Shauna Niequist’s new book, I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet, is excellent: deep, immediately impactful and very insightful.
I am grateful for a mentor who, years ago, encouraged me to reflect on how I read as a way to understand what I am missing, why and how to listen and learn more from reading all types of content. In regard to books, I have three general reading practices, all of which start with reading at a very quick pace, but not all of which continue at that pace. With non-fiction, research-based books, I will first browse the index to see how well the research is collated and to get a true sense of the content. Next, I will read the acknowledgements (if in the back of the book), then the conclusion sections. If the book continues to speak, I will then read the introduction, prologue, acknowledgements (if in the front) and first chapter. Inner chapters will generally be read either only selectively, in areas where the conclusions and introduction have indicated I have listening and learning to do.
When reading a memoir, I also start at a fast pace, first reading the acknowledgements, if in the back of the book, and the epilogue, then the introduction. If the book is speaking to me, I will then dive in wholesale, either at a fast-as-possible pace (Open by Andre Aggasi) or, at a very slow pace, taking notes and pauses for reflection (Hell and Other Destinations, Madeline Albright).
I find memoirs incredibly intriguing, enjoyable, enticing, that the slow pace of an excellent memoir is very difficult! However, if growth and learning are quietly raising the “slow down” sign because growth is possible ahead, then I must heed in order to truly unlearn, relearn and learn in a way which will prove fruitful for my personal growth and evolution as well as to learn in any way which might, with all humble hope, be of benefit to those around me.
With that, I thought to try a different way of “slow reflection” through I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist: a conversation.
An imagined conversation.
Or is it?
In any case, lopsided, and to pale in comparison to a real conversation – however, perhaps a precursor to such an honor as would be a conversation with her.
For now, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup, settle in, and….listen…..