Article by Rachael Richardson-Bullock 07.10.15
I am part of everything that I have read- Theodore Roosevelt
I have always enjoyed reading. This is something I’m told comes from the grandfather I never met. Over the years books have brought me so much joy; but more than that books have offered me insight, excitement and have challenged me in ways I never thought possible. So here is my 5 reasons why we all should pick up a book.
1.) Knowledge is power
Everyone knows this phrase but it is actually true! Books open up a world of knowledge and experience that we might not have the opportunity to encounter. You can read up on events you will never see and hear about the lives of those you will never meet. You can learn a language, find out how to play tennis or experience the sinking of the Titanic. The idea here is that the world is your oyster. Anything you want to know, you can learn, in a way previously unimaginable for our grandparents or even our parents’ generation. Before, if you wanted to find an answer to a question you would need to head to the library. Now, Google can help you, or you can download the book you want from Amazon instantly. We can educate ourselves anytime we please and that is a wonderful opportunity!
2.) Get some me time!
Curling up with a good book is a great way to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the day to day rat race; to enjoy some quiet time. Reading is often recommended for relaxation as it can help you to reduce stress by taking a step back. Allowing yourself to be present in the moment and being involved with the story will help to focus and calm your mind.
3.) You can read anywhere!
So when I say books, I mean books, hardbacks, softbacks, Kindles, tablets, laptops, phones-with modern technology you can enjoy a book anywhere you go. You can read at work (it took me 16 months to read Les Miserables over the course of my lunch breaks!), at home, on holiday, the possibilities are endless and all options are convenient and practical.
4.) Source of endless entertainment
Books, like films, tv shows and video games can provide endless entertainment. And there are so many genres and styles to choose from you can easily find a book to suit you. Also, mixing up your choices of entertainment ensures you are intellectually stimulated and encourages you to use your imagination. Imagination can often take a step back in favour of vegging out hunched over your smart phone watching funny fail compilations (I know I’m guilty!) but taking the time to read will offer a rich and varied experience.
5.) Exploring life’s big questions
By far, the best thing about reading books is the clarity and wisdom they can bring. Books can provide a mirror, a window, a means in which we can learn more about ourselves and articulate our feelings about life.
I have experienced this myself, in particular with Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. One of my lecturers from university contacted me via Facebook asking for my address. I asked why and he told me he had just finished a book, which made him think of me. So he sent it to me (random reason number 6 is that books can be quite social-giving, receiving and talking about books is great fun!) Intrigued, I read it immediately and it did not disappoint; it was moving, insightful and beautifully written. My mother was very ill at the time and Murakami’s musings about death helped me to get through:
Death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life. It’s a cliché translated into words, but at the time I felt it not as words but as that knot of air inside me…until that time I had understood death as something entirely separate from and independent of life…life is here, death is over there. I am here, not over there…it was already here, within my being, it had always been here…death was a fact, a serious fact, no matter how you looked at it. Stuck inside this suffocating contradiction, I went on endlessly spinning in circles. Those were strange days, now that I look back at them. In the midst of life, everything was about death.
I went on a fantastic journey with this book and many others, and hope to read many more and I hope I’ve encouraged you to read so too!