Hello, my fellow Spirals!
Today I wanted to talk about why I fell in love with reading. Reading has been such a crucial part of my life and a major chunk of my personality and identity. I have always associated reading with comfort and happiness. But obviously, my reasons run much deeper than that so let’s talk about that!
1. Fighting loneliness
I am an only child and every single child knows how lonely childhood can get sometimes. As a kid, whenever we went to my grandparent’s house I was super lonely because there were no kids in the neighborhood. While my mom was busy with my grandparents, I had to get creative and find ways to entertain myself. This was (and still is) true in our home as well when I couldn’t go out to play with friends.
That’s when books always came to my rescue. I used to be thoroughly immersed in a story be it Famous Five or Harry Potter. Two entire days of travelling in the train used to fly by effortlessly because I barely ever looked up from my book to notice anything else. The characters within the books offered me companionship and adventure which was enough to sustain me.
Even now, reading is my way of interacting with friends even though they are fictional characters. I am still an introvert and enjoy solitude. The only reason I was able to get through lockdown is because of books.
2. Escaping reality
This is such a standard reason for everyone who love to read. Even now when I stress out due to college or projects, my immediate thought is to pick up a book. When I am having a tough day, knowing that I will be in my bed reading a book at night offers me comfort like nothing else. When I am reading a book that really captivates me, I forget about everything around me and sometimes even end up thinking about it in my sleep.
I have got into the habit of reading before going to sleep and it really helps me wind down at night while I detach from the usual hustle bustle of the day. This is actually something I would strongly recommend to anyone. It is actually really helpful for your eyesight to stay away from screen at night. But I guess you would have heard this a million times already so I am not going to talk about it anymore. 😂
3. Getting in touch with reality
You might say “Huh? You just said it helps you escape reality and now you are saying the opposite?”. But hear me out.
Reading books such as Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah truly made me realize how I take my parents or my life in general for granted. I started noticing the beauty of doing simple things like taking a walk, sitting in the lawn with wind blowing in your face or snuggling up in bed listening to music. The world is so beautiful with so many vibrant colors and exotic beings and we fail to enjoy it. We (humans) are always sucked into the culture of running the rat race, always hustling to get somewhere that we never stop and take in our surroundings. We don’t cherish the simple moments with our family, when we laugh with them at stupid things, when we watch some show together at night or just lie down and talk.
That’s another thing about reading. It is quite possibly the slowest way of consuming information which enables us to slow down from the usual running around and be intentional about our mental and physical health.
4. Pushing me to ask “Why”
I often wonder, maybe if I hadn’t read books from different perspectives then I wouldn’t have been able to identify when something wrong is happening around me. I definitely would have accepted everything happening around me without speaking up. For example, where I live being a homosexual is still frowned upon and women still don’t have access to basic rights. Had I not read books on these topics, I might have never gotten comfortable with such topics much less stand up for myself and others. Reading about these things via books or articles and educating ourselves is the only way to change our and others’ mindset and create a better society. Our parents may not have had the opportunity or the access to these things in their age but we do, and it becomes our responsibility to be better.
I am a privileged individual and reading a variety of books from diverse cultures has helped me acknowledge that and understand how I can be better. Every time I react in a particular way to a situation, I question myself and others as to why we do things a certain way. “Is it because we are prejudiced?” ,”Am I thinking this way because of internalized misogyny?”, “Is this something that has been inculcated within me from my childhood by the society? Should I change it?”, “Is there something that I can do to improve this situation?” I have definitely started questioning things more and while I cannot say that I am better than everyone around me, I can definitely say that I am changing for the better.
5. Travelling from the comfort of home
With the pandemic came a massive set of travel restrictions. But that didn’t stop me from exploring different countries and places while staying inside my home.
If you have seen one of my earlier blog posts (Around the World in Books challenge) then you know that I have undertaken a challenge to read books from different countries to improve my scope of knowledge. To me, this was the best possible way for me to travel and learn about various cultures without actually travelling. With books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and so many other fantasy worlds, I am able to step into a completely different world and explore what our world could have been like. Honestly if that isn’t a good enough reason to read then I don’t know what is.
With that, I will be ending this post. All the reasons I have listed above also serve as a convincing factor for any non-reader to pick up books and start reading! If you know any of your friends who aren’t into reading, then share this post or talk about the points to encourage them to start reading. I am sure anyone who starts will never regret it.