If you’re here because you feel you are not a good reader- stop. Breathe, and take it easy.
By the time you have finished reading this article, I hope you see the benefits for yourself of picking up a book, getting immersed in it, and coming out of it that much wiser, sharper and knowledgeable.
Of all of the regrets I’ve seen people go through in life, the most common, endearing, and situational regret I’ve heard is “I wish I read more books.” I have been a voracious reader ever since I can remember. Reading came to me intrinsically; a lonely childhood, a looming sense of few riches, an extremely inquisitive mind, supportive reading propagators, all of these just made reading that much more important to me personally. And I couldn’t be gladder today of one thing than that of my love for reading and writing.
Not everyone sails the same boat though – a billion lives can be different in a billion ways. If you truly want to be a good reader though, taking these points into consideration might be a good starting point.
1. Because reading is an activity you do for yourself
Reading is a great hobby, with no real side effects other than you getting thoroughly lost in a book. However, often, the ways we are taught to read, and the reasons we are told reading is important couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most schools will teach you to read so that you can study, score marks and do well on an exam. Almost nobody tells you that the biggest takeaway is that you now have an educated, personal opinion on something that’s important in the world. If you feel this way, pick a book of your liking, and try forming an opinion on what you read. You’ll instantly see why books make you a better person.
2. Because every page you read is a step away from ignorance
Unless you are reading an absolute garbage piece of literature, you can be assured that every bit of information that you get from a book will always fill you with things to ponder, to become aware of and feel emotional about. When you read a piece of nonfiction, for example, you are diving headfirst into the thoughts, experiences and often, aspirations of the writer, and getting perspective that will possibly help you in your future. On the other hand, reading fiction fills you up with an unending world of possibilities, in which your mind and thoughts are architects with almost no boundaries.
3. Because mental strength > physical strength
Probably the most controversial point on this otherwise sober list, reading books is the equivalent of taking your brain to the gym for a thorough workout. Now, while both of these strengths have their own space, it’s not difficult to see that physical strength often gets a lot more importance in human life, even more so, if you are a male. While ‘might is right’ may be a fair idiom from time to time, being a book reader will often make you pause, question your motives, and make you use more resources than you are used to.
4. Because the brain synthesizes the best magic when it gets used to reading
There’s no one way to define perfection, but we can all agree that we always wish for a little more magic in our lives; that we made more of the opportunities before us or had the ability to be the best versions of ourselves. There’s perhaps no better supply of immersive magic than being drawn into an almost or actually imaginary world of a book, where the characters are more ‘you’ than you may know yourself to be, facing those very situations that make you wish for redemption, for the characters and yourself.
5. Because you learn to “get grammared, not hammered”
No matter where you are from, or what language holds importance to you, one thing is sure: there’s little respect for the person who lets go of grammar, sentence formation and the nuances of a language because of laziness, or a prolonged habit of not being an active reader. Reading actively causes your mind to consciously and subconsciously take in the elements of a language. This helps you become more fluent with it, and in turn, affects your everyday interactions with people positively.
6. Because you find yourself more in check with your emotions with books
Reading a book can be quite an emotional journey. Most avid readers read as much because they almost ‘selfishly’ look at their own emotional gains out of lapping information from a book. A book is that connecting factor that illustrates an emotive world between the thoughts and words of a writer, and a reader, who is either looking for a validation of their own thoughts, or to be overwhelmed by such thoughts that strike, empathy, compassion, hatred and a bunch of other emotions.
7. Because every once in a while, a book teaches you this wonderful trait called ‘escapism’
All of us wish life to be one constant climb up a ladder of success and happiness. but reality often has other plans for us and those around us. Life can get extremely upsetting and overwhelming, and in times like this, books provide the solace, the depth and the escape that can make us face our days better. In the quietness of reading a book, you get the time to relax, re-evaluate and rejuvenate yourself off more trying times.
8. Because your analytical skills are set to get a lot sharper when you start reading
Reading books gives you the opportunity to spend time understanding the many intricacies that life holds. All book-writing, ultimately, is a representation of life. Hence, when you read something that makes you learn something new or reminds you of old knowledge that you have always held, you reassure yourself that the beliefs and decisions you hold true are sound beliefs and decisions.
9. Because there are few joys, like finding your ‘personal’ thoughts expressed by a total stranger
I personally believe the greatest benefit of reading books is understanding how total strangers can feel the exact same things as you and express it so well in words. When a writer captures your time, imagination and interest, you will realize that you draw multiple parallels with the story ultimately, and your own life and interests. For example, I love horror as a theme, in real life and as a subject of literature. In every Stephen King book I now read, I already know that the writer and I share the same threads of madness, fear, and dread. That connect is perhaps a rare interest, but it still works for millions of horror lovers across the planet.
10. Because nothing ignites a thought process better than a continued reading on a bunch of topics
If you are not a regular reader, and yet have reached this point in the article, I am pretty sure it is purely because you see the benefits reading potentially has on you. In this modern age of quick snackable content, it is easy to be connected to little-disconnected titbits of information rather than themes and subjects that hold value, and mold us into what we are. Take the time to find what interests you. And when you do find your niche (which you will, I promise), the benefits are manifold, with one of the best being you are no longer a non-reader.
11. And finally, because you learn to get inspired and be so much more of yourself
Remember, the ultimate aim of reading is to take yourself on a journey of discovery, understanding, knowledge, beauty, pain, sheer joy, and so much more. More often than not, a good book will make you realize that it’s not the content of the book that matters; that’s subjective. What it will actually show you objectively is who you are, what directions your interests lie in, and make you look at your life from an ‘award-winning, life-changing, happiness-inducing’ point of view. And in that lies much happiness.
Pick a book. Make the plunge. Happy reading 🙂
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