Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know my tagline “Love To Read”. I didn't just put it there to sell my books and journals! No, it's actually great advice for all of us. If we can learn to enjoy things that are good for us then it's win win. Many of us have probably been put off reading books and literature by school. It isn't the best environment in a lot of cases and all the joy of a subject can easily be sapped away. Rediscovering reading is something that bloggers like myself all want people to do. If you like short snappy reads like the ones on Alternative Fruit, then it's a gateway into broader and longer works. Some writers produce lengthy essays full of quotes, circumstantial facts, and varied opinions. These in depth pieces help us to gain a much deeper understanding however can also become cumbersome and over-involved. For me, in my journalism, I am continually thinking of the “so what?” rule. Do we care? That's why I usually stick to a concise style.
Of course, the logical step up from reading journalism is to reading books. It's amazing how many there are, new ones come out each day in their hundreds maybe even thousands. Visit Smashwords and you'll find their list of literature is constantly being added to by indie authors. Go to Kindle and you'll find practically the same. Then with major publishing houses and all their works, we're spoiled for choice in today's society. So, the opportunity is there, we're all able to find something worth reading if we actively seek it, just like you are doing now on this article.
Why is it good for us though? It's entertaining when we enjoy it, but what else is there? If you need any more temptation, here it is.
Mental Exercise – Yes, much like the muscles, the brain gets fit and unfit depending on how much we use it. We have to apply our mind to things in conscious ways to truly give our grey matter a decent work out and a book or blog is the ideal option here. There's no chance of autopilot when we're concentrating on something that always changes like the words in a sentence.
Improved Sleep – Reading before bedtime isn't just a tradition, we do it because it helps us to rest and relax. It gives us something non-vital to think about while we drift off and keeps us from rethinking the same routine from the daytime. This only works with paper though, as the light from screens tricks our mind into thinking it's day.
Better Brain Function – Reading helps our brain to develop in areas such as language, symbolism, and communication. By not only extending our vocabulary with more words to use, we learn new ways of saying things and perspectives on general life issues that could actually benefit our mind. The associations we learn from reading can often be applied to other things in our own lives.
Social Understanding – A writer's insight into social situations can be extremely rewarding to read. Sometimes we need to be told a story about a person who does a thing in order to look at ourselves in the way others do. We can also learn about possible behaviours people we know have and read about how fictional characters deal with it and what happens. If it's in detail in a book then it likely has a root in reality somewhere.
Better Memory – The reading process involves memory as we need to know what happened previously to understand the plot. The more of the story we read, the more we need to remember in the chain of events. New characters open dimensions of the universe that we have to make note of and keep in mind for what happens next. All this greatly improves what we remember in everyday life.
Educational – If we like to learn, and I hope we all do, then reading non-fiction is very rewarding. For me, reading about blogging and making effective websites is really helpful and I do it a lot. As a writer, I like to read books about writing as to continually improve my service to you. That whole process is rewarding as it allows me to make a better product which improves my career. Try to make room for a book about your subject and you'll find even revisiting the basics can be really beneficial.
And Relax – It's shown to reduce stress when we reading something that's not scary or dramatic. Of course if we read a book about war or monsters we'll go through the emotions presented to us, but in general, reading lowers adrenaline and cortisol. It takes our mind away from the things that worry us and get on our nerves and focusses our attention on something far away from it all.
Browse rare and unusual books, what will you find this time?
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Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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