“The Reading Challenge”

“The Reading Challenge”
GREEN is completed, YELLOW is currently reading
  1. If I start a book and don’t care for it, I bail on it quickly. No long and silent suffering for me. This happened to me only once with Ben Franklin’s “Autobiography.” I found the old fashioned prose hard to digest and just wasn’t feeling it. Next!
  2. Now that I’m reading a lot, I’m doing a lot less Twitter scrolling and Youtube video watching. Which is fine with me. Those time-wasting activities are great for the content providers whose readership numbers I am enhancing, but not that great for me. Good riddance!
  3. I am trying to always be reading one Fiction and one Non-Fiction book at the same time. I find that this provides a sort of welcome “balance” to my reading.
  4. My reading list evolved over time. If an author I really like mentions another book which he/she really liked, I add it to my list and try to put a hold on it on Libby.
  5. I’m trying to avoid overtly political books. My politics are pretty much set in stone, they’ve stayed pretty much the same since my college days. And I’ve found there’s not that much of a point in simply reinforcing what I already believe. While there are a few exceptions to that already on my list, I’m doing my best to read non-fiction works which offer me the possibility of some sort of powerful paradigm change, that enable me to see the world in a different way than I currently see it.
  6. I’m learning a lot of new vocabulary words. One of the great features of ebooks is that when I come upon a word I don’t know, I simply highlight it and the definition automatically pops up. New words like quixotic (unrealistic and impractical), defenestration (throwing something out a window), anodyne (inoffensive), peroration (concluding part of a speech) and gallimaufry (a confused jumble of things), have entered my lexicon.
  7. Reading is the best way to challenge myself intellectually. Nothing else seems to even come close in terms of stimulating my mind.
50 Books Milestone reached on June 12, 2020 after 7 1/2 months
  1. I’m achieving better comprehension and absorption of material from the audio books than from the ebooks. I always try to download both the audio and ebook versions and switch between them, depending on my mood. During my morning hikes I listen to the book, while in the evening at home I’ll continue the same book by reading it. Right now, I’m preferring the audio books.
  2. Some books I just can’t listen to at an accelerated speed. I tried listening to The Success Principles at 1.15x speed, which is only slightly faster than normal, and it just didn’t work for me; I had to go back to normal speed.
  1. Libby really is a revolutionary invention. I can’t get over the fact that so many audiobooks and ebooks are available to me totally free of charge. I’m finding that reading so many books is giving me a depth and breadth of education that I could only dream about when I went to college in the 80’s. Young people today have so many resources for learning that we simply not available to my generation.
  2. Where do Podcasts fit into the scheme of things? Lately I’ve been sprinkling my reading hours with listening to some choice podcasts. But I must say that overall, I’m not a huge fan of podcasts as compared with listening to books. To me, a podcast is a very diluted and time-consuming form of learning. I’m not saying that I don’t learn anything from podcasts, I’m just noticing that I’m learning a lot less per hour of time invested, than I am with books. Podcasts entail so much fluff, so much babble, so much “fat on the bone” that one has to endure just to get to a few choice morsels of learning, whereas books have been worked on for years, have been edited by a team of professionals to make them as short, concise and to the point as humanly possible, while still providing a beauty of expression. In my book, there’s no contest between books and podcasts when looked at from the point of view of investment of time and attention. That having been said, below this section are my favorite podcasts right now.
  3. It’s crucial to have both the audiobook and ebook at the same time. As I’ve gotten more experienced with high volume reading, I’ve come to the realization that for me it’s crucial to borrow both the audiobook and ebook at the same time. When I just listen to the audiobook alone, there is no practical way for me to save quotes and passages which I find powerful and worth saving. When I have both, as I’m listening to the audiobook and I hear something I find valuable, I stop listening, switch to the ebook and search for a phrase from the quote I want to save, find it immediately in the ebook, highlight it and save it to a picture file. Takes seconds and is super valuable!
  4. Abandoned books. When you look at my completed reading list, what you don’t see is the fairly large number of books I start and abandon before finishing. I only list the books I actually complete. I’ve becoming ruthless with abandoning books as soon as I notice they are not “sparking joy,” as Marie Condo would say!
  5. Audiobooks carry me along in a way ebooks don’t. I’ve noticed that listening to audiobooks enable me to more easily get through difficult material without getting as bogged down as I might it I were reading the book instead. For example, if there’s a very abstract or difficult to understand part of a book, this might be the point in reading where I get bored and give up on the book. But when listening to an audiobook, the book plows forward with or without my understanding and I’m able to just let the words flow over me with less effort, and I’m able to wait it out until the books naturally comes to a more relatable topic.
My 5 favorite podcasts right now
A website I created providing free chapters from my favorite books




Father of Five, Husband of One, Slayer of Dragons.

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Alan Wolan

Alan Wolan

Father of Five, Husband of One, Slayer of Dragons.

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