Why you should be reading for pleasure

By Jameson Filston, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor

Reading for class can be stressful, but settling down with a good book is a great way to unwind.

It was mid-November, and the chilly fall air seemed to cut a little deeper than usual through my thick jacket. I had just failed a test, and the stress and disappointment hung over me in a dark cloud. I walked slowly into my room and sat upon my bed, unable to escape the sour mood that followed me from the classroom. However, once I picked up my book from beside my bed, the mood dissipated and I was able to take a deep breath and relax. I was no longer in my room after a failure, but in a grand adventure alongside the friends I was getting to know in my book.

Situations like this are a common occurrence for me. When I need to de-stress after a long day or recover from a disappointment, reading is something that I can turn to that will consistently cheer me up.

The Telegraph reports that reading can calm you down significantly in as little as six minutes. I strongly agree with this study and have found a nearly immediate sense of relaxation when I begin reading a book. “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation,” Dr. David Lewis, who conducted a study on the topic, told the Telegraph. 

Reading is also a great conversation starter. Many stimulating and interesting conversations with my friends have been the result of a good book. Discussing books introduces topics and ideas that would otherwise never enter my conversations.

Author Ben Rawlence wrote in an article for the New York Times about his book club. He stated that even an idea that no one liked at first “has struck a chord in many conversations since.” 

Discussing books can be a way to socialize, but it can also help you grow as a person. The ideas that books expose you to broaden your experience and give you a perspective that merely living life cannot give you. Books give your imagination exercise and promote creativity in a way that few other activities can.

My childhood was filled with books, and whenever I reread them, the memories that were wedged between the pages fall out to be reexamined. I have rediscovered hiking trips, pool parties and lazy summer days locked between the covers of my favorite books.

This is a testament to the versatility of reading. It can be done anywhere, at any time. Essentially a brick made of paper,  you don’t have to worry much about damage. Whenever you have a book, you have access to an engaging form of entertainment. 

When fully immersed in a book, nothing else matters. There are no worries and no limitations. As George R.R. Martin wrote,  “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, … The man who never reads lives only one.”

You may find reading dull, but I would encourage you to give it another try. Pick up a book and fully commit, and you just might find a new favorite activity.

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