substance. So, in a longer term, it knocks out your outdoor activities too. Therefore, talking about latest trends, technologies, and upcoming things is out of the window. You now depend on another person in the group to give some information & then you can add your worthless repetitions & junky variations to engage In a hollow conversation,which has no merits & rewards at its end. Therefore, you can’t belong to this category as well.

Finally, ideas maybe abstract but they are inspired from the working world, the simplest practical realities, you need to know the world in current age to evolve an idea that changes it. Therefore, you cannot belong to this section as well. So in the end, you are left & cornered in the first kind of people- you will talk about the gossip in college, neighbourhood, about people, about day’s events, about sensationalism, about scandals, which is to a lot of people on the acceptable terms. However, you are not even remotely on the refreshing talk, ever-growing personality, emotional growth, spurring ideas or even showing a fair level of intellect.

You are full of cliché’, borrowed phraseology, your bromide conversations put people to deep-sleep. Your platitudinous statements turn people flabbergasted to your audacious attempt at coolness. if you could guess it, these people are the average IQ people of the society, the ones who discuss ongoing scenarios are above average,very good and smart, the ones who engage in ideas and changes in the world are atop superior & even genius. If you adhere to the idea of IQ being an asset in life. It’s high time you jump to the second bracket & ‘being a good reader’ is the only hope.

Here are some tips that will surely help you in your reading

But before that, I have a word of wisdom for all the writer brethren. After all this radical transformation, I have had a revelation that has broken my solid foundations of negligence, it is a simple resolved notion that writing and reading go together. You must be a good reader to become a good writer. If you’re not ill-struck by god, with a disease causing bad concentration & still don’t get into any reading habit -then I can only sympathize with your ambitions to become a good writer, or your aspirations to develop an intellect or even possessing a great vocabulary for word usage. It is like a self inflicted wound, like a self- imposed curse to life.

For writers->always remember! That Grammar is the backbone of all expressions, so get it right, not the pedantic or puristic right but on a fairly acceptable & necessary terms. After that comes the connecting strokes & conjunctional patterns in your writing. Subsequently, your vocabulary & your style. So, reading can take care of a major part of it but don’t try to hold your nose the other way round. I have had lot of trouble in improving upon my grammar & connecting strokes because I learned my English without reading good stuff. So I was habitual in making very complicated mistakes – of grammar & connections. Such things can only go away with voracious, omnivorous & variety reading

being a reader

being a reader


godspeed.
vishu mishra

Being a reader- chapter 2/5

Anyways! coming out of that bookish discussion, let’s try something else. Let us try to introspect about other traits of your outward personality.

1. Are you a kind of person who likes discussions about science-fiction, sports strategies, futuristic trends, latest fashion- & it’s cool and clumsy quotients, or how the next sequel of that movie should or shouldn’t have been made, a complete-critique of your activities.

2. Are you a gregarious person, do you like to engage in an interesting discussion with an old or new group & “talks about what you think?”

3. Are you an active netizen– do you like to write your experiences, express your opinions on social forums, be vocal of your stand and Get verbal on your thinking.

4. Are you an intellectual egoist– who despite all ignorance to reading & knowing defends his opinions on a choice of subjectivity i.e. your opinion is yours and you stick to it? Do you try a lot harder to always at par your intellect with the others on almost anything put to discussion.

5. Are you a special case like me who likes writing, knowing good & difficult words, using good & smart phrases but doesn’t like reading other people’s stuff! Well, it is true that everybody wants his stuff to be read and be given a fair opinion or peripheral critique, if allowed!. Somebody once told me, “you can’t be a good writer unless you read what others have written”. My reply- “why? What about the first painting in the early man caves or first manuscript on ancient culture, proves a point doesn’t it?”

Here’s an interesting factoid about intellect, English and ideas

ENGLISH– The backbone of English i.e. grammar is inconsistent with time; it changes unlike the spelling of words. The usage of English & phrases ,are defined in a society according to the trend set by the most educated people i.e. writers, opinion makers etc. there is always a class of people in the society that will earmark a word or phrase as cliché, an idiom as old & an adjective as over-used. They might rescue the old lost verbiage & put it into the modern usage and they might bag-pack few of those currently in use, to old graves.

IDEAS
Some wise man said- “ideas are like sperms, only few make it”. I guess its befitting to identify those few who make it and not let a modicum of useful thought & effort be wasted in harnessing the others , right?
Another school of thought says– it is a continuing and frustrating process of churning & repetition that ensures the consistency of productive & worthier output (not in terms of volume). Which means, irrespective of thinking about the desired output and working on all the output ,of which a few maybe desirable. Hence, whether any field- it’s your pursuit that matter. If you like ideas, then your days and night should be engaged in thinking, spend your time in discussing and engaging with new & fresh ideas, if you’re an artist, a painter, a humorist, so should be the case. Interaction spurs interest, which is the core of all excellence. If Sachin Tendulkar din’t have undying & unparallel interest in cricket, not even god’s all talent could have made him accomplished half of where he stands. if Da Vinci dint like the idea of the new world,there won’t have been a blueprint book, which contained basis for over 100 great inventions. Therefore,interest & ideas go back to back.

Here’s another interesting thing about vocabulary
A table of comparison with your age & words learned per year.

Age v/s known words
By 4 yrs 500 words
7 yrs 20,000 words
10 years 35,000 words
……..20 years onwards …100 words/year

Now let me connect all the dots in a simple way. You were learning words at a faster pace when you were a little kid than as an adult today. Looking at later years, it shows that your vocab. Growth is snail paced right now. Words are said to be the symbol of ideas, every word is derived from some symbol, it even has a word-root, a story or even a belief behind it. Hence, not knowing them will create a blind spot on your mental window of ideas. So ideas and words go together like thread & needle. If you’re looking for new ideas, or you wish to engage into higher dimensions of your mind. It is important that you lose your ignorance to the world of words. Further, it is also interesting to note that your IQ scores and your vocab. scores are very similar i.e. if you score in a higher bracket in one, you will end up in the same in other.

So, your intelligence, your intellect, your mental keenness & sharpness, your refreshing attitude towards ideas and their engagement with the world, & finally your English- they are all pieces of the same boggling puzzle, like small parts of a larger machine that runs your brain, feeds you knowledge & awareness, a feeling of freshness & a presence of being in the current age. So, if you are an intellectual egoist, you would always want to feel the rush of mental euphoria, being sweetly-struck with your abstract theory which sounds so fantastic. It can be your brilliant idea that seems so plausible or your original views on a subject that are out of the book. All such things not borrowed but cooked in your own cauldron of mind ,under the fuel of passion & aired by a brainstorm of original thinking.

being a reader

being a reader

godspeed.
vishu mishra