We often hear about various challenges, like reading 100 books within a year, or about spending less time on browsing the internet and more on reading instead. While this isn’t a problem for some, many actually struggle with reading nowadays. Is it a lack of time or something else? How to start reading more? And do we really need it?
My life has always been connected to lots of reading and writing. At school, my major classes were languages and literature, then I pursued a journalism degree at university. Literature has always been my love, my getaway and I remember how I couldn’t wait to run home and continue reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. During classes at school, I was literarily visualizing how I’d prepare myself a cup of tea with some sweets, take my warm blanket and read my book. That gave me so much happiness back in the day and it is a delightful feeling when you are waiting for something so much and then you finally get it so soon.
But I shamelessly stopped. I stopped reading fiction literature. I can’t really articulate why and how it happened. Perhaps I was overwhelmed with the reading for university. But those days are over, I graduated already, so that is not an excuse anymore. University reading was my number one priority for quite a long time and it was time-consuming. Probably I just forgot and got off the habit of reading fiction because of that. But I remember that reading fiction indeed impacted me in a positive way.
Non-Fiction vs Fiction
Now, I don’t want to rant about what fits me, but I really do think that fiction is very essential for every person’s life. I heard lots of people saying that reading fiction is a waste of time and is useless in general. Instead, they were highlighting non-fiction genres like history, philosophy, science, business or psychology books, etc. In their opinion, those are actually pragmatic and practical and therefore are useful books.
While I agree and love non-fiction as well, I don’t think that fiction is trash. Here is why. I love empathy. It is a beautiful quality that a human can have. I think one of the best ways to develop empathy is to read fiction literature. When we read what characters are going through, we feel their experiences and pain, we are inside of their mind, we worry about them, we put ourselves in their shoes, we care. This helps us to understand people in real life, empathize with them, build up our emotional intelligence, and makes us attentive, responsive, and compassionate to people’s feelings.
Imagination is another beneficial aspect that is being trained while reading fiction. We are free to invent diverse images, whenever we read descriptive parts of a book, this – we can not get from a movie for example. If you want to increase your vocabulary, reading fiction contributes here too, in fact, it helps without you even trying hard because your brain memorizes words and phrases without much of an effort, especially if you read on a regular basis.
Try This to Start Reading More
And finally why is it hard to read books nowadays? Well, it is different for everyone, but of course one of the main reasons is the modern digitalization almost of everything that surrounds us and it became our lifestyle. Because we can get information from the internet instantly, we could watch a film or a series rather than reading a book about this. And we already read a lot throughout the day, like messages, various notifications, comments, news, etc. This also takes up space in our mind and we already feel full of information. We are accustomed to little passages and so we are losing the ability to read longer stuff.
If reading books became very rare in your daily activities it would be hard to start doing a lot in this direction. Instead, try little chunks at first, for example, you could spend 10 minutes reading right after waking up instead of scrolling through your phone, or doing the same thing before going to bed. And if then you get used to it and you like it, you’d find more time for such a therapeutic activity, as we all know that we can always find time for the things that we really want.
I want to bring this feeling back. I want to run home eagerly and finally start reading Dostoevsky’s Humiliated and Insulted. I hope I do it this month… or maybe sometime later, we’ll see!
Photo: Andrii Kobryn/shutterstock
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