Curling up with a good book can have other benefits besides being an enjoyable activity in itself. Image courtesy of taesmileimage at freedigitalphotos.net
Many people enjoy reading; however in the middle of our busy lives, it can feel self-indulgent to curl up with a good book. However, with all the positives that can come from taking the time to read, it is worthwhile every now and then to treat yourself!
1. I’ve heard the quote “the better readers invariably make the better writers”. Many of us like the idea of expressing ourselves better in the written form. Being exposed to different sentence structures, vocabularies and the verbal art makes you a better writer.
2. It’s relaxing. Even if what you are reading is a murder mystery you are highly involved in, it may be a lot more calming than doing the taxes or performing jobs for work!
3. As a corollary of 2, reading before bed, at least I have found that reading can lead to a good night’s sleep. Other people I know have mentioned to me they have a similar soporific feeling brought on by reading.
4. It stimulates your imagination. As adults, we can forget what it is like to imagine life as being different, and become rather matter-of-fact about life. Just like a ride at an amusement park, let a book take you on a fantasy ride by letting giving your imagination free reign for a while. Feeding your imagination is another factor that improve writers' output as it can prompt other original creative ideas.
5. It’s something you can do alone. If you are away from your partner, friends or family, this is a past-time where you only need yourself!
6. It can lead to improved vocabulary. Keep a book or thesaurus beside you and every word you don’t understand you can look up. For writers, this can also improve what you produce, again due to exposure to a wide range of language.
7. You increase your general knowledge in the case of non-fiction.
8. It’s enjoyable – most of us have our favourite genres, and whether it’s guessing whodunit in a murder mystery, laughing uproariously at humorous genre feeling empowered from self-help books,, or becoming one with the characters in books that involve the emotions, we have chosen the kind of book that naturally we gain the most pleasure from.
9. It’s something you can talk to others about, particularly avid readers – you can compare books you have read, just as movie buffs talk about movies. You can swap books if these people are good friends.
10. It can be a source of ideas about which you can write. Whether it be a self-help book that prompts an offshoot of ideas that is different from what you are reading, but you feel is a worthwhile topic in itself, there can be a domino effect where one thought leads to another. Before you know it there are a pool of subjects to write about.
Many fiction writers do a lot of research and include "true facts" in their books, meaning there is learning there. My most memorable being that there is a town (I think in Appalachia in the USA) where the underground is still burning years (maybe generations) after a fire started in a mine.