Books – What Did I Learn?

The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.

David Bailey

As a child, I was not particularly fond of reading. I found it boring.  Reading made me drowsy. Being able to follow the storyline oftentimes required my rereading previous paragraphs. At times I would have review entire chapters. I found it embarrassing, frustrating, and time intensive. My peers appeared not to have this problem – something I did not know for sure.  In response, I developed a bad habit of skimming texts for the gist of intended takeaways. I used the quickly gained albeit limited perspective to convene conversations with others – those who seemed to enjoy it even. Proving I was knowledgeable enough of a topic raised no suspicions – greenlighting others to fill in the disconcerting voids. Vicarious learning? Maybe. Terrible coping skills? Absolutely.   

It was not until my 34th year of life I learned my trouble with focusing while reading (and other activities associated with gaining knowledge) was related to a larger problem of not being able to fully concentrate. This was coupled with unexplained fatigue. Rumination. Excessive self-criticism.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – a diagnosis I never knew exist – and adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were the culprit. My healthcare provider at the time suspected incessant exposure to the uncertainty and anxiety producing factory of my childhood environment – namely the whims of my father’s alcoholism and abuse – was the origin of these conditions.

With the problem identified, I worked with my healthcare provider to address it. Concentrating, self-doubt, and fatigue drastically improved.

Hitherto this medical revelation, I read books, magazine, online articles, and other texts. I did so professionally and for leisure. However, my enthusiasm for reading skyrocketed after I began treatment for GAD and ADHD.

Reading became less about doing so because it was required for work, because individuals considered successful are said to be the utmost bibliophiles. I now yearn to get lost in a book that nourishes my psyche, broadens my perspectives, and expands my vocabulary.

I wish to share some of my favorite books.