More and more frequently these days, I’m turning to books when I’ve got free time, when I’m stressed or when I’m just not feeling well. I think our generation were lucky in the way we grew up and were encouraged to develop a love of reading from a young age … after all there were no smartphones, tablets or, in my case, more than four television channels to distract us back then. Nowadays, reading books offers us a way back to that quiet place in our busy, digital age and it’s something that I’m trying to encourage my children to do more of. These are just some of the reasons why I think reading books is so beneficial.
Reading improves your concentration – unlike reading a news article, a Tweet or a blog post, reading a book forces you to shut out the world and to “single-task”. It requires you to invest your time into understanding the plot of a new book, to identify with characters and to explore new realms. The more you read, the more likely it is that your focus and concentration will improve.
Reading improves your mind – whether you want to learn about science fiction or essentialism, parenting or economics, there’s a vast selection of books to choose from.
Both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg, currently the 2nd and 4th richest men in the world, have said that reading is key to their success. Gates is reported to read for at least an hour a night and Zuckerburg made a resolution back in 2015 to read a minimum of one book every fortnight. (Source – the Guardian)
Reading increases your imagination and creativity – It allows, and encourages, you to explore new worlds and to broaden your horizons. To imagine and picture things in your own head, rather than just being confronted with them on a television set or screen.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin.
Reading reduces stress – researchers at the University of Sussex conducted a study in 2009, which measured the heart rate and muscle tension of participants. It illustrated that it only takes six minutes of reading for the body to start to relax. Perhaps this is why reading is so loved at bedtime, it really does help us sleep.
Reading is cheap entertainment and there are many ways to find new authors/books to enjoy – struggling to find something new to read, or even the time to read, then try out these tips:
- Instagram fans can check out the #bookstagram hashtag, a place where you’re likely to find quick reviews and book quotes, as well as beautifully staged photographs of books and anything “bookish”.
- Head over to your local library – the recent releases section is a great way to pick up new books without a heavy time/financial commitment. Or if you need it to be even quicker than that, check if your library loans ebooks/audiobooks through an app. In the UK, you can use the BorrowBox app for free.
- Goodreads is a great website to visit. Once you’ve created a list of books you’ve read, the site will recommend books of a similar style that it thinks you may enjoy.
Do you have favourite book that you’ve enjoyed recently, or maybe a favourite place that you love to cosy up with a good book on a cold day? Is it your aim to read more books or to simply find new genres to enjoy? I’d love to hear about it, please comment below if you can.
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