The Joy Of Reading

I have been an avid reader my whole life. With the encouragement of my dad, I read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations at the age of eight. The adventures of Pip as a young boy upon meeting the colourful Ms. Havisham are still vivid in my mind. The moral lessons this story taught me about striving for self-improvement while maintaining a conscience and a deep sense of loyalty are embedded within my character. 

I still have my original ear-marked copy of Great Expectations, but have since added to my collection many times over, as it brings back such vivid memories every-time I look at the cover.

As a young tween and teen, when most of my friends would be hanging out, I could be found hunkered down in my room immersed in a book or three. It would be typical for me to have a few on the go at once. I coveted my growing collection of books and would spend hours at the local library scouring the shelves for an interesting read.

Ayn Rand is an author I enjoyed reading in my twenties. Her fiction novels, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are both worthwhile reads but a complete contrast to what Charles Dickens set as a moral code. In Ayn Rand’s books she reverses morality, and her characters are both cruel and ego-centric. Both books written in the early to mid-nineteen-hundreds, depict a version of humanity that in many cases reflects today’s reality.

I love how a book can teach you about yourself and the world around you.  At the time of reading some of the classics like Ayn Rand I did not realize I was contemplating theories on virtue and the rule of law that would have required a deep dive into Machiavelli.  By carving a pocket of time out of our busy days to read we are freeing ourselves to rationalize themes and ideas that may be lost in our frantic schedules.  Out of that reflection comes the chance to spot big ideas and make changes to things that are working or not working in your life.

When was the last time you read a book? Did you know that 33% of American high school graduates never read another book after graduation, and that 42% of college grads never read again after college? Reading has many benefits including the improvement of brain connectivity, increased vocabulary and comprehension, prevention of cognitive decline and an increase in the capacity to empathize with other people. Reading has also been shown to fight the symptoms of depression, reduces stress and aid in sleep readiness. Try reading for 15-20 minutes a day and see if it helps improve your focus, sleep or imagination!

If you are like me and finding it difficult to wrap your head around adding another physical book to your bookshelf, investing in a Kobo or Kindle might be the solution. I resisted making the transition as I always loved holding a physical book in my hands, yet I have not once regretted my investment. As my Kobo comes with me wherever I go, I never miss an opportunity to read.

Whatever your genre, curling up with a good book is indeed good for the soul, good for intellectual health and overall wellness.
Happy reading!


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