“Every person who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make life full, significant, and interesting.”
For the longest time, I had a serious book-buying problem. Whenever I walked past a bookstore or logged into Amazon, something would catch my eye. After I realized my book purchasing was seriously outpacing my reading, I challenged myself to go 1 year without buying a book.
That was four years ago, and not much has changed. I still own a ton of books that I haven’t read and I keep buying books! There’s one thing about my bookshelf that stands out: most of the unread books are self-help, business, or health-related. Non-fiction books contain important and helpful information, but they require thought, learning, and action.
I remember the magic of reading from when I was a child. I loved the way I could get wrapped up in a story. Through high school and college, reading became less fun. I did not have time to read for entertainment with all the assignments from my teachers. As a young professional, I was attracted to books that would help me in business and life. So these stacks of non-fiction books were well-intentioned. But they cannot help me if they’re collecting dust in my bookshelf.
I had this feeling of shame and I would tell myself, “I’m not a good reader anymore. I haven’t finished a book in years!” It feels silly sharing this because there are much bigger concerns in the world, but as someone who once loved reading, I was sad that I lost my reading-confidence.
When I received an Amazon Kindle as a Christmas gift, something shifted. I downloaded a few fiction books that I read through with speed… and I remembered my love for reading! Finishing a few books in quick succession helped me regain my confidence. It got me into a reading groove, which spilled over into reading non-fiction too. After a few easy fiction books, I was ready to pick up the self-help, business, and health-related books again. Reading on my Kindle, and reading more fiction, transformed me into someone who reads—again!
There are many benefits to being someone who reads1. Books allow us to enter new worlds, study topics of interest, build our knowledge, and contemplate outside viewpoints. We can relate to characters, which might just help us relate to the people in our lives. Reading fiction might even make you better at interacting with people2.
Reading helps me practice the lost art of monotasking3. It can be relaxing or invigorating, meditative or motivating. Cuddling up with a good book is a way to quiet my mind and relax before bedtime. Reading is a great alternative to playing Candy Crush and watching reality TV (I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that these are the things I usually do to unwind).
If it’s been awhile since you finished a book, I invite you to get your reading groove back. Whether you prefer paperback or Kindle, make the time to read a fiction book. Or if you always read fiction, try giving something different a try. The Goodreads website and app are wonderful resources for finding books you might enjoy – click here to connect with me. And if don’t want to buy more books, visit the library or look through your bookshelf to find a book that piques your interest!
Here are a few fiction books I’ve read recently and recommend:
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
- The Rosie Effect: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Image via Death to the Stock Photo
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- Huffington Post: 7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books ↩
- mic.com: Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction ↩
- Fast Company: Monotasking Is The New Multitasking ↩