(I used a word "yet" in the title, but I'm not sure yet if that is a correct way to use it. Someone, teach me ;-)
The other day, I wrote a post about GR, GR のはなし ふたたび, at the other blog and got many comments. I myself have read some GR when I got started tadoku about a few years ago and some titles fascinated and caught me hard with moving stories. So, I'm not tying to say that you shouldn't read any GR. Yet, I suggest you to think one more time if GR is really truly necessary for your tadoku life.
I thought it was not fair to talk about GR unless I read them once again, so I tried to read one title, the history of the English language from OBW5 Factfiles, yesterday. But I just couldn't keep reading it through. Why? Because, lo and behold, there was close to nil words I don't know. No unfamiliar words in a book?!
Whenever I read non-GR, ordinary English books, I come across some new words I'm not well familiar with. I mean, in any kinds of book, and in any levels of books, such as books written in plain English, books for kids and even picture books for very small children. There are always interesting encounters of brand new unfamiliar words; that's one of the most intriguing aspects of tadoku, I think. I'll never be short of English words that some day I'd be able to understand their core meanings, and chances are, I might be using them properly in my writing. Wow, awesome!
Then, what does the fact imply that I can understand almost all the words in the book I read yesterday? What in the world is GR?
I always think GR is like a trial course to practice driving a car in Japan. You can experience what driving a car is like and you learn the most proper and decent way of driving a car. But you may not expect that you can drive well on public roads too just because you can drive well in a trial course. You've got to learn A LOT to drive on open roads. To keep driving in a trial course won't make you be able to drive on open roads, let alone, become a good driver. Can the same thing be applied to reading English books?
If you continue reading GR and once you reach to the level that you feel comfortable reading them, then it could that you get astonished with the number of unfamiliar words and expressions when you read ordinary books, and at worst, you'll lose confidence that you'll be able to read English books soon enough. You might as well feel English books are extremely difficult and you will never ever read them with ease.
Reading GR is good and might be beneficial when you have clear idea why you read them. If you're a beginner of tadoku, ok, read them. If the topic attracts you a lot, then read them. But you read them only because it seems to be the right level for you, well, it can't do great harm to your tadoku to think twice before reading it.