Well, here are some points showing why you should rediscover the benefits of a bit of extensive reading.
Reading is knowledge and the more knowledge you have, the better prepared you are to deal with life’s challenges. It concerns me if I enter someone’s house and there are no books. Where do they get their information? TV? The internet?
Also, the more you read, the more your vocabulary will expand. If you have a wide vocabulary and well-developed lexicon with a good understanding of grammar, you will find that this will open doors, and having self-confidence will be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. Those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a range of topics tend to gain promotion quicker than those with limited vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, as well as scientific and artistic breakthroughs, and political events.
Reading books will also open up other languages for you, because our language is littered with words from other cultures that we often take for granted. In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of other writers. Exposure to well-written work has a notable effect on one’s own writing, as observing cadence, fluidity and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.
Reading keeps you mentally stimulated and studies have shown that this can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and dementia, as keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from effectively shutting down. The brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so reading, as well as completing puzzles and playing games such as chess is helpful with cognitive stimulation.
Modern life throws a lot of stress at us but if you get lost in a story what better way to de-stress? A well-written novel (or a factual book) will take you to other worlds. An engaging news article or feature, on the other hand, will keep you in the present moment, but distract you from personal issues, letting tensions drift away, and allowing you to gain some calm in your life.
There's a lot to remember when reading, but brains are incredible organs and can remember extensive details better than you may think. When reading a novel for example, you have to remember many characters, their backgrounds, history and nuances, as well as sub-plots that are often hidden on the way through the story. And yet every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) while strengthening existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall.
Then there's the ability to develop your own analytical thinking. If you've read an exciting whodunit novel and you worked out who the perpetrator was you were able to put critical and analytical thinking to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine the correct result. This ability to analyse details not only enables you to critique the book, but is useful when ascertaining any sub agenda being presented to you in real life.
Going hand in hand with this, of course, is the issue of concentration. Nowadays, we live in a 30-second culture where the average person will, within a few minutes, divide their time between working, checking email, chatting with people (via Zoom etc.), monitoring their phone, as well as interacting with co-workers. This behaviour will cause stress and ultimately affect productivity.
A good idea is to read a story for 15-20 minutes before work, if you can. You'll find that you're not only relaxed but focussed, too.
In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it’s possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquillity. Reading books on wellbeing and spiritual or philosophical texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm. Reading self-help books has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and even mild mental illnesses.
If you have a limited budget join your local library and enjoy the huge number of books available there for free. Libraries have books on every subject imaginable and if you can’t find the book you want, they'll go out of their way to find it for you. If it’s difficult for you to visit, most libraries now have their books available in PDF or ePub formats so you can read them on your e-reader, iPad or computer. There’s a book out there for everyone that will change your life, so step away from the computer, open that book and enjoy a whole new chapter in your life.
TutorExtra lists the details of various tutors and teachers that can assist with reading and a wide range of academic subjects.