Reading is still criminally underrated and I want people to understand my obsession with it. Now, this isn’t your average “read self help every day” kind of post. Yes there are a few useful books in that genre but I seldom read them anymore because either I have implemented most of their advice or they are all quite similar in what they offer.
This time I’ll tell you why reading fiction is awesome. I’m forever grateful to my mother who got me interested in reading as a kid. I was encouraged to enjoy comic strips in newspapers, eventually getting gifted comic books like Tinkle and Champak, and finally discovering the joy of reading full books (fairy tales) at the school library in 3rd grade. I have always loved reading and have been rewarded with countless hours of happy day dreams of exciting to relaxing books and everything in between. Reading fiction made me who I am today. Not to mention, I was effortlessly at the top of every English exam without even opening a grammar book!
As the years went by and we got introduced to other more enticing and novel media thanks to the internet, reading took a backseat in my entertainment options. A few years into my late teens I realized what I was missing out on and rekindled my joy for reading. Now I continue to read as much as a working adult can: during commutes, during lunch break and half an hour before going to bed. Reading is still my favorite among other entertainment options. The list goes: Books > Music > TV series/ YouTube/ Movies > Games.
There are real benefits to reading fiction, be it any genre from fantasy to Sci-Fi, thrillers to romantic comedies.
Reading builds concentration and focus which will then leak to other areas of your life. You can watch a movie passively, let the scenes ahead without really focusing on what is happening. But, reading requires a certain level of focus to actually enjoy the story. You can’t read further if you aren’t engaged. The ability to focus deeply on any given task for long periods of time without getting distracted is the key skill to have in this age of distractions. What better way to improve your focus than to read a really exciting book!?
Reading will strengthen your language skills far beyond what any grammar book can teach. Throughout school, I scored the best marks in almost all English exams, effortlessly. I wasn’t confident about speaking, neither did I know all the word pronunciations. I just read a lot and naturally improved my vocabulary and grammar. I recently read a book in my mother tongue Marathi and understood 80-90% of it. I plan on exploring books in other languages too, once I have a decent grasp on them.
It will make you more creative in your daily life. You will be able to figure our abstract solutions to problems with ease. Suppose a new problem comes up in your life which you had never thought of. What do you do? Chances are, a writer thought of them and some fictional character in a novel you read has faced a similar problem. That will obviously not provide you the answer you need, but it will give you some clue as to the path you can take to find a solution.
It’s just a superior entertainment medium than say watching a movie or a TV show simply because of one reason: YOU are the one imagining the scenes. Writers don’t supply all the details to any scene, just the important ones so you have to imagine the rest. Then our mind starts working and supplies images that we feel are super cool. What you supply from your imagination as cool will be different from everyone else, including the people making the movies. This is why you will always hear readers say that the book is better than the movie. Because they did not find the world created by the movie makers as fabulous as the one they had imagined while reading.