On Reading Every Day

woman reading in the evening in darkly lit room painting

Reading, not because we have to, but because we want to, is one of life’s pleasures.

Maybe you’ve noticed this too: people who read often live more deeply and are nicer to be with than those who quit reading after finishing school. Nihilistics excluded.

There are more things out there for us to read than there have ever been—books, ebooks, blog posts, articles, social media content, the list goes on.

But at the same time, reading isn’t the easiest thing to do. Not when social media, Netflix, or video games are only a device away. Not when we can do 999 other things instead.

Many activities look more fun than reading, especially when reading stops being a habit. Reading happens in our mind, not on a screen. It requires concentration, energy, patience.

For many of us, reading starts as something we are told to do at school.

It’s closely associated with the effort of assimilating information that comes with education.

Back in my school days, I hardly read anything.

It was more fun to play video games, watch sports, or play football with my friends.

The books they gave us to read at school weren’t fun. Or maybe it was the way they were presented and how we had to dissect them that took the magic out of them.

In my case, discovering the joy of reading was a personal journey that only began after distancing myself from public education.

My days now would be sadder without reading—I would feel not reading as a bothering physical sensation, a pebble in my shoe. Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much.

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Charles Baudelaire

As adults, many of us say we don’t have time to read—we got so many other things to do.

But reading is not something we need a lot of time for.

Often, we don’t even need to set aside time for reading.

We can read in between other activities: while waiting, while resting or relaxing, while preparing to go to sleep.

Most of us have a sense that reading is good for us—for our minds, as a way to relax, to acquire knowledge.

One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.

Carl Sagan

And yet we often don’t read as much as we’d like, either because we don’t have time or because we’re not in the mood. When we’re not in the mood, it’s usually to do with low mental energy or simply not being able to focus.

Having a reading list can inspire us to read more and keep us motivated to explore books beyond our current reading taste.

An ebook reader makes reading on the go easier. It also makes read at night easier on the eyes thanks to the built-in light.

Being in a reading group can also be a good idea, and there are plenty online.

Reading as a daily habit can have a wonderful effect on us, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

I mean reading for pleasure, what we want, without having to for school or work.

Whether it’s a story, a nonfiction book, or a how-to article, reading will make us venture off the daily rut of our habits into the great world of written text.

Word after word, sentence after sentence, our world will gain more depth, the horizons of our thinking will broaden, and we’ll discover new experiences, new possibilities.

Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.

Jeanette Winterson

***

How much do you get to read these days? Half an hour? More?

5 thoughts on “On Reading Every Day

  1. I agree: Reading books is certainly one of life’s pleasures. To slip inside a world that someone else has conjured, to see a world from someone else’s eyes — it’s fantastic. I usually read around an hour a day, more on the weekends.

  2. In the beginning of this year, I started reading everyday for a minimum of 21 minutes a day. It’s this challenge from the Happiness Project website (gretchenrubin.com) called the #read21in21 challenge. It’s pretty doable. I usually read before going to bed. Nowadays I can’t complete my day unless I read. Honestly I wished I picked up that habit in the beginning of the pandemic…but back then I did not think we would be in this pandemic for this long.

  3. Such a precious post! I relate so much. I’ve always loved reading and spent much times with books. Even all through college, I tried my best to stick with it (and I have!). Times are hard and everything is weird but reading is calming and constant and I try everyday to read for half an hour at least.

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