thoughtful reading of a book on a benchI just finished a book that shall not be named.*

It’s a work of nonfiction, published relatively recently, and enjoying a certain amount of popularity. In it, the author expresses opinions on various subjects. While I agreed with many of these opinions, I disagreed with others.

Despite my disgruntlement with some of its content, I read the book cover to cover. It was a page-turner, so that helped. But even if it wasn’t, I may have finished it anyway. I believe it’s important to read and consider alternate viewpoints. Otherwise, how can we know where we stand? It is only in relation to others that we can establish an identity of our own. It can be refreshing to read skeptically—to forge out a path, through ideas, to who you are and what you believe.

And there are further reasons to get intimate with alternate viewpoints. Sometimes, you disagree because you don’t understand a perspective fully enough; reading about it can clear things up. Other times, the more you read, the more you disagree—and the more you arm yourself with arguments against the viewpoint, should you need them. It’s empowering to be able to talk about a subject lucidly and armed with facts. It’s also empowering to know, in your own mind, why you are living your life a certain way—which may differ from that of many, or even most, of your family, friends, and neighbors.

Do you read skeptically?


*When I feature a book on this blog—that is, when I write one or more book previews on it—this means that I believe the book is, while not necessarily perfect (what book is?), certainly excellent, interesting, and worthy of being added to one's nightstand stack. Sometimes I read books that do not meet this (admittedly biased) standard. To stay within the scope of this blog—which is to highlight nuggets of wisdom in great books and elsewhere, and to carve out a heartfelt and hospitable nook amidst the wilderness of the Internet, rather than to offer comprehensive critiques, first-rate examples of which are easy to find elsewhere—I will refrain from identifying these books by name, author, or other means.