Welcome to Kaizen Reading – a place for people who love books, or those who wish they did. This is where I will record my challenge to read 225 books, and write an essay about each one of them before my 35th birthday. However, even though it’s my challenge, Kaizen Reading is about more than that.
Kaizen is a Japanese concept.
Kai = change
Zen = better
Kaizen means change for the better, usually translated as Continuous Improvement.
Kaizen Reading is about continuous improvement through the great art of reading.
Here, I hope to explore literature in all its glory. Reading for the joy of it, reading for inspiration, reading for learning, reading to improve my writing, and reading for a sense of achievement – all of which combine together to move you higher towards your individual potential.
My name is Dolly Garland, and I’m the creator and writer here. I was first introduced to the joy of reading at the age of 8. I spent about three months bed-ridden, first because of Typhoid, and then because of an accident which fractured my left leg, and took a great deal of meat out of my left arm. Being forced to stay in bed for a quarter of the year is not fun at any age, and certainly not for a child. A reprieve from boredom came in the guise of books.
Our neighbour was a librarian who brought me books, and some of the family friends started bringing books when they came to visit me. I discovered books beyond text books. I discovered the pleasure of stories. Since then, I haven’t stopped.
It started with children’s books. I was reading all the time. I even “corrupted” my sister and my cousins by reading at the dinner table, so they started doing it too. But it wasn’t until I was 15, that my casual friendship with books turned into a lifelong love affair.
I’d to wait for my dad to finish work after school, so he could pick me up. He asked me to wait in a friend’s store nearby, but instead, on most days, I would go to the Elizabeth Public Library in New Jersey. It was the biggest library I’d seen. There were all these books, and I could read as many as I wanted. That was it. I was irrevocably committed to this relationship with books.
As the years progressed, my love of books only deepened. Now, I have my own, increasing collection of hundreds of books, which I look upon with the same fondness as some people look at their children or pets or paintings that cost millions of dollars. Buying new books is my favourite form of shopping. Reading and re-reading them is my favourite leisure activity.
But books are so much more than that for me. I’m even more addicted to books than I’m to coffee, and that’s saying something. I have read continuously outside the required curriculum since I was 15, and that has not stopped.
In July 2009, it finally occurred to me to keep a list of what I read, so since then I’ve been keeping track. [You can check them out here, if you are curious: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012] My reading lists, and the changes in them say so much to me about where I was at each stage in life, and what I was going through.
I’ve started Kaizen Reading, because I know I am not the only one. I know there are many of you out there who feel the same way about books. I hope we can gather here, and share our stories.
Another reason for Kaizen Reading is to inspire those who would like to read more, or learn to look at the books as more than a chore. Kaizen Reading is a place where I want to inspire people to see reading as an art, as an essential skill, and as a stream of pleasure pouring from the fountain of knowledge.
I hope that with your support, Kaizen Reading will continue long after my 225 books challenge is complete.
P.S. I also run Kaizen Journaling, a place where I teach people how to use journaling for personal and professional development. Check it out if you are interested.