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Books have always been present in my life, all of my family – particularly on my mother’s side – have been avid readers of one thing or the other. History, art, philosophy, mythology, theology and of course fiction. I say this because in a way, it’s strange that I didn’t find the joy of it till later in life, specifically in my early 20’s. But then it really took off. I think it has to do with my imagination being almost too strong in my teenage years and books would have overstimulated me. I also had a strong urge to experience the “real world” and books felt like more of an escape from reality. Although I did watch quite a few movies and series so maybe it was more of a phase. Anyway, I’ve compiled my top 7 reasons to read:

It’s relaxing

This one is obvious, it’s a way to escape from responsibilities and the monotony of life. A monotony that even at the best of times is a necessity in life but which can become overwhelming on occasion.

It transports me completely

Films and series are great but they condition you to imagine a character in a certain way and don’t give much space for your own imagination. Of course, some movies are more ambiguous than others and require analysis in order to understand them but still they cannot compete with a good book in terms of imagination.

It helps me understand others

Psychology tells us that fiction is a great way of learning about other people’s experiences from a deeper perspective and therefore it nurtures empathy. On a personal note, I think my understanding of others would be highly biased towards a certain type of person if not for the help of fiction.

It helps me understand myself

Similarly to the previous point, it can help us understand our own feelings, thoughts and emotions. When we read about other people’s situations, reactions and feelings, we can often relate to it and understand our own response to life’s hurdles. We can also discover qualities in ourselves that we didn’t fully understand, simply because our surroundings never reflected them before.

I gain knowledge of the world

My understanding of different cultures would never have been this profound without reading novels from around the world. Combined with factual reading, such as news outlets and history books, it gives a far greater insight into people’s motives and backgrounds, something you can rarely gain even by living in a place or having a close relation from there. This is valid from both a contemporary as well as a historical perspective, often a combination is required to even begin to comprehend any given culture.

I learn the weirdest facts and random words

I’ve learned so many words from reading well written novels, my vocabulary reflects this. Often, I find myself struggling to know everyday words in languages where I’ve never lived in the country, but I might easily know half of the synonyms to any given word.

It keeps my language abilities well oiled

Combine the fact that I’ve had limited personal contact with people during the pandemic, since I spend all day with my small son, with an inherent want to know different languages and keep them somewhat in shape, and the only viable solution is reading. It’s true that I read less now that I have a child but on the other hand, I put my limited time to good use by reading virtually every day when he naps.

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