“Reading is my passion, lifestyle, and the legacy that I will leave behind”
Sulaiman Al Abdulhadi is a specialized coach in reading skills and the president of Noor Al-Fikr Reading Club, founded in 2010 and affiliated with (Jalees) the National Reading Campaign. He is also the creator of the Reading Camp (to organize the reader’s time), during which he helped more than 80 people to complete the reading of their books in just two days in a more effective way than the Quick Reading Technique.
He was the former Director of the National Reading Campaign (Jalees) for two consecutive years, during which he supervised more than 30 reading clubs affiliated to the mission and 400 club members.
He considers reading as his first passion, a lifestyle and the legacy that he will leave behind.
“Al Ostoura” hosted Suleiman Al Abdulhadi and talked with him about reading and its importance in our lives and the Jalees campaign and other things.
You are a specialist in reading skills training, can you explain more about this specialty?
Each important main field in our lives has its skills, so is reading. The importance of reading skills is that it helps the reader acquire knowledge in a more effective and intelligent manner, the same skills that help everyone in any field develop himself and increase his productivity and creativity. Reading offers us the inspirational experiences of others, enlightens our path to success so we move away from ignorance, and reach our goal with awareness.
Reading skills are as diverse and varied as reading itself, and each year I discover a new skill that deserves to be highlighted. The most important of these skills is the selection of the right book, which is the most important step for effective reading. Why do we read? What do we read? How do we read and when? These are some motivating questions to understand reading and bring it closer to us. Even our relationship with reading, understanding it and how to deal with it is also skillful. Love as well has a role in the continuity of reading and increasing our knowledge.
What is the impact of reading on our lives, personality and psychology? How does it affect our world?
When reading was weakened in our societies and filled with things of lowest levels of importance, everything in our world has declined, not only at the social level, but also at the level of personality and identity, what reading can do is very dangerous. That is why some regimes in the region are blocking readers and writers alike, because they do not want a conscious, educated and rebellious citizen. Reading has many gifts: the experiences of others, eloquent language, fertile imagination, deep understanding, and all human cultures and ideas. All these gifts contribute to the formation of an independent and influential personality.
“When we lose the habit of reading, we lose not only our social & intellectual ability to analyses & adapt to all the changes around us! We lose our personal identity as well”.
How can we prepare ourselves for reading with the beginning of the year? What are the best ways to love reading?
He who is planning for his next coming year is a person who appreciates his time and his days in this world. And if reading takes a part of his time, it will have a great impact and a serious change in his life. Let us choose for ourselves a set of books we want to read, write down some relative targets, and assign time to each book. Let’s try to be friends with books during our new year, and give them the opportunity to change us.
The love for books is like human love, the standards of love in both are very similar, but the love for books is much easier than human love.
“Books do not judge us. They give us an opinion as a suggestion only. Regardless of how long we leave books, we can always go back to them at times of need without any issues. We can give them at any time –unlike our relationship with humans”.
How can we acquire and strengthen a daily reading habit?
We must first be aware of the benefits and feel the benefit of any new habit we want to acquire; we have to adjust to it with patience and love, and look forward to the fruits that will derive from it. We have to imagine ourselves in it and love the situation we are in, we have to be well prepared for the habit and be aware of the changes that it will impose on our lives, we have to reward ourselves in order to establish the habit, the habit is associated with love and a sense of comfort, and above all we have to change the mental image of the reader and the reading mental image, we have to replace negative images with positive ones.
How do we choose the right book from a huge amount of books in libraries?
Three golden words must be remembered in this regard: Research… Exploration… Adventure… We must be in a constant search for all that suits us in books, to discover the worlds of reading and choose what fits us best, to accept the disappointments of some of our choices as we accept the best in them. Fear is usually what stops us from picking the suitable book. But even in the bad picking there is a positivity (we find out that we don’t like the book and the author). We have to know the book’s title, examine the design of its cover, look at the index and check the table of contents, then read the introduction and the background cover. We need to get to know the book better, as if we are getting to know a new friend.
“Three golden words we need to put in mind when looking for suitable books: Research, Exploration & Adventure”.
What attracted you to the “Jalees” reading club? Tell us more about your personal experience with this club?
Being a member of “jalees” reading club since its first year of establishment is an honor to me and an extraordinary addition to my personal life. It is a place that brings together readers under one umbrella and connects them with one passion, it’s a dream I hoped one day to see real. I lived for a long time in a real isolation between my books, until the reading club was founded. The reading club does not see that there is a reading crisis as long as there are young Kuwaiti people who read and invite people to read. My experience with “jalees” is one of my most wonderful experiences in my life, it gave me a new personality and a more human sense of understanding and awareness, it introduced me to a group of educated young people, and it is enough for me that “jalees” awarded me my wonderful wife that I met in one of the reading sessions.
We tried loving humans but got bad things and wounds in return. Why not try loving books instead?”
What is the people reaction towards the reading club “jalees”?
Thank God. The interaction is great and increasing every year. Now we are entering our eighth year. The reading clubs in the State of Kuwait represent Kuwait’s culture. In Kuwait, reading clubs are increasing and gaining fame, and in the coming years we will witness, in my opinion, a real cultural revolution supported by a radical change in society at all levels.
Are people still reading? Is the book still the best companion in the era of technology?
Yes, certainly, our societies never lacked of readers, but the intention of weakening readers and reading through generations and years of systematic programming, has contributed to instilling the image that our societies do not read. And I say it defying everyone. If our society does not actually read as it is being claimed, there was no need to create a reading club as “jalees, which has been going on for 8 years now. If there were no readers, the reading club would have failed in its first year.
What are your interests and other skills?
I am a lover of foreign movies and series. I am a fan of science fiction, space and superhero movies. I am an admirer of Japanese anime, and I do not hide my love for the Japanese language, which I know some of its words, and understand few of its conversations. I love art and I consider myself a semi-expert in the art of the 19th century. I have passed through most of the artists of that beautiful century, which witnessed a revolution in painting techniques that art scholars still benefit from till this day.
What is your message in this life?
My message: To be free we have to read, and free ourselves from the patterns and stereotypes of traditional thinking… To read is to be more beautiful and look at the world with the vision of the creative thinker… Everyone can be a reader if (he wants so)… Reading is not exclusive to anyone…
What are your future ambitions?
The ambitions are many, all concentrated on the field of reading and knowledge, and the most important thing in the short term is to write my first book about reading, and this is what I am working on right now but with slow and stumbling steps, I ask God to facilitate my mission.
Reading leaves a great impact. When lie down and read a book, not only would you be changing yourself, but the whole world. Changing one person is like changing the entire