Charlie “Tremendous” Jones often said, “Five years from now you’ll be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” What amazing insight! We are affected so deeply by the new people that come into our lives, but we are also deeply affected by what knowledge we acquire – and knowledge is often acquired through reading. However, when I first heard this quote, I was not especially excited about it….
I am someone who enjoys small gatherings of people that I know well and I am not a veracious reader. However, I married someone who likes to meet new people and who loves to gain knowledge through reading. We have enough books in our house that Eric could take three years off from work, read eight hours a day, and still not finish all of the books. Me, on the other hand, I have always had to be motivated to read. When I was a kid, my mom would give me stickers for every half hour of reading I would do. After I got fifteen stickers, I got a prize (e.g., skating, ice cream, etc.). My reading friends thought I got amazing prizes, but they would’ve acquired fifteen stickers in a day or two. It took me weeks! Once, when I was thirteen and about to spend the night with my grandma, Mom told me that I could watch an hour of television for every half hour of reading I did. So, I stayed up half the night reading Berenstain Bears books and then watched TV all day the next day (the link is courtesy of my husband’s sense of humor). I believe that’s called following the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law. ~smile~
A while back, in an attempt to share in my husband’s passion for books, I asked him if he would pick five books for me that he’d like me to read. There was a silence… and then he asked, “Are you serious? … You’re not toying with me, are you?” When I told him that I wasn’t – and that I would read each one, he became giddy and set off buzzing around the house looking on every book shelf we have (and we have many). After about thirty minutes or so he emerged with his five picks in hand. Currently, I’m almost half-way through the five books. I’d love to say it’s been a great life-changing experience to propel me to love reading! (It hasn’t.) But, I can honestly say it’s been a good experience. My drive for reading has not improved much; yet, after making myself read, I am finding so much good information that I can see why it’s necessary to read and grow. And, to be honest, some of the material he has given me has truly changed my life and paradigms. Not only that, but this has been a sacrifice of time and effort to grow closer to my husband – that alone makes this a good experience.
Reading really can help you impact the way your significant other thinks. Therefore, pick five books that have impacted your life the most and that you believe will positively impact your future spouse. Exchange your five books (or audio books) with his or her five books and find a little time each day to read your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s choice of books. Discuss them as you read them. Write down what you have learned from each one. Not only will it broaden your horizon, it will likely draw you closer to – and teach you a lot about – your future mate. If neither of you are readers and you don’t have books in mind, find a friend or mentor to recommend five books to you. You can read through the books together and then discuss them. After this experience, I have personally found that it is true that meeting people and reading books really do change people at their core.
What are your top five recommended books? (Please comment below!)