I read around four or five books a month, sometimes more. Last year I read just over 50 books and this year I’m well on my way to marching that, it not overtaking last year’s reading goal. When I was young, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and was ahead of my class in the books I was picking up and the amount of joy I got out it picking up the latest releases. Throughout my teens, I stopped reading so much as I went through all the other activities teenagers go through: socialising, partying, girls, drinking, social media-ing, video gaming etc. However, around 5 years ago I picked up The Girl On the Train when I was in-between jobs and this spurred on my love for reading again that has since seen me always have at least one book on the go for almost half of a decade now.
But why do I love reading so much? What do I get out of picking up that book and then completing it a week later? Why do I always feel the need to have a book on the go and if I don’t, I’m constantly searching for the next book to read? I’ve had a think about it and below have narrowed it down to some fundamental ideas and thoughts.
I’m sure one of the most common answers to this question is that it allows people to escape from reality but this doesn’t stop it from being just as poignant for me. Being able to pick up a book or plugin my headphones and within five minutes be in somebody else’s life or a world where the rules are different or be following a character whose pros and cons are vastly different from your own makes reading so much more fun.
We all know that as you grow older as an adult, slowly more and more things are put upon your shoulders to deal with: work becomes more mentally taxing as you progress your career; if you choose to have them, kids add an element of potential stress. Even going from being a teen to an adult, you get house bills, car taxes, more financial burdens, you have to balance your work with your social life, you have to clean the house and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, my own personal life is so much easier than I imagine many other people’s are. I’m very happy. However, all of our lives are contextual. What I may find a taxing day at work, someone else may not find so taxing. However, that shouldn’t take away my want and need to escape from that taxing day and reading allows me to do that. As aforementioned, within a few mere moments, I can be transported to a world where I’m a talented gunman or fighting a war with elemental powers or reading about pure and simple kindness in people. It’s great.
I don’t really read non-fiction. Too much of my brain is geared towards make-believe and imagination. However, this doesn’t stop the fictional books I’m reading from educating me – and I love this! I can’t even count how many times I’ve read a book and come away from it with a far better understanding of a culture, of a new set of words in my vocabulary or a better more mature understanding of how to approach situations in life.
I’ve read books that, when I’ve finished them, I’ve gone and told my closest friends and family about this new thing I’ve learned, hoping they didn’t already know it so it makes me sound intelligent and well learned! I listen to 99% of the books I finish and so picking up a new language isn’t quite as easy as when you’re physically reading a book. However, by listening to well-written novels, you definitely pick up new syntax and new sentence formulations which make your vocabulary sound larger.
It gives me something to talk about
Reading is a hobby that everybody loves to talk about. Talking about books with people makes you sound educated and is genuinely more interesting to people. Humans love to hear about stories – they love to hear about other people doing different things to them and living very different lives to their own. So talking about a book, even if it’s fiction, is an interesting story to tell.
If you’ve got friends who aren’t huge readers, you become an asset to them. When they go on that holiday once or twice a year and ask you for a book recommendation, having that large internal library of book knowledge gives you the option to sound like you know what you’re talking about. I’ve begun collecting physical books which is something I’d never thought I’d do. However, with this physical collection, I have had friends come round and scour through as I ask them what they’re in the mood for and give them recommendations as a result.
Reading books is relaxing, it allows you to settle down and focus on one thing away from whatever world you may be in. It takes you away to a place where people may be nicer, the world may be more interesting and the story of people’s lives might be more captivating. On top of this, it educates you – it builds your vocabulary, it improves your cultural knowledge and can even expand your scientific knowledge if you read sci-fi – the possibilities are endless.
If you don’t currently read, I’d recommend picking up a book and trying it. Why not visit my book reviews page, find a genre you think you might be interested in and pick a book you like the cover of?