This month at The Bibliotaph, our focus has been on school, education, learning outside of a schoolroom, finding new hobbies and passions, and loving learning. We’ve talked about textbooks, about American classics, about charities, and about books about school. We’ve covered more school-related topics than I honestly thought I could scheme up and in that process, I’ve come to appreciate just how much books can teach us.
I think I truly discovered the amount of learning that can be done out of school shortly before I graduated from college. I had recently taken an academic interest in two topics: pornography and eating disorder. I decided that I was going to read as much as I could to better understand these topics.
It was somewhat difficult to find books on pornography (especially at a Christian university), but I ended up finding a couple and hurried through them. The books on eating disorders were equally fascinating and I quickly made it through a few of those as well. I had never realized that non-fiction could be just as captivating as fiction and that I could spend so much time mulling over the information laid out in the books I read.
Since that time, I’ve become increasingly interested in nonfiction, beginning with books on my favorite deceased musician, David Bowie, working my way through some feminist-themed nonfiction, and then eventually reading countless memoirs as I went back to school. I’ve loved seeing how much I’ve learned in my time away from school and how much that knowledge is now benefitting me.
I have a friend who it seems like knows everything. No matter what topic is brought up, she seems to know more than anyone else in the room and have a strong opinion on the topic. I once asked her how she knew so much about everything and she told me, “I read a lot.” She went on to explain that, while she was raising her children, she felt like books and online articles were her only connections to the outside world and that reading made her feel like a part of that world, even when she felt like raising kids was more like solitary confinement.
I’ve been thinking on this conversation a lot since we spoke and I’ve come to realize that I want to be like that - I want to be so well-read and so invested in the things I’m reading that I’ll be able to know a little about a lot of things and that I’ll be a better member of society because of it. School will help with that a lot, but, ultimately, school will end again and I’ll be back to seeking that knowledge for myself. In the end, it’ll be up to me to read and gather that knowledge on my own. I plan on having an endless time in the nonfiction section of the library, reading and learning everything in sight.
What books have you read to learn more? How do you learn outside of school? How do books assist your learning processes?