Part A of Verbal Skill Development: Reading
We talked about reading, and how it should be the most vital activity for you. But the one question that was not answered was with regards to the nature of this reading: ‘what should you be reading?’
The first reading choice you have: Newspapers
Ask your coaching center trainer the same question and most would reply that you should be reading the editorial of ‘The Hindu’ everyday. The advice is pretty genuine but not quite up to mark. ‘The Hindu’ is one of the things that you should be reading. Better still, in this digital world, you should generally consume all your reading material online itself, and expose yourself to the best authors. The problem with ‘The Hindu’, as with other papers, is that the editorial page is not written keeping in mind a Exam taker aspirant. Reading the newspaper editorial helps but only till a certain level and the learning is never complete. What is the solution? We have two possible solutions for you:
Pick-up articles (selectively) from The Hindu, Economic Times or The Times of India on a daily basis. The Sunday editions are always the best as they offer a quick re-cap of the week as well as interesting analysis. So you can give yourself extra time to read these.
Follow individual authors, and read them online. The list of authors you could begin with include:
a. Bachi Karkaria (Times of India): Wit, humor and awesome vocabulary
b. Jug Suraiya (Times of India): For the same reasons as Bachi Karkaria
c. SA Aiyar (Times of India/ET): Rigorous Economic Analysis
d. Hasan Suroor (The Hindu): International Flavor
e. P Sainath (The Hindu): In-depth exploration of India’s rural landscape.
The above are just five from a long list of authors and bloggers you should be following.
The second reading choice you have: Books
Reading books is a religious activity, and trust me, treat it as one if you want to do well on the exam. The question again that you are faced with is what should you begin with? Well, a simple list of 15 books for you to browse through (arranged approximately in the order of difficulty, though subjective evaluation applies here):
- Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat
- Mediocre but Arrogant by Abhijit Bhaduri
- Tin Fish by Sudeep Chakravarti
- Love Story by Erich Segal
- Oliver’s Story by Erish Segal
- Bridges of Madison Country by Robert James Waller
- To Sir with Love by ER Braithwaite
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Time Machine by HG Wells
- The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
- The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
- Anthem by Ayn Rand
- We the Living by Ayn Rand
How many from this list have you read? I expect at least 1 would be answer. In case you are just beginning, pick books from this list and dig into them. The common theme of these books is that these are all short books. Yup, you heard me right. The theme, content, narrative styles and level of difficulty of these books have not been considered to generate this list. My criterion for selection was simple one: suggest thin books which in themselves become easy targets to achieve. Read all or most of these books, get some reading confidence behind yourself, and prepare yourself for some heavy reading in the coming months.