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Five Reasons Why You Should Read More

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I recently read 'The Reading List' by Sarah Nisha Adams and it took me down a nostalgia trip. No, I did not find any reading list in any book. The way books affect the people in the story is what I could relate to the most. For those who haven't read the book, this is the story of two unlikely friends, Mukesh Patel a recent widower and Aleisha, a teenager who works at the local library. Mukesh's wife was an avid reader and Mukesh could never understand her love for books. When he finds an overdue book, which happens to be 'The Time Traveler's Wife', he sits down to read it and falls in love with it. With a tiny understanding of why books might have been so important to his wife, he steps into the library to return this book and borrow more.

Aleisha on the other hand has no interest in books or in reading. She's working in the library to make ends meet to care for her mother and brother. One day, she finds a crumpled-up paper in the back of 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. It turns out to be a list of books. Nothing else. Bored with her monotonous life, she decides to read all the books in the list (books she has never heard of until then). When she befriends Mukesh, she passes on the list to him. Together they decide to read the books in the list and in the process fall in love with the written word. What started as an excuse to escape pain and boredom, becomes a lifelong passion and interest.

This is pretty much my story. I could relate to both of them. I come from a family of non-readers where non academic books did not make sense to any of them. Initially, including me. I encountered reading by chance and haven't looked back. As a teenager, I was always on the lookout for new books to read. I couldn't buy them because my parents did not want to spend money on something that I would just read once. I made the most of my school library and a library near home. Reading changed my life and I never miss a chance to say this. 

People around me never understood it. Honestly, none of my inner circle of friends are readers. Now that I think of it, I find it funny. I love to talk about the books I've read and the fact that I can't with a group of people I love so much, sometimes doesn't make sense. Also, apart from my current partner, the other men I've dated also were non-readers. Perhaps this should have been the biggest read red flag. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that not all the people who are close to me understand my love for books and the importance of reading and that's fine. I know why books are important to me and that will never change.

I'm taking this opportunity here to list out five reasons why one should read more or at least start reading. Why one chooses to do a thing varies from person to person, so these are my personal thoughts alone. 

1. Reading makes you smarter.

Yes, non-fictional and fictional books can do that. Reading a book is like going on a journey and it teaches you many things on the way. New words, new scenarios, new emotions and what not. Books also teach you to understand yourself and others better. You can learn about anything in the world by reading about it. Historical fictional reads have taught me so much about history that I wouldn't know otherwise. You can turn any conversation into an erudite discussion when you read. You are exposed to so much of information and you can choose what to retain. In short, reading non-academia books can make you smart too.

2. Reading helps with imagination, focus and concentration.

Reading is an investment. Of time. When you invest time in reading a book, you gain focus and concentration. Your mind accommodates whatever you are reading and helps you retain it. In a crowded, chaotic place, a book can give you the much needed solace. When you are reading a story, you paint an image in your head. What the characters might look like, how gorgeous would the surroundings be etc. It widens your imagination and opens up your mind to more possibilities.

3. Reading helps you communicate better.

People who read more can express themselves better, be it verbally or in writing. I've often been appreciated for the way I speak and my written communication skills; reading plays a big part in it. I have a document on my phone where I note down new words I read. Once I have a complete grasp of the meaning of the word and how to use it, I use it in my day to day vocabulary. When people say that they wish they could talk like me, I ask them to invest time in reading. They say they are too lazy for that. I let it be. The most important thing about being a good conversationalist is knowing when to stop. Trust me, reading teaches you that too.

4. Reading helps you travel the world.

Yes, I do travel a lot. Honestly, I travel more through books. Books have the capacity to take you to different places from the comfort of your home. You learn so much about new cities, their culture, their food, their people and everything else in between. When you actually get to travel to that place, you already know what to do and what to explore. Reading paints a vivid picture in your mind and there is so much beauty in it.

5. Reading helps your mental health.

This probably is the most important reason why we all should read more. Most of us are not new to stress and we have accepted it as a part of our lifestyle. Reading is known to reduce stress levels and help one sleep better. No, not by boring one to sleep. Books can help provide clarity in one's life and that can calm a person down to a large extent. Readers are also known to be more empathetic and understanding because they live through stressful scenarios in a book. They can help others dealing with stress and themselves. Reading takes you to a calmer place from where you are transported elsewhere. A magic place.

This is how reading has helped me become a better, calmer, intelligent and empathetic person. While most people appreciate these qualities in me, they don't want to invest their time in reading. Most of my friends now have children and they ask me if they should try to inculcate reading in their children. I always say yes and suggest books they can start with. I'm not a parent, but I think the five reasons I've mentioned above hold good for children too. 

At the end of the day, we all could benefit from reading more. 


  1. I completely agree with you on every point, Soumya. I love to read and sometimes, I wonder why people wouldn't pick up a book and bury their noses in its pages instead of scrolling through the news feed on their phones! Books are a miracle to mankind, and the love for reading, a blessing.

    1. You bet! Books are pure joy and not many people get that.

  2. There's so much to like in your post. First, The Reading List climbs up and takes first place on my TBR. I love the idea of it. Also, same situation with most of my friends. I have only recently begun to make new friends from reading groups and it's just amazing to have like minded people who also read. Biggest thumbs up to that last point. Reading and writing have been my refuge through years of tough work situations and even tougher parenting years. It's my me time. And I'm so grateful for it.

    1. Do read it, Tulika. It is such a nice, emotional read. The people I know who love reading and can discuss books are the people I've met through my blog. I think I need to look at joining some good reading groups now.

  3. I completely and wholeheartedly agree. Reading to me is something without which I cannot imagine myself. I’m trying to imbibe this habit in M. There are days when she reads by herself, rare, and there are days when I have to coax her. But I haven’t given up yet. This is one gift I want to give her because people will leave, they will hurt you but books never will.

    1. She's still young. With time she'll realize the joy and freedom that comes with it. I'm glad you realize the importance of it. Some of my friends who are parents think it is a waste of time and money. Some even say that they worry about their child's eyesight if they read! Ample screen time is fine though. Ugh!

  4. Such a lovely post! The Reading List sounds good.

    I agree with all the points mentioned here. However, I wish point number 3 was true for me. I am such an inarticulate speaker. I dread it when I have to speak to someone I don't know well. People who speak confidently (and yet calmly) fascinate me.

    I'm so glad that my 10 yo loves reading.

    1. Thank you, Tarang. I hope you read The Reading List soon.


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