Sometimes, reading books gets tiring. It’s just true. You long for something snappy, some instant information, something to make you think but that doesn’t take hours. Well, look no further. Here is a list of nine things you can read that aren’t fiction books.
1. Academic Journals
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Discover all the branches of education you never cared about or had time to study in school by accessing the countless academic journal databases available to you. Some require a university login but there are many free databases such as the Social Science Research Network, JURN, and the Directory of Open Access Journals to keep you informed. A full list of over 100 free journals can be found here so you can research to your heart’s desire from a range of topics from Women’s Studies to Geography to Biology to Probability.
2. Exhibition Walls
Take yourself out on a date to a local museum and between artworks read the accompanying snippets of information carefully written and arranged for us by professional museum curators.
Interpretative Labels tell stories too, they are not fact lists but contain a narrative. On my recent trip to the Whitney Museum of Modern American Art in Manhattan, I took a picture of this label that accompanied the art of John Steuart Curry, Arshile Gorky and James Van Der Zee.
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All my friends who have their shit together tell me they take time to read the newspaper while they have their breakfast. Getting into the habit of reading a well informed newspaper provides a great sense of educational value. You will remain informed about everything from politics to the economy, to entertainment, sports, business, industry and trade. Move outside the narrow zone of your personal interests and affairs and sharpen your thinking skills by picking up the paper once in a while. If you get bored of reading about commerce and property, you can always take a whack at the crosswords and sudoku waiting for you near the end, for banter.
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Object and subject specific, encyclopedias are excellent for short, reliable background information, brief biographies, hard facts and statistics. They are great places to start research. Historically, The Encyclopedia Britanica (which you may have a collection of in your house) was our modern day Wikipedia. Written by 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors, the bulk of the Britannica is devoted to Geography (26%), Biography (14%) Biology and Medicine (11%), Art (4%), Western Philosophy (4%) and Law (3%). However, today, people view this book as outdated due to it being judged by the “range, depth and catholicity of coverage being unsurpassed by any other general Encyclopaedias”.
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Studying maps can be a very eye opening and rewarding pastime. Making maps even more so. Although they are generally very expensive to buy, you can browse atlases at your local library or at your school and wade through a mass of information such as illustrated maps, information on climate change, the world economy, human migration and special sections for Oceans, Space, Flags and Facts. Soon they will become the book you cant put down.
6. Travel Diaries
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Are you experiencing an itch? A travel bug? Are you tired of reading books about people and want to mix it up a little and read books about places? Look no further than these travel diaries and blogs to get you in the travelling spirit, ready to taken on the wonderful world around you. They’re sure to give you a serious case of wanderlust.
7. Your Old Diary Entries
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If you are like me and you have a stack of about 15 diaries that document every tiny minute detail of your teenage and young adult life then you will know how cringy yet heartwarming it is to read something you wrote so many years ago, something that is very much a distant memory but can immediately be brought back into your conscience.
Keeping a diary teaches you the importance of the written word. For example, when I’m thirty and I read in my diary; “Anna and I stayed up for three days eating Ben and Jerrys ice cream and playing Halo,” I’ll wonder if it’s entirely true or not, did I leave anything out, why were we awake so long? Yet today I know exactly why: We were high on sugar and addicted to a video game and loved it more than sleep; simple as. Taking the time to delve into the box of old diaries and have a read about your former self can be very grounding and always entertaining.
8: Bathroom Stall Walls
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There’s nothing quite like paying a visit to the wittiest bathroom within a mile radius of yourself and it sending you down the deepest curiosity hole of your young adult life. There is much to be said about the minds of people lucky enough to have a marker on them in a moment of sheer brilliance. Pay attention to what people want you to read on your bathroom stall walls, guys. You may learn a thing or two about the strangers who share the same love for your local coffee shop as you do.
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From the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn, NY to the Graffiti seen down on Mission in San Francisco and every neighborhood in between, most cities in the US and if not the world have their fair share of graffiti encrypting their walls. Although many people are under the impression that graffiti is unacceptable as a form of vandalism, others view it as an essential art form made up of creative writing in color. In many ways the choice to stop and read peoples graffiti is an ode to understanding the social structure of the place you are reading it in.
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