Let me make something abundantly clear here: I’m not exactly what you’d call an avid reader YET. I’d kill to have those Pinterest-worthy bookshelves, stacked high with novels by authors whose names I can barely pronounce, adorned with delicate plant friends to add that touch of elegance. But if we’re being real here, my book collection is far from perfection. It’s not because I don’t read. I do. It’s just that I read in phases.
Back in high school, there was a brief period when I thought of myself as a reader – not entirely because I enjoyed it but because it was a “cool” hobby to have. During my college days, my love for reading poured into articles and digital magazines (Byrdie, you still hold a special place in my heart). I did read the occasional book or e-book, but I was inconsistent and — what I now call — a lazy reader.
Fast forward to last year, nearly two to three years down the line, and I’ve rekindled my romance with books. This year, I’m in deeper than ever. Apart from the fact that I really enjoy reading, there are some really cool benefits of reading books regularly that keep me going.
In the era of doomscrolling, I believe that books offer a perfect hideout from the toxic clutches of social media, which heavily thrives on negativity. The internet can either make you green with envy or churn your stomach with its vile content. Books provide the perfect excuse to break free from the endless cycle of memes and reels. Especially when Instagram fever is at its peak in the wee hours of the night while I struggle to sleep. Now, I’ve managed to swap that pre-slumber screen time for quality reading time (on most days), and it’s been a game-changer. Trust me; it’s science; you need to ditch the screens at least an hour before bedtime for good quality sleep.
Boost attention span
Again, I blame social media. With the rise of short-form content (reels, shorts, etc.) demanding our blink-and-you-miss-it focus, our attention spans have reduced drastically. Reading, for at least 30 minutes to an hour a day, helped me improve my attention span (I’ve actually noticed the change). I relish the process of reading. I sit down with a bunch of annotation tabs, markers, and pens, and as I go through a book, I underline and mark the lines that really speak to me — those that I want to come back to — feeding my mind and soul with each page I turn.
Know what’s not on the internet
I once heard a YouTuber mention that books hold information you won’t find on the internet. That’s so true. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, books are treasure troves of knowledge hiding in plain sight. For instance, I’ve peered behind the scenes of the publishing industry through the Satire “Yellowface” and the Historical Fiction novel “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” gave me a sneak peek into the world of Hollywood. I will forever be grateful to these books for the knowledge and insights they’ve imparted.
Develop empathy and gratitude
Books helped me massively to become more empathetic and grateful. Knowledge has this wonderful side effect of nurturing empathy and understanding. The more you immerse yourself in the stories of others, the more you learn to walk in their shoes, deepening your empathy. Every time I read certain books, I’m reminded of my own privileges and it overwhelms me with gratitude for everything I have.
Get better at articulation
During my undergrad days, I read articles from my favorite websites religiously. I was freelancing then, and I found that the best way to enhance my writing and articulation was to devour what I loved. I’d even copy phrases and writing styles I admired until I became decent at articulation. Since then, reading has remained my #1 resort for learning, observing, and honing my articulation skills. I love how vividly authors paint pictures in books. This brings me to my next point.
Improve attention to detail
Books are a goldmine for sharpening your eye for detail. I’m talking about knowing the exact shade of sand on a secluded beach, the texture of a character’s hair after a grueling workday, or even the sound of a baby’s giggles and the pattern on their bib that the author passionately describes. I want to know it all, and books deliver. Every. Single. Time.
Reading helps me stay objective. I’ve learned to embrace characters for who they are, not for how closely they align with my own standards and morals. People are wonderfully diverse, and I’ve come to understand that life isn’t all black and white; it’s filled with countless shades of gray. It helped me understand how people think and act, reminding me that not everything someone does needs to make sense to me and vice versa.
That is it, folks. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, I’d love to know your favorite read thus far or your current read. As for me, I’m currently reading “The Hunger Games” after a delightful tryst with “Yellowface.”