Saturday, September 5, 2015

Reasons To Read Everyday

Often, when I tell people I read 60+ books in a year, I get a response somewhere along the lines of  "I wish I had time to read that much," in a tone that implies I'm wasting my precious time with all these silly books.

Making time to read every day is a choice I make and yet it's no longer a choice. Reading has become a part of my daily routine, like eating or brushing my teeth. Any time I leave the house, I grab my wallet, sunglasses, keys and a book. It's become habit. Over the years, I've learned little ways to sneak more reading time into my life. Along the way I've discovered how reading enriches my life and leads to more reading!

I take a book everywhere I go!
Here are a few of the reasons I love to read every day and how I make time for it.

1) Reading increases my vocabulary. The dictionary in my Kindle is one of my best friends! Reading classic literature in particular has exposed me to a completely different use of the English language that I didn't even realize had existed.

2) Reading motivates me to write. Reading a book that I find incredibly well written or exceptionally moving inspires me to tell my stories and hone my craft. Reading a book I find poorly written or disappointing makes me say "I can do better than that!" Either way, I'm motivated.

3) Reading helps me prepare for sleep. I try to climb into bed with a book at least an hour before I want to go to sleep. This forces me to put down my phone and spend some time in a restful state before expecting my body to go to sleep. The story I'm reading distracts my brain from all the things I forgot to do today or need to do tomorrow. The only side effect is that I often dream about the characters in the book I'm reading!

4) Audio books make travel time productive. I've been working in a flower shop for six months and spend a portion of each day alone in our delivery van. After a while, I thought my brain was turning to mush from all the Top 40 Radio I was listening to so I decided to try audio books. Now, I complete one or two books each week in this format. Listening to books is a completely different experience from reading them on my own. Some more difficult material (Can you say Hemingway?) is much more manageable with an audible narrator. I find it easier to follow dialogue this way too. My favorite type of audio book is memoir read by the author. It's like having a friend along telling his/her story while I drive.

5) Reading is something my husband and I can do together yet separately. In our house, we frequently have what we call Quiet Time, where we sit together in the same room and read our own books. Romantic, right? My husband and I are both self proclaimed Book Nerds. Together, we search garage sales and book stores for new additions to our home library. Reading is a hobby we can share and enjoy in our individual ways. We even hold a friendly competition  each year to see which of us reads the most books!

Book mail from one of my besties
6) My book club friends are some of my favorite people. I belong to two different book clubs. Both read one or two books per month and both frequently push me outside of my regular reading comfort zone. This broadens my horizons and exposes me to books, cultures, ideas and opinions that I otherwise wouldn't become familiar with. When we get togethr and discussly our monthly selections, even if it's fiction it leads to discussions of rea life issues and allows us to share our own stories in a small, safe setting. I have one particular friend who I've known for years and yet 95% of our conversations are about books! This has bonded us in a way that is different from any of my other friendships. The subjects in teh books we read bring up topics in conversation that may never have been braoched otherwise.

I know what you're probably thinking and no, I don't have kids. However I have a friend with two kids who reads more books than I do each year and some friends with no kids who read zero books per year. If you want to read, you can make time for it. Try using some of my tricks to squeeze more reading time into your days.

Tell me what you do to make reading fit into your life and why? What benefits have you noticed?

My favorite reading buddy