Why Not . . . Read? Part Une
Wednesday March 30, 2011

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A bibliophile I proudly claim to be, and I strongly suggest (although I have a very strong suspicion you are as well) that you become one as well if you are not already.

I am a devourer of books, magazines and news articles.  My night stand always has at least five books or magazines placed atop it in the evening as to give me options to choose from to suit my mood. And the pleasure derived from this activity is one that I have control over in choosing what I read, how much I read and what I learn.

One of the most empowering abilities reading gives us is that it truly places the world at our fingertips. Whether it be non-fiction or fiction, biography or self-help, historical or culinary – we are all capable of learning anything we decide to set our mind to.

With all of that said, there are many benefits that can be extracted simply by being an avid reader. Since the list is quite lengthy that I’d like to share, I’ve broken it up into three pieces.  The following two lists of benefits will be shared in the subsequent Wednesday Why Not . . .? posts during the next two weeks. But for now, let’s take a look at the first five gifts that reading provides:

Reduce Stress

One of the pleasures at the end of my day, on the weekend or while on vacation is having the time and lack of responsibilities so that I may just read.  There are few things that cause me to lose all track of time than to be lost in a good book or article. Finding the time to read in each of our daily lives is a simple way to reduce stress, calm our mind and remove it from our busy list of to-dos in order to get lost in someone else’s story, life or experience.

Become More Intelligent

One of the most understood benefits of reading is that a person’s intelligence increases, their “smarts”, shall we say, improve because they are learning in-depth knowledge about either an event in history, a person’s background, how something works, the proper syntax usage, and so much more. I would argue that even when the content may be questionable, the value of reading the written word is still a benefit.

Improve Vocabulary

As an English teacher and having many friends who teach at all grade levels, it is quite evident that the simple repetition of choosing to pick up a book, a magazine, or newspaper at night (or anytime) will repeatedly increase one’s vocabulary.  Yes, memorizing words on a list works as well, but reading pieces of literature that include higher level word choice immediately enhancing your ability to absorb something new.  Even if you’re not sure of the exact definition of a word you have come across . . .
Example: obdurate

“She was so obdurate, that no amount of persuasion could make her alter her stance on on the political issues being discussed at the Thanksgiving dinner table.”

. . . by searching for context clues, you are becoming a more active and engaged reader, thus, improving your intelligence and consequently improving your vocabulary one word at a time.

(answer stubborn)

A Feeling of Satisfaction

Upon finishing a challenging book or a classic you have heard people allude to time and time again, only to be unsure of what they were referring to until you yourself read the book is a priceless feeling of satisfaction. The act of completing something that pushed you a bit, asked you to consider something you hadn’t thought about before or presented something to you that you had never heard of, is a way to bring more satisfaction into your life. I still have the goal of reading all six of Jane Austen’s books and believe me, when I do, I will be dancing on the moon.

Refinement of Life

One of the things that excites me about picking up a new book or the arrival of new magazines each month/week in my mailbox is that I may just find ways to further create my ideal life.  I am notorious for ripping out pages with articles that I want to never forget because of the ideas they share or the topics they discuss.  I swear to this day, that I learned the detailed fundamentals of giving myself an at home facial by reading Teen magazine as a pre-teen. Reading exposes our thoughts to new and different ways of doing things or inspiring us to try something new that we may never had considered before. And that is why I wholeheartedly believe that if you are an avid reader, you’re life has every opportunity to be rich and cultivated no matter where you live or what your circumstance.

Click here to read Part Two with even more benefits of incorporating reading into your life will be shared.  Have a lovely Wednesday!

17 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Read? Part Une

  1. Reading is one of my favourite hobbies, and I often read two or three books at the same time:) I also love reading quality fashion magazines like Elle UK and Vogue, which is also a great way to maintain and improve my English. At the moment I am reading Isabel Allende’s “The Island Beneath The Sea”, which is a fantastic and captivating story set in the time of the slave insurrection in Haiti. I can strongly recommend this book! Have a lovely day!

  2. When I read the description to your post on my Twitter feed, a huge smile came across my face, and I knew I would wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. And I was correct. I am most definitely a book worm. I have a love of words in any form…. to the point that you will never ever find me without a book or a magazine. Even on a short trip a piece of reading material is always with me…because as I often say. You never know when that seemingly short venture will turn into a long one. What a waste of valuable reading time it would be if I didn’t have my book/magazine with me. Love this post!

  3. I read so much as well… Sometimes it feels it’s what I do all the time… Once I started a book and it was so interesting I forgot about my Italian class! Reading is inspiring, soothing, eye-opening… Thank you for this post!

    And I love the Sex and the City quote 🙂



  4. Reading. What would life be without books? One of my best friends sent me a box of his books, as in he’s the author, I piled them on my bed table. Until I finish the two books I’m reading at the moment, I’ll look at them in anticipation.

    I re-found you chez Marsi (Luxebytes) on her favorites list. I then came here for a visit, decided to follow you and realized I already did.

    I’m so clever.

    Best regards,

  5. Love everything about this post: great ideas accompanied by beautiful images. I do love that sense of accomplishment and understanding that results in reading a classic and suddenly the world of context and reference opens up to you. For years, I never knew what was meant by “strapping the rat cage on your face” meant (though the imagery is graphic enough). But last year, in my son’s middle-school book group, we read Orwell’s “1984.” A huge, huge A-HA moment for me. What a profound book.

    I am an editor and read every day. Too bad it’s all legal manuscripts and not, say, Nancy Mitford ….

  6. I’ve been an avid, even voracious reader all my life. My brother and sister claim that all of their childhood memories include me with my nose in a book.

    I’m trying to discipline myself just now and am not reading novels for pleasure, as I’m working on a degree. But I’m making a huge, long list of books to read once I finish in August.

    Reading does all of what you’ve mentioned, and more. I’m looking forward to the second installment.

  7. LOVE this post as I devour books too. I usually stick to non-fiction during the day and fiction at night when it’s time to unwind. I have a huge list on my computer of books I must read before I die. Let me tell you, even if I live to be 200, I will never finish the list; but it is great ticking the books off as I go along.You will be horrified to learn I don’t really read “glossies”, but do subscribe to Success magazine, Entreprenuer, Conde Nasté and Oprah.

  8. That said it is time for my annual reading of one of my favorite novels, “Catcher in the Rye”

    I love reading and I find myself with less and less time to do so. Then again I should just spend less time with the TV and pick up a book instead!

    As far as gloss fashion mags go – I love the articles in Elle.

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