Reading to Rest the Mind


Today I did something I have not done in a long time.

I read fiction.

I read fiction that I didn’t have to read.

I read fiction that was not a client’s submission or a potential author I’m considering representing.

I didn’t skim the book. I read every word.

beach 2011

I purposely put aside all the other reading I “have” to get done on vacation and got lost in a story under an umbrella on the beach. I had no idea how much I needed to rest my mind from going into so many different directions, even if was just for a few hours.

When did you last take time to read a novel? When was the last time you got lost in a story?

If you had asked me that a few days ago, I would not have known how to answer it. I hope you don’t take as long as I did to rest your mind on a good story.

  • I try to read fiction just as much as I read leadership or Christian or other non-fiction books. I’ve found that novels and stories refresh me and stir my creative in ways other books aren’t able. Ideally, I read a leadership/non-fiction book followed by a fiction book, so I’m reading fiction just as much.

    • That’s a great strategy Jason. The fact you read books at all it’s more than most men in America.

  • I’m sorry Maurilio I can’t do that! There’s something about fiction that just seems a waste of time! I guess I need help in this area of my life. I’m like Jason, I read book after book after book on leadership, but unlike Jason I don’t read any fiction as a balance. My wife even gets on my case about this and rightly so!
    Thanks so much for the challenge though. 

    • I understand that, Dave. That’s always my reasoning for not reading it. But it’s amazing what it does for my creativity and thinking processes.

  • This past week, “Pride and Prejudice” – for the first time.  And yes, I thought the same thing!  Oh how long it has been since I was lost in a good story not about me!

    • Lord have mercy! My wife has made me watch Pride and Prejudice several times (the 8-hour BBC version nonetheless). I will not be reading it anytime soon.

  • Tami Heim

    My favorite thing to do on every vacation. Sand, waves, and a great book. Awwwwwwwwe. Enjoy my friend!

    • I’m having a good time on the sand; however, my family doesn’t hang out at the beach much. They prefer watching the water from the condo’s balcony.

  • Steven Shantz

    I like to read fiction when I’m on a long international flight. My brain is usually too tired after many hours of travel to read “serious” books, so I indulge in some action thriller – just for fun. It helps that 16 hour flight from Hong Kong to Newark go by quicker.

    • Yes the 16-hour Hong Kong to Newark flight! That’s the best time to read a long novel. As a matter of fact, I read two or three books on one of those trips.

  • I spent a fair bit of my week at the beach lost in nineteenth century Paris with David McCullough’s new The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. A delightful romp, refreshing and intriguing, but not fictional.

    On the other hand, my last two fiction reads: The Man Who Was Thursday (G.K. Chesterton) and The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) were provocative and challenging in the extreme.

    There is a reason Jesus told stories. A reason why, when God needed David to hear difficult truth, he sent a storyteller. Artfully told stories carry truths to deep places inside us, past our defenses and preconceptions, into the very essence of our being. C.S. Lewis warned those who would remain atheists to be very careful about what they read.

    I understand your point, and applaud your decision to choose something outside your usual categories, to whatever end. To those who exclusively read books they find “of use”, I wonder if you might be neglecting important places in your soul, in your character, that could use a good story; whether to rest and refresh your mind, or to call out in you something you do not yet know is there.

    Thx, Maurilio, for making me think. Enjoy your time away.

    • I appreciate the fact you’re always reading great literature. Thanks for the encouragement. I need to be more balanced, and my reading habits reflect that.

  • I was a voracious reader (easy to do when you sell books) That is until I started writing last August.  Suddenly I found it hard to split my mind between excersing it and nourishing it.  I miss it terribly.  I try to slip it in there when I can.  After burning myself out in the 80’s on a steady diet of “Self-Help/Leadership” books, I tend to avoid those now and consciously mix it up…a biography here, a Thriller there, a love story somehwhere over there, and David Sedaris and the like whenever I can get my clammy hands on one.  I’m currently reading Jonathan Acuff’s “Stuff Christians Like”. (I haven’t laughed that much and out loud…and I apologize if I scared any of my bathroom stall bretheren).   I was just thinking I want to go ahead and write 2-3 weeks worth of material  this week so I can have that time to read something…I’ve got a lot to catch up on. 

    • The more I read, the better I write. Also reading fiction has a way of infusing creativity in my brain like nothing else does, and yet, I neglect it. Go figure.

  • Anonymous

    This spring we were on a cruise that ended in Key West, so we visited the Hemingway house. I read Movable Feast about EH’s early years in Paris and his interactions with other notable authors…really interesting and it was easy to rest and read this…reading fiction is my favorite way to sabbath

  • Mark McPeak

    I bought two paperbacks at Sam’s Club and will be reading them on Santa Rosa Beach next week – I can’t wait. I hope you can get away, rest and relax.

    • I have my parents and sister along with my family. Sometimes I want to get away, rest and relax. 🙂

  • I try to mix some fiction work in with all of the other books I am reading. On vacation that is all I read. I just finished Clive Cussler’s Crescent Dawn.

    • That’s a good strategy, Adam. I’m with you on vacation reading.

  • Mitch Bolton

    I’ve just recently started reading more fiction, and making sure to read through some each night especially if I was up late working. I recently realized the same thing you did, it disengages me from my work and allows my brain to just dream. Far more engaging than a movie or a tv show.

    • Reading forces our minds to create the world in which the book characters live. Every detail is generated in our brain as oppose to watching something on tv that’s pre-digested.

  • Maurilio, what fiction did you read today?  

    I am not a much of a fiction reader, but I completely agree that it is just what I need to read when I need a completely different perspective.  After reading 30 or so really good non-fiction books so far this year, I was excited to try something a little out of the ordinary for me, so I started reading The Hunger Games this weekend…totally different for me, and I am loving it!

    • I read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It took a while to get going, but then it became very interesting.

  • Anonymous

    I desperately miss getting lost in a good book. (And to think I have a Kindle that could potentially hold hundreds!) So I did just that the other day. I bought Wicked from the iBook store last week and can’t wait to dig in to Oz. Yes, last week. Now to actually make myself read and get lost in it! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Good for you. I haven’t read Wicked but saw the play on Broadway a few years back. Great story line!

  • Bsh031

    I tend to go back and forth between fact and fiction. I just cannot take in too much factual information. The mind has to be free every once in a while. So I go back and forth pretty much all the time.

  • Sam J

    Build successful companies armed with decades of business wisdom compiled in these pages.Chk out

Share “Reading to Rest the Mind” by Maurilio Amorim


Delivered by FeedBurner