“For there are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and the other worlds, the fantasy…their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. These worlds provide an alternative. Provide escape. Provide a dream, and power, provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.”-Queen Titania, “The Books of Magic”
Celebrated author Neil Gaiman wrote those words many years ago for a comic book. However, many people in America have probably never heard of Neil Gaiman, much less other authors from more obscure niches or from distant countries. According to a survey by the Pew Research Institute, over 27 percent of the United State’s adult population haven’t read a book in a whole year.
But reading fiction, non-fiction and other forms of the written word has mental and physical benefits. Reading enhances your brain, makes it easier for you to empathize and prevents mental decline from old age.
If you want to start your journey into reading, here are 5 things you need to browse every day or at least read a bit.
- The News, from Multiple Sources
By news, this means more than just finding out who Meghan Markle is and what is the latest scandal rocking Hollywood. You need to be updated on current events if you want to be more active in your community and the world at large. Prioritize local news first, from local newspapers and sources. Then read news on national and international events. It is crucial to your personal development that you seek credible news information from more than one source. And these credible sources do not count social media posts. Reading the news from different trustworthy lenses enhances your world view and gives you insight on the world at large.
- A Work of Fiction You Enjoy
As the Queen Titania says, fictional worlds are extremely important because they allow us to transcend the limitations of our current reality. If you’re always tired from work, you may want to read about people who go on exotic adventures. If you’re tired of everyday drudgery, you may want to experience second-hand the thrill of life-changing experiences. They can also pose interesting questions that you may not encounter in normal life.
Books are essential in exploring aspects of life safely. You may not face a dragon in real life but reading about it may make you think about what you’re going to do if it happens to you.
- A Non-Fiction Book
Works of fiction are essential to your personal development, but they shouldn’t be your only source of reading material. The world has had centuries of history, with billions of lives and countless events happening during this period.
Plenty of interesting stories have occurred in real life. Some of them are groundbreaking and historical, but there are non-fiction books that cover more mundane topics like the personal struggles of somebody else. Reading such books helps you empathize and understand the experiences of people who aren’t you or like you. You can explore other cultures, enhance your knowledge of historical events and even develop new skills, all thanks to non-fiction books.lent
- A Work of Fiction Your Friends Have Read
Books and reading are great tools for personal improvement, but they can also be gateways into broadening your social horizon. Discussing a book or some other written work, like comic books or intriguing magazine articles, with friends and other people who’ve read them are great ways of creating discourse.
Debates and arguments about fictional matters can help improve your ability to argue and theorize about real world matters. Not to mention that these sessions of discussion and arguments can be an enormously fun time for all involved. The spirited discussions that books and written works generate are the reason book clubs are popular.
- A Work of Fiction You’ve Never Tried Before
Finally, its important that you try to broaden your horizons, even when it comes to reading. For example, you may have nothing but disdain for Young Adult fiction despite never having read any of it. This is a silly stance to develop, and you could be pleasantly surprised if you crack open a YA novel. Not reading a genre or a type of reading material simply because you’ve never tried to before can be serious crutch to your self-improvement. Thankfully, it’s one you can easily solve by picking up a book you’re unlikely to have read and opening the first page.
Reading is more than just a hobby that passes the time. It’s an activity that expands the mind and frees the soul from the constraints of your everyday life. So the next time you have a few hours, instead of opening your smartphone, go to the nearest shelf and open a new dimension.