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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:
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.
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.