Do you have anything that you look fondly on from when you were little? For some people, this might be a favourite TV show or movie, and as this grows ever more popular as of late, video games and mobile devices. For me though, this thing would most likely be a select few book series that I still treasure to this day. One of my most vivid childhood memories is when my sister started reading Harry Potter to me. She read the first five chapters of the first book and then challenged me to read the rest on my own. I slowly made my way through this series, and as I was doing so, I moved over to other favourite series of hers such as the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini.
As you can probably already tell at this point, I love reading. It’s a fun pastime that allows me to both expand my knowledge and disappear, even for just a few moments, from my own life into the exciting world of a beloved character. However, I found that as the years went on and on, my attention would be drawn away from searching for a new book. Instead, new things such as smartphones, social media and the like became my new way of passing the time. I also don’t think that I’m alone in this. If you think about it, you can probably relate to my own experience if you, like me, also grew up with books. Or perhaps something else, like becoming busy with other things or a lack of motivation to search for new books is what stopped you from reading. However, I have recently been making more of an effort to read more, and because of this, I would like to explain some reasons why you shouldn’t give up on reading, as well as what it actually does for you.
For starters, reading is not, as some people treat it, just a tedious way to learn new words and do a little better in English class. In fact, I’d completely understand someone if that was why he or she didn’t like to read because I’ve personally never read anything for that reason (even though I probably should). For me, books, and all types of reading really, are first and foremost a method in which to expose myself to new ideas, perspectives and knowledge through the means of fiction or non-fiction. The possibilities are almost limitless because, depending on the type of book you choose, you can read about almost anything that you could possibly want to. But for me, some books are so powerful and engaging that I feel as though I’m sucked into the world that it creates. Have you ever read a book that was so good that you weren’t able to put it down? For me, that feeling is what I missed the most about reading more often, and is also why I am trying to return to it right now.
Aside from that, there are many more reasons to pick up a new book, some which are quite specific compared to some of the other reasons that I mentioned. The biggest one I can think of, though, is to teach yourself something new, or the “how to” category of books. For example, have you ever wanted to learn how to draw, speak a foreign language, or just needed a clearer image of something you learned in your science class? Chances are, you could find anything from a chemistry help book to a step by step book on how to draw by your favorite artist, all at your nearest bookstore. Moreover, buying a given drawing book that you can use at any time, for example, might cost twenty or thirty dollars, but this would be far cheaper than paying for art lessons in which you would have to slot out time in your schedule. This “how to” book category has actually been my favorite one for a while, as well, because it gives me the freedom to learn a little bit more about almost anything that interests me. For that reason, I would recommend the Demystified series to anyone who also likes this sort of book category. I am also a huge fan of learning languages, and one thing that I’ve recently found to be helpful was to buy books in Japanese and slowly work my way through them. It is exhausting, but well worth the challenge.
Finally, reading is actually quite easy. Maybe not so much so in motivating yourself to keep at it, since that is something more personal that depends on you finding literature of your interest. What I mean by this is that reading is something very easy to do in our day and age, especially when compared to older generations. For instance, my parents would often complain to me that they never had any authors like J. K. Rowling when they were my age, and while there were still plenty of good authors around when they were younger, many more have emerged since then. Moreover, we now have one obvious tool at our disposal that makes reading infinitely easier than it was before: the Internet. With this tool, it’s possible to browse through online catalogues with thousands of books listed, purchase books from other countries, and even read one off a phone without having to worry about a book taking up space. For this service to be available, online readers have a multitude of services available, such as Kobo or iBooks, and surprisingly, social media. This last option has recently become one of the ways I use the most to read more, just because of how easy and convenient it is to like something such as a news or science page on Facebook, and then follow the links to full Internet articles whenever they pop up on my feed.
With those reasons in mind, I hope that you all find something that interests you and pick up a new book to try out. Or just purchase one online, since that seems to be more convenient for most people nowadays. Having grown up with books, it saddens me whenever someone tells me that he or she doesn’t read anymore, or even suggests that reading will die with the growing popularity of laptops and mobile phones. I don’t think this is correct though, even though modern day technology can be blamed for a drop in human attention span. If anything, reading anything should grow easier with technology. The trick is motivating yourself to keep at it, and if you look back through this article, you’ll find a few books, authors and series that I like listed. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like any of these books that I do, but I can promise that if you look hard enough, you will find one that you enjoy. And finding it will be well worth the effort.