Friday, August 19, 2011

Blog review


The book that changed my life



Confucius from the Heart
Yu Dan

Translated by Esther Tyldesley
Published by Pan Books (2010)
ISBN 978-0-330-51375-3

A short excerpt from the foreword:
“Those who benefit from the wisdom of Confucius may experience a moment’s heart-stopping enlightenment, in which understanding suddenly floods through them; equally, they may undertake a lifetime of endless study in order to attain understanding.”

First, I did not have a moment’s heart-stopping enlightenment because I couldn’t understand the book in one reading. So I read again thus two readings were okay to say I understood something from the book.

Second, the book‘s really interesting. The author tells the Analects of Confucius in a story-like way, which by far is easier to digest. She also makes use of other folk stories that she found and in a way, connects it to the analects.

Third, read and stop at times to ponder. It’s better as you let the words sink into your mind. I did and I found that the analects do make sense in modern times, especially when all you think is being financially sound.

Fourth, what affects me most is that: It isn’t just about changing the world/environment you live in, you must change yourself first. How can you help others when you yourself need help? It was a round-about question and trust me, you have to think too.

Sufficed to say, this book can open your mind. My mind did. Now, I’m learning to be patient, to see what lies behind each action. As far as I want to help others, I need to help myself first. Confucius really had it; a way to affect others, even through all these years.
***

To encourage someone to read, first I need to find out what level of reader are they. Are they the beginners, intermediate or advanced? Second, I adapt my strategy to accommodate them. Third, I let them progress by their own, with as much or as little help, as humans are more motivated by their own achievements.

For beginners, they are new to reading or perhaps they are less exposed to reading materials. Therefore, their comprehension of texts is low and may altogether wipe out their interest in reading. To assist them, it is better to expose them to a level that is appropriate. Let’s say: start with books with illustrated pictures. This helps in their understanding of the texts. As they progress in comprehension of the illustrated texts, they may be able to handle texts with less illustration. However, the texts must not be too ‘heavy’. A nice example is the Enid Blyton series. A handy sidekick at times is a dictionary, to help out with words that are new for them. It is no fun to come across an unknown word, which could spoil the text.

 
Books with illustrations

 
Some of the Enid Blyton series

For intermediate, they may want to challenge themselves by reading texts with no illustration. They may also go for the ‘thick’ books. This is motivating but sometimes could cause the opposite effect. If their patience is low in reading long texts, they might get bored and give up on finishing. It is therefore imperative to provide ‘thick’ books with large fonts. Their eyes may yet deceive them and they will realize soon about the difference in font size. By the time they found out about it, they can proceed to the real ‘thick’ books they like. It would be good to start with a thick story book. For example, the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series are good books to start on. After those, they can read some bibliography. The important thing is to keep their attention hooked on reading by providing reading materials that they are interested in.

 
One of the Harry Potter series and the 1st book for Twilight series

 
Examples of bibliography

For advanced readers, what can I say? These readers would read just about anything under the Sun. As long as it interests them in a way, they might forget day and night. However, at this level, they are more prone to reading less as they can’t find materials that interest them much. Now, thanks to modern technology, these readers can search online and widen their scope of interest. Although helpful, they must also be aware that not all online materials are credited and accounted for. Some may just be opinions and not hard facts.

By determining the level of readers, adjusting the strategy and providing reading materials that are appropriate; I am sure that these ways can encourage people to read.

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