Kin Lane

The Importance Of Diversifying My Reading

I am very aware of how important it is for me to read. However, I also have to remind myself of how important it is to diversify what I read. I like historical non-fiction. It feels real, tangible, and meaningful to me. I have to push myself to read fiction. It’s not that I do not enjoy it–I just do not seek fiction out. However, I fully grasp how important it is that I diversify the books I consume, and prevent myself from getting into a rut with the ideas I let in. Reading is good, but reading a diverse range of formats, topics, and authors is critical to my growth and intellectual evolution. I want to keep growing in my understanding of the world, not just reinforce what I already know.

My partner in crime has been the one who has opened up my eyes to this reality. It is something she mentions often, but has also backed up with a subscription to the New Yorker. Where I read a diverse range of articles from a diverse range of authors. I’ll be reading about Guantanamo Bay one day, and then find myself reading about the stories of a screenwriter who is in the mid-stages of Alzheimers another. It is my bathroom reading. She got me a subscription to help me leave my mobile phone behind as I spend time in the bathroom each day (TMI). Pushing me to read more, but also diversify my reading beyond the algorithmically purified stream of narrow consciousness available to me on the web.

My eyes have been opened to this important nutrient within my information intake, pushing me well beyond just reading fiction and non-fiction across a variety of topics. As part of this journey I was also introduced to the importance of ensuring that my default definition of diversity needs to include the stories stories by women, and people of color, as well as human beings from diverse origins. All of this is helping me realize how much I have been spoon fed a white male narrative since my youth. Ensuring that my magazine and book intake is as diverse as possible helps me unpack the narrative tracks I’ve existed on as a white man in the United States. Showing me that my perspective isn’t wrong, it is just one of a diverse range of perspectives that I can be tuning into—-enriching my life.

I’m reminded that I cannot get too comfortable in my consumption of information. The web is not enough. Books and magazines are critical, but also the diversity in topics and authorship is essential as well. I feel like television and the web has robbed me of some vital nutrients when it comes to my information intake. However, I feel like I can get in my own way when it comes to access to other vital ideas being put forth by authors who do not look like, or live as I do. This is one of the most critical learnings for me in the last 2-3 years when it comes to my consumption of information. Without true diversity in my reading, I can become just as lost as I’ve been online in recent years, or repeating television deserts of my past throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.