I probably don’t have to convince most of you how important reading is or list out the benefits of it. However, I’m going to do that anyway because I think they are just so important.
The benefits of reading go far beyond what I am going to list here. I could talk about books all day–which, for those of you who know me, wouldn’t be a surprise, especially since I worked in a bookstore.
For me, reading is on the top of the list of things that bring me joy. I love a good book that has compelling characters that take you on a journey with them. I love to be able to feel with the characters. If a book makes me cry, even better. I don’t want to read a book that doesn’t make me feel something, or force me to think outside the confines of my own views.
One of the top reasons to read, is that you can learn something new everyday. For most adults, once we leave school, we aren’t actively learning anymore. We get jobs or start on a path in life where we know what we know and that’s all we do. Some of us become stagnant. I don’t know about you, but I hate that feeling. With reading, you can learn something just by sitting on the couch and cracking a book for fifteen minutes each day. Whether it’s a history book, a self-help book, a fantasy novel, or even a children’s picture book, you can learn hard facts or be exposed to new concepts.
Reading doesn’t just teach you new things. While you are learning, you are also enhancing your memory, boosting your analytical thinking, and expanding your vocabulary. There is a reason that reading to (or with) your child at bedtime is such a big to-do. Reading with your child has more benefits than just calming them down enough to fall asleep. You are exposing them to everything listed above.
As for you, wouldn’t you want to give yourself all the benefits that reading has as well? I have noticed that in the past year-or-so, I am more forgetful. As a teen, I could read books and still remember them to this day. Now, I’ll read a book and a couple of months later, I can’t even tell you the story. Maybe that’s just part of being an adult and having to remember and be responsible for more now than I had to as a teen. But reading helps me keep my mind active in a good way.
My favorite part about reading is how therapeutic it can be. When I’m feeling really stressed or bogged down by life, I have certain books that I will read because they make me feel better. There are books where reading about the characters is like going to visit an old friend. For me, the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas is the “old friend”.
There are also books that can help you get through certain situations. One book I started reading, How to Stop Feeling Like Shit, by Andrea Owen, was very enlightening. The first few chapters go in to explain how most people are their own worst critics and that the first step is acknowledging when you are being too hard on yourself to the point where it’s not productive.
To me, that was life changing. It’s amazing how you can take a negative thought and stop it right in its tracks by saying, “I hear you, but I’m not listening to you.”
This year, I haven’t read nearly as many books as I wanted to. So that’s why I’m now planning my ‘2020 Reading Challenge’ list. You should too!
You can find thousands of different reading challenges online if you Google it. For me, I like to tailor my reading challenges specific to my interests and goals. Up until this past year, I’ve pretty much been reading only Young Adult Fantasy/Adventure novels. I refused to accept that I am an adult and venture out of the YA category. Also, YA Fantasy/Adventure is just so fun!
But this year I have read a few Mystery and Fiction novels. So my goal for next year is to expand my horizons by reading books from different genres. If you want to do the 2020 Reading Challenge with me, my goal is to read at least this many of each type of book:
- Fiction (2)
- Mystery & Thriller (2)
- Historical Fiction (1)
- Sci Fi & Fantasy (2)
- Horror (1)
- Non-Fiction (2)
- Memoir & Autobiography (2)
- History (1)
- Science & Technology (1)
- Poetry (1)
- YA Fiction (2)
- YA Fantasy/Adventure (2)
- Middle Grade (2)
- Best Seller (4)
All together, that’s 25 books. That’s one book every two weeks. We can do this!
Now, if you want to do a reading challenge, but mine doesn’t seem like one you’d be interested in, there are a ton of different reading challenges you can do (just click the link).
If you don’t have one already, create a Good Reads account. You can download the app for mobile phones. In Good Reads, you can set a reading challenge for the year and log all the books you read. It will keep track of them for you.
I love Good Reads because you can look up books and it will give you a summary of it and all the information such as author, publication date, publisher, etc. Good Reads users will also leave reviews, so if you’re not sure whether you want to read it or not, check the star rating (out of 5), and see what people are saying about it.
If you see a book that you want to read, you can put in on your ‘bookshelf’ and sort it as “to be read”. You can also sort books as “currently reading”, and once finished, “read”.
If you have friends with a Good Reads account, you can follow them and see what they are reading. It’s like Facebook, but for book nerds.
Okay, maybe not totally like that, but you get the gist.
Follow my Good Reads account. The link is on my homepage.
Do you also plan on doing a reading challenge in 2020? If so, what guidelines are you following, if any?