I just finished my second book of 2019. That statement is sort of true. I actually started both books last year, but I reached the final pages just this morning.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always been a slow reader. And mostly, after college, I had given up on the practice. But here recently, I’ve really paid it more attention. I started this whole “thing” several years ago, really, when my Mom was still alive. She had fallen gravely ill after my Dad’s death, and was in Hospice of Dayton. During that entire period, I read to her every day. A good deal of the time, she was non-responsive, and the doctors were projecting that she wouldn’t be sticking around much longer.
So I pulled a book off my shelf at home. It was one my brother in Seattle had sent me. And since I would be spending time by her bedside every day, I began to read to her. Thankfully, she pulled out of her bout with other worldliness, and stayed with us for three more years. I doubt that the reading had anything it do with it. My guess is, she was just getting hungry.
I read a couple of books to her that first year. And then a couple more. Now, not at all. She died in 2016.
I don’t know why I am telling you all of this, other than I think reading helps me in many ways. And with that, in the past two years, I read 18 books, and 27 books, increasingly. I think my speed is picking up. Or maybe it is all the Picture Books I’ve been consuming. That’s a joke. I read big books. With lots of words. Even some big words.
Regardless. I spend a little time each night before bed reading some sort of publication. And I like it.
Apparently, I am not alone. A lot of people like to read books.
Here’s another thing. I also love technology. But when it comes to books, I need the bricks and mortar. I am a page turner. I have to feel that paper in my hands. I like the smell of the binding when a new book is cracked open. I need the actual book.
Again, I am not alone in this either. A few years back, the sale of e-readers really surged, and there was a big push in electronic books. In fact, this industry was growing much faster than that of the printed word. But seemingly people found that the electronic versions were not satisfying their needs. And. Regular old paper books are winning the market once again.
No matter how they do it, most people love to read. And for good reason. There are many benefits to this grand activity. Scientifically proven. It promotes mental health, reduces stress, improves our general knowledge. It also does things like improve our memory, and our focus and our concentration.
But the benefit that is on the list — that I always notice — is this. It makes us more empathetic. Reading books about people whose lives are much different than ours, people who have lived in different times, or have gone through unique circumstances. All of these things. They help us to see the world with a wider lens. To appreciate that other people have lives we cannot possibly know, or even fully understand. And in that way, we appreciate the diversity. We see the possibilities. We become aware of the assortment of life.
And that is a huge benefit. For us to see, where we could not see before.
So. There it is. Tonight I will open a new book. A new adventure. A time meeting new friends. Another world to discover.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
― Oscar Wilde
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood