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

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

11 Inspiring Writing Quotes for Writers of All Persuasions

Some writing quotes sound like common wisdom–but others sparkle and inspire. In this post, I want to share with you some of my favorite all time writing quotes–words of wisdom that can improve our writing, whether we’re writing essays at school, emails at work, letters to our penpals, or articles or novels for a living.

Continue reading “11 Inspiring Writing Quotes for Writers of All Persuasions”

Why It’s Good to Read Books You Don’t Necessarily Like

We tend to stick to reading books we enjoy—whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, a specific genre, or a particular author.

No surprise since our mind likes patterns, predictable outcomes, familiar experiences over unfamiliar ones.

But isn’t it bad to read mostly the same things?

The ideas we pick up from our reading consolidate our biases and existing ideas.

If we don’t encounter different ideas, the ideas we already have can never be challenged and thus improved. The horizon of our thinking stays relatively narrow.

The trouble is that today, when the sheer amount of books on the market is overwhelming, we tend to use our preferences as filters when choosing books.

It’s easier to read books within our field of interest that reinforce our existing ideas, and which we can safely presume we will enjoy when we pick them off the shelf, than risk our time reading books outside our established interests.

But being adventurous when it comes to reading can be interesting and beneficial.

It may give us a broader grasp of the world and help us find creative solutions to problems.

And it will improve our store of knowledge–even if we gain practical knowledge, it can improve our conversation.

books in an open market

For many years I tended to read mostly dead authors. If their books stood the test of time, then it means there’s something valuable in them, I thought.

These days I try to be less of a book snob.

For every few fiction books or non-fiction books on familiar topics, I choose a book my time-conscious self would not necessarily choose.

Right now, I’m reading a math book—and finding it quite interesting despite my limited knowledge of the topic.

Pi’s endless decimals or the Fibonacci sequence or the golden ratio… Each of them fascinating in its own way.

Are the benefits of reading widely different books tangible?

Not necessarily.

But our neurons work harder and establish more connections.

And often, it’s through encountering challenging and contradictory ideas that we can best find out what we think and where we stand in the matter.

Maybe you spend an hour reading every day. Or may you don’t have that much time.

Regardless of the answer, I say give different books a chance—even if they are not your usual cup of tea.

You may be pleasantly surprised.

And even if you’ll struggle a bit to read something foreign to your interests, it’s good brain exercise.

Until next post!