My Love Of Reading

It’s all about researching your topic for speech 7 in the Competent Communicator Manual in Toastmasters. Your speech will be more effective if you can support your main points with statistics, testimony, stories, anecdotes, examples, visual aids and facts. These are the objectives for speech 7: –

–      Collect information about your topic from numerous sources.
–      Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples, and illustrations gathered through research.

i delivered this speech on 24th November 2012.

 

My Love Of Reading

I recently googled the phrase “what is reading?” and these are two definitions that popped up: –

  • Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.
  • Reading is devouring a book cover to cover, and then starting at the beginning again

To me the first definition sounds tedious and hard to do.  The second on the other hand appeals to my senses.  From an early age we are taught to read, and for some this is a slow tortuous process battling every vowel and syllable.  Yet for others…what a thrill!  Reading opens the door to a whole new world of exploration.  But what creates the attraction to immerse oneself in a book, ignoring all around us as we lose ourselves in the story?  Is it the skill of the author in how they phrase their words to paint a picture?   Or is it the topic they choose that captures the imagination and takes us on a journey of discovery?  For some readers the pleasure of reading can be discovered late in life, for others a joy never found. 

For me, my love of reading began at an early age.  In first class in primary school we were each given the opportunity every week to select a book to read at our desks.  I would make a beeline to the Beatrix Potter collection and happily made my way through every story she had written.  And a few years later I can still remember the excitement of discovering the latest Famous Five adventure written by Enid Blyton.  I would grasp this treasured find, curl up in the bedroom and lose myself in the latest story of Julian, Dick Anne and George and of course Timmy the Dog.  For years these books and others like the Secret Seven and Alfred Hitchcock’s  3 Investigators kept me enthralled, eagerly devouring every page to see how the escapade would pan out.

I was very fortunate in that my parents had signed me up at the local library from an early age so every visit meant two fresh books to assuage my literary hunger.  My love of reading didn’t stop there.  As I progressed through life my tastes varied.  Biographies became and still are one of my favourites where people’s lives unfold in print, and intriguing facts are revealed.  Two I recently read spring to mind.  The first is Stephen Fry’s in which the most startling fact I came across was his love of computers and the thousands he spent to buy his first computer, laser printer and fax machine despite having no one to send information to for a few years.  The second is Sidney Poitier, who was born in Miami, Florida, but grew up on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He was born two months prematurely and was not expected to live, yet is still going strong at 85 after a successful acting career. 

Other genres I enjoy include crime novels; the “who dunnit”s from Cornwell to Connolly to Gerritsen and adventure stories.  An author who always keeps me spellbound is Clive Cussler, particularly with his modern day adventures of the character Dirk Pitt, played admirably in “Sahara” by Matthew McConnaughey.  These escapades have played out over the last twenty years with each novel bringing a new adventure and a further insight into the characters personal life, from his bachelor’s life to long term courtship to eventual marriage and discovery of twins born twenty years previous.  Cussler has since written novels following their adventures, thereby continuing the saga. 

Another author whose books always give me pleasure is Wilbur Smith.  Now aged 79 he still produces a book every few years.  No mean feat when every book contains between 500 and 700 pages.  In an old interview when asked if success came easily this is his response: – 

“It certainly did not! My father was against my becoming a writer, even a journalist, and wanted me to be a business man. I wrote two novels which were widely rejected, so it was third time lucky for me. Heinemann accepted When the Lion Feeds and got me off to a great start from which we have never looked back.”

Wilbur Smith has since published more than 30 books, and has sold over 120 million copies around the world. 

For me every word is consumed with relish as I work my way through the explorations of different families, from the white man’s early arrival on African shores to diamond discovery to the Pharaohs, every word is like nectar to a bee.  Time has no meaning as I immerse myself in the latest tomb, and hours fly by as if they were only minutes.

So all this many sound a varied range of books but all with an underlying connection – adventure!  For over 30 years I have lived vicariously through the author’s pen, spellbound in the tales of faraway places.  I can imagine myself on each expedition seeing through the characters eye feeling every emotion.  I am that person when immerses within the story.  Truly the pen is mightier than the sword when such treasure can abound within the pages of a book being read from the comfort of the couch.   

But all this is not the only attraction or benefit of reading.    A good book can be a good friend.  You can return again and again to this friend and rediscover old favourites or make new friends along the way.   It will talk to you when you want it to talk, and it will keep still when you want it to keep still.  It will give you knowledge, tell you things you didn’t know, make you think about the different walks of life and help you escape when it seems nothing else is going right for you.  You are never alone when you are reading a book, and it will be a friend for life. 

I return to the two definitions again: –

  • Reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation.
  • Reading is devouring a book cover to cover, and then starting at the beginning again

My choice will always be the second definition as a lover of food will devour a meal, enjoying every morsel as it passes their lips, so will I savour every word that I read.  And for those of you who don’t have the reading bug, I would urge you to give it a try.  Pick up a book and lose yourself in the wonders of the written word.  I can promise you this – if you find a topic that truly interests you then you will be reading “The End” long before you expect it.

 

I hope you enjoyed this speech and if you have any comments or queries please feel free to contact me.

Bye for now,

Elaine

Follow me on Twitter @elainebeare

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