I've read this book and loved it. Good choice!!!'
- Sherin Qadir, Singapore
''I saw the book Nilo recommended at the airport. I bought it and read the whole book on the plane. It was like watching an 8hr movie! Captivating! Enjoyed it very much. Thank you for the recommendation!'
- Kheng, Sydney
My pleasure, ladies. I am glad my recommendation has been well received....The reason why I am discussing the topic - why we have to read and how to read more - is because of a whatsapp conversation I had with a couple of my close friends. Why are we reading less and what could be done to save this downfall in mankind? A little over the top, you might think. Downfall? It is a kind of downfall to me, if you must ask.
I constantly hear from friends and read comments here and there that it is increasingly difficult to find time to read. With a barrage of responsibilities being thrown at us throughout the day, reading takes the least priority. Its perfectly understandable especially when school going kids and elderly parents are involved.. au contraire, I believe that no matter how busy you are, there are ways to squeeze reading into your daily routine. I'll talk about that later.
Remember reading should not involve only reading FB updates or reading the instructions on the back of your Instant oatmeal packet. A proper reading exercise would involve a book or a substantial magazine article. Even reading this blog post will suffice :)
Benefits of Reading
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. There are many benefits of reading of which I have highlighted a few :
- Mental Stimulation - the phrase 'use it or lose it' is particularly apt when it comes to using our mind. Staying mentally stimulated can slow down the progress or even prevent the onset of Dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Playng chess or sudoku does the same trick.
- Stress Reduction - No matter how stressed you are at work or in school, it all melts away when you lose yourself in a good book. A well written book will transport you to another realm and keep you there, therby removing tension in your present life and allowing you to relax.
- New Knowledge - whenever you read factual information, that bit of new knowledge will always come in handy.
- Vocabulary Expansion - this goes without saying. New words gets into your head when you read widely. Just the other day while reading Olive Kitteridge, I came across this word stridency(Page 4 ) which baffled me. Never seen that word before. Looked it up and learnt that it meant to have an irritating quality. There I learnt a new word that day. Having wide vocabulary is useful whether you are a student or a working professional. It correlates to improving your writing skills.
- Tranquility - In addition to relaxation that comes with reading a good book, it also brings inner peace and tranquility especially if you are reading a spiritual text. Reading self help manuals has been shown to help people suffering from certain mood disorders and mental illnesses
- Great source of entertainment - a friend Angie just said today that she used to read but now seems more entertainment value in movies and musicals. I pointed out to her that reading is another form of entertainment. Not visually (movies) or audibly (musicals), but once you are intrigued by the subject matter, you'll find yourself hooked and would be unable to stop yourself from turning the pages. Reading is deeply joyful, very addictive and sometimes wildly exciting.
How do we keep reading alive?
From my personal experience,
- Firstly, throw your handphone into the ocean! - I am just kidding :) What I really mean is put away your distractions. Unless its absolutely necessary, use any extra time you get to read. That FB post or the Instagram picture can wait for your likes. It is not going anywhere. Many a times I would have wasted 10-15 minutes just scrolling thru FB or Google+ only to be rueful that I could have used that time wisely.
- Carry your novel everywhere - to the supermarket, to the mall, cafe etc. You will never know when you will get that 15 mins of bonus me time to yourself. Yesterday, I had a surprise half hour while waiting to laminate my girl Riya's bookmarks. I was so glad I had my companion Olive Kitteridge with me.
- Dedicate at least 30 mins everyday to reading - I make it a point read just before I sleep at night for just 30 mins even if I had read during the day. Its my way of unwinding. Sometimes, I get so engrossed in the book that it stretches way past that !
- Read whenever and wherever you can - I pull out my novels at bus stops, while waiting to pick up my girls or waiting at the clinic etc. You get my drift.
- Read what interests you - even if its not meant for your age group. I recently read Me Before You - a romantic novel which was meant for young adults. So what? I liked the way the story was written and when I finished reading it, I had new knowledge about how quadriplegics face challenges everyday socially, physically and emotionally.
- Join a book club - Social obligation is a great way to make yourself read more. You may connect more deeply with a book if you are able to talk it over with a group of friends, over tea.
- Make a List - Write down a list of books that you would like to finish reading for this year. Cross them off as you devour them one by one. Consider getting reading-log app for a digital record that you can carry with you.
My humble request - don't forsake reading. Please do find time to read. Way before TVs, handphones and other distracting gadgets came along, our only source of entertainment used to be books. Don't forget that. Now you have many ways to read a book -on ipads, laptops, smartphones etc. There isnt any excuse not to read. Its ironic isnt it? With so many ways to read, yet we are hardly reading!
There is a book for every person on this planet. whether your interest is in classical literature, poetry, self help guides, religious texts or romance novels, there is something out there for you to capture your entire attention and imagination. So, go on and lose yourself in a good book. No one will find you there. Enjoy this solitude, my friends..It will soon become your favourite time of the day. It is definitely mine as I enjoy this escape and soul replenishing immensely.