With our busy lives, we hardly find time to sit down and read, most of the time we just give a cursory glance to a tepidly written newspaper or online article. Reading stems out into many genres which have been created through the ages. One of the first genres that we come across in school is the Classics. Many of us have aspired to read the great classics written by DH Lawrence, Jane Austen or Charles Dickens but they often remain a part of our wish list. Even if we don’t get to know these books better what you feel for them is the underlying intrigue for the infinite human imagination. Many great worlds have been created in those pages which can be so splendid or tragic that they connect with every human being.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” — Ernest Hemingway
There are books for every field possible, but how does one comprehend them and understand the true worth of words? What is required is the maturity of thought. As we go through our life experiences and develop into individuals our perspective also improves and we are better suited to understand more advanced books. As a simple law, our reading matures with age and remains a lifelong endeavour where we dive into different aspects of our consciousness.
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket
Our reading material needs to be as eclectic and healthy as the food we eat because what we think is what shapes us into who we become. Reading can also be done for pure enjoyment as there is nothing like a beautifully written book on long haul flight. It can stimulate the mind with rich thoughts. Reading helps us in many ways and now through research-based, analysis we present some of the points explaining why reading should remain a lifelong habit –
“To learn to read is to light a fire” — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
1. The colour of text impacts our reading speed – Studies have shown that according to the colour of the text people read at different speeds. Consider text with red colour, people are more cautious or anxious in reading it and take a longer time to comprehend the sentences. It is no surprise that certain fonts are easier to read than others.
2. Reading is one of the best Memory Exercise – Reading constantly brings your mind to assimilate different thoughts. By reading more and more we make it a habit of understanding complex thoughts. What this does is that it helps in training the mind to analyse new thoughts. Many times when reading advanced writing readers have to segment the structure of the material, in order to understand. It is this process of analysis and assimilation which makes our brain more fertile to new thoughts and a quicker understanding of the same. This, in turn, helps in the faster recall of text, enhancing the memory as the reader finds it easier to relate to different texts material depending on how well read he is.
3. We react physically to what we read – Remember the last time you read a profound and deeply emotional piece. You may have already experienced an emotional response to what you are reading, but research has shown that even while reading words used in metaphors such as “rub it in”, “hit a rough patch” or “scratch the surface”, the reader’s brain will activate the same area when they physically experience these sensations like in the case of rough, scratch and rub.
4. It is an excellent stress reliever – More than having a cup of tea or listening to music, reading is found to be more relaxing to the brain. By focussing our minds and analysing the information brings more clarity to our minds. It is why reading before bedtime is a good idea as it relaxes the mind and prepares it for a good sleep.
5. Learn to care for others – All the great classics have one theme in common – humanity. In order to understand someone else’s perspective of the world needs empathy, as everyone has their flaws which reflect in their world, by understanding them gives us a deeper look into the human nature, which is capable of great extremes and idyllic solitude.
6. Re-reading also has its advantages – Each one of us has their favourite book. Sometimes rather than picking up something new it is better to go through an old favourite. More often than not you will find a whole new perspective each time you read the same book. It is because of our own evolution which continuously keeps enhancing our perspective. For people who have gone through extreme transformations, they might dislike the same book which they held so dear in the earlier part of their life.
7. People who read have more peaceful lives – It is said that a balanced person is one who can be at absolute peace when being solitary. One of the prerequisites for reading a book is to have peaceful surroundings. A disturbed mind can never be peaceful and will never be able to settle down and find a way into another world in someone else’s words.
8. Speed reading has a different technique from normal reading – After many years of reading people develop their own reading techniques and instead of reading each and every word they just focus on the mid-point of the sentence and read the whole line in one go. This can be easily demonstrated by writing lines with some simple words missing and the reader will be able to read through it quickly and understand the meaning. This is the reason that in newspapers there is a standard length of each line because the reader can just focus on the middle and understand the whole line quickly.
9. Poetry stimulates our minds differently than normal text – Reading poetry stimulates our minds the same way music does. As per a study, the same areas of the brain were active during reading and listening to music. Reading poetry also enhances our memory and vocabulary skills.
10. It is easier to read the paperback than e-book – There is a reason why people still prefer to read from paperback books. Analysis has shown that paperbacks give better spatial navigability as the readers are more aware of the dimensions of the page. Whereas e-books give a sense of infinite page and our mind finds it more difficult to navigate the page. That is why you are likely to finish a paperback faster than you read an e-book.
Anything you find interesting or you like about, just try to find more books about the subject in the library or in a bookshop and practice the habit of reading and apply speed reading techniques to read more and more and become a better version of yourself.