One thing that I gained and never lost from my childhood was the love of reading. All throughout my schooling, I always had a book of some sort to read when we had downtime in class. Besides the fact that I consistently tested in the 99% percentile for reading comprehension in elementary school (which was considered “college level”), I didn’t dread the mandatory reading time in class like many of my peers.
I didn’t understand the downright loathing and hatred some guys had towards picking up a book. They’d constantly pick up “easy” stuff with lots of pictures and maybe rotate in a Matt Christopher sports-hero book for flavor. To be fair, I did read some lighter fare in the Goosebumps series or those Choose Your Own Adventure books, but that wasn’t my go to when choosing something to read.
Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, and if you look at it as a chore or need an inducement to do so, you likely won’t read at all.
Many writers in the Manosphere stress that you should read “the great books by/of great men,” which I agree with. What I do disagree with is the next part they usually tack on, the “misinterpret the message and historical time period of the author, and then repackage it through your modern-day worldview.”
This is the wrong way to approach these works.
A man born hundreds of years ago has entirely different social morals, outlook, cultural mindset, and in a lot of cases, religion, than someone who was born recently. You also have to account for the time and place that this man was born in. Someone born into a patrician Roman family has a very different worldview than his plebeian counterpart.
You can in many cases apply the things written about in these older books to our modern world. So-called “timeless” advise does exist and is applicable.
However, most things you read about are not applicable to modern-day life. Chivalrous “courtly love” won’t help you in dating. An Ancient Roman remedy for an illness will be much less effective than a modern antibiotic. Following an old code of honor and respect will probably get you burned in today’s underhanded “fuck you, I got mine” culture.
Always keep in mind the context of the writing in the historical period that you’re reading about.
Now you may be thinking, “well, what should I read then?” Here’s the thing, if the book sounds interesting, go and read it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Just because a guy you’ve never met on the internet says that a book is good doesn’t mean you should automatically go and pick it up even though you’re not too keen on it.
Like I mentioned above, reading should be an enjoyable experience. You get to be immersed in new and far off worlds, or learn something new about a specific time period. Also, there’s the added benefit of noting how an author constructs their story, which can possibly help your own writing in the process.
Besides, why would you want to waste your time doing something you really don’t like just because everyone else does it?