I've often heard the quote, "Readers are Leaders" and vice versa. I wholeheartedly agree. People who are constantly learning from other people are ones that can lead other people. However, there are lots of KINDS of reading. There's reading for fun and enjoyment. This is often associated with fiction. There are tons of great fiction reads out there who help you escape where you're at for a little while and let you explore new places and meet new people (even if they don't really exist.) Fiction is one of my favorites. Mostly because it's an easy read most of the time. I sorta think of it like a really intriguing tv show that I must put on in my own mind. One of my professors in college, however, made the statement (that obviously stuck with me) that ONLY reading fiction/magazines is like ONLY eating candy. Although it may stave off that hunger for a little while and it is considered food, it doesn't do too much to help you grow or give you nourishment.
I used to correlate nonfiction with boring textbooks. That's mostly because I hadn't really been introduced to any good nonfiction. Sadly, I don't know if this was my stubborn fault for not trying anything or the school system's fault for not introducing anything to me except for textbooks. At Messiah, that same professor, Anita Voelker, taught a course on Children's Literature which forced me to finally take a good look at what I had previously thought by making me read some nonfiction young adult novels. They were great!
Unfortunately, when I got into business with my husband and our mentors recommended some nonfiction business books, I went back to that old way of thinking for a while. However, I finally gave in and read some FANTASTIC nonfiction adult books. These weren't at all what I'd expected for being business books. Most of them were about dealing with others, improving your own self and/or increasing your spiritual relationship with God! They didn't use big words that I would never understand. Many of them even related real stories of situations where others applied things they learned. Crazy huh? You can actually learn something that isn't out of a textbook! In fact, I learned most of what I know from somewhere other than a textbook.
I've decided that I may not be the only misguided reading soul out there. I'm going to post a few of my favorites here. I'll post a top 20 from both fiction and nonfiction and even from young adult and adult novels. (There are way more than this, but this may be just a jump start for those who would like to try it.) I'll even try to include info about some of them so that you can know if they would be something you'd like to read. If you have any questions or other suggestions, let me know.
1. The Traveller's Gift - A man who is going through a tough personal crisis travels through time and learns valuable lessons from famous historical figures that could help him change his life and his perspective.
2. The Shack - A man who has lost his youngest daughter wrestles with his anger towards God about the situation and eventually gets a mysterious invitation to talk about it in person from God.
3. Go For No - A man has a vision of his life as it would have been if he'd only decided to keep being persisitent instead of giving up easily.
4. The Greatest Miracle In The World - A successful executive befriends and old man who teaches him valuable lessons about the value of mankind.
5. Speak (Young Adult) - A young girl must deal with navigating her way through her first year of high school while also keeping a secret that has separated her from her friends and family.
6. The Chocolate War - (Young Adult) - A young boy attending a parochial school refuses to participate in the chocolate candy fundraiser and, in turn, becomes the enemy of the headmaster and a group of boys the headmaster has asked to "help" him force everyone to participate.
7. Mick Harte Was Here - (Young Adult) - A young girl deals with the loss of her brother by remembering the great things about him.
8. The Ultimate Gift - When a young man's relative passes away, he must fulfill the dying man's wishes to receive his inheritance and learns many amazing things about himself and about life in the process.
9. This Present Darkness - Evil things are taking place in a small town. Some that can be seen and some that are happening in the unseen. This book gives a mental picture of what is truly happening that we can't see when people face their darkest hour.
10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - A group of unlikely warriors have to navigate their way through Middle Earth to destroy a ring of power that threatens to wipe out the good in the world.
1. The Five Love Languages - Everyone shows and observes "being loved" in a different way. This book helps you figure out how you perceive being loved as well as those close to you.
2. How To Win Friends and Influence People - Tips for being a better friend, spouse, and coworker/entrepreneur. Gives personal testimonies and experiences...
3. Warrior Chicks - Discusses having a warrior's spirit in things that women face every day and in the author's own personal battle with cancer.
4. Personality Plus - From the social butterfly, to the goal oriented locomotive, to the quiet wallflower, to the organizer... each of us has a different personality and a different approach to life. This helps you discover what your own personal strengths and weaknesses may be and may help you understand those around you who just don't operate the same!
5. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day - Recounts the often overlooked life of Benaiah from the Bible and gives life lessons on seizing opportunities that God has put in your path & the faith that those opportunities may entail.
6. Lincoln the Unknown - Recounts the life of Abraham Lincoln... good, bad, sad, happy and all of the in between.
7. Your Best Life Now - Joel Osteen teaches how God would like you to have the best life possible. You are His child after all, and He has given a manual on how to live.
8. If Satan Can't Steal Your Joy, He Can't Keep Your Goods - Life sometimes stinks. Satan does his best to throw a whole lot of crap at you and this tells you God's perpective on how to make it through everything joyfully.
9. The Power of a Praying Parent - Instead of worrying about what this world will throw at your children, this book discusses how to pray for your kid(s) and release them into God's care instead of living a life of fear in every situation.
10. The Magic of Thinking Big - Putting this off until "later," having to make sure everything's "just right" before starting, and making excuses are just some of the things that hold people back from acheiving big things in their lives. This discusses success principles and how to overcome those failure diseases.
Again, I know that this isn't an exhaustive list. Please comment and add some of your favorites too!