Everybody has their own way of reading. Some enjoy parking it in a comfy corner and settling in for a good long read. Others will take a book along with them and grab 5 minutes here or 15 minutes there during the course of their day. Many people will only read one book at a time while some can juggle 2 or 3 books at a time.
I have employed several of these techniques at various times in my life, but one of my favorite ways of enjoying books is to “graze” through them. That’s right, “graze.” Let me explain.
The dictionary will give you two definitions of “graze.” The first involves letting livestock feed on grass or pasture land. It can also mean to touch or brush against something in passing. Combine the two meanings and you get something like roaming and eating lightly, a dining style still enjoyed by some. In my case it’s more like roaming and reading lightly.
Often I’ll spend some time in front of one of my bookcases and “roam” through the various volumes in front of me. When I find one that interests me for the moment I’ll pull it out and skim through it. When I come across a word or a sentence that attracts my attention, I’ll read that paragraph, or even that chapter, often underlining key points or making notes in the margins. A lot of times, an important idea will stay with me longer this way than if I had come across it in the course of reading the entire book.
For example, while “grazing” the book “Weigh the Word” I came across an article by Mortimer Adler about how to use a dictionary. In the article I learned that Noah Webster created his one-volume dictionary because he was worried about the state of education in our country after the Revolutionary War. He designed it to help the self-education of the masses. According to Adler, it was one of the first self-help books to become a best-seller in this country. Interesting stuff.
The next time you have a few minutes to kill and you’re near some books give it a try. You could come away with a new idea or two to play with.