When I was a kid I was a gluttonous bookworm. Between romping through the woods and reading, my time was well spent. Sadly, I’m not sure I can call myself an avid reader any more. It’s not that I don’t love to read anymore, or even that I’ve stopped reading – I just don’t read as much as I’d like to. There’s far too many classic works of literature and far too little time.
But I have a plan that starts with this post – if I can nail down the best ways to get back into the habit of reading, I know it will enrich my life like it always has. So in this 2-part series, I’ll observe:
1. Why reading is important. (This post.)
2. How to read more. (“10 Reading Tips: How to Read More”)
Why is Reading More Important?
1. It slows time down: I’m not sure if everyone experiences this, but when I choose to spend my evening reading – instead of watching Netflix – the day winds down in a more relaxed, leisurely sort of way. I get surprised when I look at the time – it seems like I experience much more in a smaller period of time. When I watch shows the night flies by and before I know it, I’m waking up early the next morning thinking “did I even do anything last night?”
2. Reading sparks new ideas and inspiration: As an entrepreneur and freelance writer, fresh ideas are a must. Books and many other forms of reading help me realize new approaches to problems, find better solutions, and get excited about motivating ideas.
3. It exercises your brain: When I read well written stories, I experience things that I would never experience watching TV or vegging out on YouTube. That’s because I can’t go into veggie-mode. When I read, my mind is working; the wheels are turning and my brain is learning new things. Movies can be like this as well, but I often have to force myself to engage my mind, especially if I’m tired.
4. Reading helps people retain their independence and even their rights: The most oppressive and debilitating thing that an oppressive leader or government can do is ban literature. It’s happened repeatedly throughout history, and it’s happening today, even in the United States, the land of the free. Think about it this way. Revolutions are started to right a perceived wrong, and they only start when a large enough number of people get worked up enough over an issue (or number of issues). Writing is a form of mass communication, and if the message is about that issue (and the writing is effective), big things can happen. Movies and similar media has replaced books in mass communication, at least to a certain degree. I think that’s a bad thing because of reasons I’ve already mentioned: people are less apt to think when watching a movie. The deepest concepts in a movie are often lost to people because it’s easy to go into vegetable mode, enjoying the aesthetics and emotions invoked rather than pushing deeper into the true meaning of the screenwriting.
5. It gives great conversational material: No one wants to hear about “that great tweet [insert the celebrity who didn’t actually write the tweet in the first place here] wrote”, or your facebook status, or how many photos you can pin in an hour. That’s because those subjects are too shallow. Don’t get me wrong, many people like bringing up funny little things like that to break the ice or enegage in small talk, but a real conversation will dry up without depth. And guess where the deepest topics are observed, picked apart, and expounded on? Literature, books, and even some writing on the Internet. Make the wheels in your brain turn, and better yet, get the wheels turning in someone else’s.