When I was younger, I used to get in trouble for hiding books underneath my desk during school. My mom would often catch me with my light on, reading at 1 or 2 in the morning. It was abnormal for me to be without a book in my hand.
Reading was a way of life for me, and I am so happy that is was.
I think that everybody should be an avid reader. Or, at least read a book every month or so. The brain is a muscle and it requires exercise to truly excel. Through reading, you are accumulating a larger vocabulary. You are improving your memory. You are learning how to listen.
Listening is something we struggle with in our culture. In a world of social media and status updates, the norm is for us to get our thoughts out there so we are heard. When correctly reading a book, though, you have to truly read and listen to what the author is trying to communicate. You have to meditate on the ideas presented. You have to try and get to know the various characters found throughout the pages. You have to shove your own thoughts and experiences into the corner of your mind in.
Books don’t stop at just teaching us to listen, though. Books also teach us how to analyze. I know attribute my own analytic ability to how much I read growing up. Author’s try to communicate a messages that aren’t always entirely apparent on the surface of the story. To truly understand what the story means, you have to learn to pick out the detailed hints the author leaves for you. It’s the same in life. Each person you meet has a story that usually isn’t known right away. You can read between the lines in order to get a glimpse into the way they operate.
While I love how reading has taught me to listen and analyze, my favorite is how each book I’ve read has taught me something crucial about the world I live in. I am a firm believer that truth is absolute and that it can be found anywhere. After reading Brave New World, I saw that people crave comfort more than they crave truth. After reading Billy Budd, I learned that actions have consequences, even if motive doesn’t warrant the outcome. After reading Hamlet, I learned that revenge is something that can truly drive you mad.
Reading is about more than being entertained- reading is about viewing the world through a different sense for a few hundred pages. It’s about learning more about yourself. More about others. And more about the world around us.
Reading is about exploring to find the truths God has left for us on this earth.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read a book.