Day 166 (A Hundred & Sixty-Seven) of 365 days

We’re taught from a very young age that reading as much as possible is the pathway to success and fulfillment. Picture the smartest, hardest-working person you know, and chances are you picture them in a library poring over a variety of texts for hours on end. While simply being an avid reader does not ensure success, successful people are assuredly avid readers.

Some, like me, have loved reading since before they even knew how. Others came to appreciate the hobby later in life. The adventure of having my first library card. The frustration of being continually told by my parents to “take a break” from reading and “go outside.” The wonderful feeling of refreshment that I continue to experience each day that I spend reading a book. If you’re a book lover, chances are that you’ve experienced reading to be a rejuvenating activity that renews your energy and elevates your mood. Numerous book lovers have testified that reading gives them purpose, helps them persevere through difficulty, and unlocks parts of themselves they didn’t even know existed. Reading makes us feel optimistic, breathlessly, tenaciously alive.

When you are sick, and you are informed that you are likely to remain so, you take solace however you can. I have decided that I must read so that I might write. That is how I intend to cope with my condition. I probably would be dismissed as a scold if I said we, even those of us in academe, do not read enough. So allow me to pin the criticism on myself: I do not read enough. Now that any of us, with the internet access we assume to constitute a prerequisite for civilized life, can publish ourselves with unprecedented ability to reach a mass audience, any character who fancies himself one declares he is a writer. Yet I realized long ago, and I remind myself constantly, that a writer is only as good as he is a reader, too.

When I’m reading a book, my mind shifts gears. Where I might have had a stressful day, a book can easily distract me. Fiction is fantastic for this. Reading an awesome fiction book is perfect right before bedtime. Though sometimes it’s hard to put the book down if it’s really good. Still, you’ll be relaxed. Many times we’re certain we know what we “really want” in life. Yet I’ve found that activities like reading show me things I didn’t know about myself. My mind will drift to things that I’d like to do, and it isn’t long that these little lapses in reading start to cycle. The same sort of goals keeps popping into my head, allowing me to see what I want to do.

If you think that you don’t have enough time to start reading, you’re wrong. How do I know? Because we make time for the things that are important to us. How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend trawling the web? You could easily replace reading with those activities. There’s really no excuse to start reading on a regular basis. The benefits far outweigh the costs, and more knowledge never hurt anybody.



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