For some reason, many people find it weird that I read books and own many books. They do not get why I do not just watch television series instead. So I decided to write a blog post about it.
First of I do watch series, movies, and YouTube. I am not anti-modern culture. But there is just something about books, in all their forms, printed, ebooks, and audiobooks, that is amazing to me, and I see certain benefits when I read compared to periods where I do not.
Now let us get into it. In periods where I do not read and only watch YouTube videos of like 5-10 minutes in length, I see a decrease in the amount of time I can focus. This also holds true for 10-20 minutes long TV series episodes. I am aware that no study has ever concluded that short video clips can affect attention span, but this is my own experience. This is simply unacceptable to me, as I do not want my attention span to decrease. On the contrary, I would actually like to expand it. Her books help. I observe that in periods where I read as little as 10 minutes per day (yes, sometimes I time it), I still see a positive impact on my attention span. Therefore, I like to read and read a lot. To be honest, during my masters and PhD periods, I did not read anything for enjoyment, although I did buy books, and it has taken some time for me to ramp back up, and I am far from the speed I used to be at before. This leads me to the following reason, destressing, Reading helps me a lot in terms of handling daily stress, and it lets me disappear into another world, kind of the same way as meditation does.
Next, letting my fantasy loose. I have a very vivid imagination. I can entirely create scenes with sound effects and everything in my head on the fly as I read. I like this; it feels like hallucinating, and I enjoy it as it fully lets me submerge into a land of dragons, sail the open sea, etc. To me, it is truly magical and gives my brain time off, so again, destressing. Just ask my girlfriend and mom how long it can take me to get out of fantasy land sometimes. In extension to letting my fantasy loose, it also serves as inspiration for my own stories and plot lines (yes, I seek inspiration). It lets me create alternate worlds, and I love it. Morphing other authors’ universes to my ideal is an exercise I do a lot while reading; to me, it is fun.
There is also the aspect of learning something. For example, I do not limit my reading to fiction. I read books about music (how it works), languages and how they evolve, history, philosophy, and more. Books let me dive deeper into a topic than an online article (unless it provides references) and lets me focus on that topic alone. I love learning, and books are one of my sources for this.
Finally, for those who do not know, I am a little bit challenged in spelling and writing, yet I still love to learn languages. Through reading, I get better at spelling and, thereby, writing. Not just simple words, reading helps me discover new words and helps me learn how to spell them, thereby enriching my vocabulary. Additional, this also extends my verbal communication, which is a fantastic bonus. This is not just limited to my native language (Danish) and English but also the new language I am learning or relearning. For instance, I am learning Farsi (Iranian Persian) and learning to read Farsi helps in learning new words (although I still butcher the pronunciation), and the same goes for Spanish and German, where the latter I am relearning. Reading has become a wonderful tool for learning a new language and expand my communication abilities.
Before I close up a little note, most of the benefits and experiences I have mentioned, I also experience with audiobooks. Some audiobooks limit my fantasy when they add sound effects (looking at you, Star Wars audiobooks). But I will say that they are a great tool too.
Now to close. These are the reasons I read a lot and why I am getting more and more reading done. I hope I have inspired you to read more or start reading.