101 changes: Change 6 – Read a book (Benefits of reading)

I am writing a series of 101 small changes that we can make to make the quality of our life better and build and lead a more happier life that is in tune with our heart and mind. These are small changes that I have made and am working on right now, so I know they are possible for anyone to do.

If you have not read previous posts, check out a few posts on the changes from the past:

101 changes: Change 1- Reduce Drinking Soda

101 changes: Change 2: Getting to email Zen

101 changes: Change 3: Slow down- Slow blogging movement

101 changes: Change 4 – Plant something

101 changes: Change 5 – Smile when you wake up

101 changes: Change 6:: Read a book – Benefits of reading

101 changes: Change 7 – Watch less Television and Be more productive

101 changes: Change 8 – Stretch your comfort zone

101 changes: Change 9:  Drink to your health- Benefits of Drinking Tea

101 changes: Change 10: Bring out the artist in You AKA be creative
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Many of us are readers without us knowing it, we read emails, news, blogs, other information sites, magazines, work related and school related books and magazines, novels and other type of reading activities such as reading to your child and so on. Reading a book enhances our imagination and our mind.

With the popularity of internet, video games, movies, TV and other online social, media has put traditional reading in the back seat. There are so many benefits to reading the traditional way and I will show why you should read more books, both fictional and non-fictional, technical and for fun.

Click here to know about my list of classic books that everyone should read at least once and 8 kids books that everyone should read in our life.

Some of the top bestselling books are great way to start reading, exploring and learning at the same time.

I have been a book worm since I was a kid and love reading all types of books. There are many aspects of reading that provide many benefits to us. It does not matter what type of a book you read, there is a book for all of our interests. From

  • comic books,
  • picture books,
  • drama,
  • humorous books,
  • romance novels,
  • historical books,
  • cook books,
  • how to books,
  • self improvement books,
  • technical books,
  • science fictions books,
  • famous biographies,
  • poems,
  • haiku,
  • Joke books,
  • ebooks,
  • travel books and much more. There is something for every stage of readers;

A few of benefits for reading:

  1. It improves your thinking: By reading in general, people tend to improve their analytical thinking and exercise the muscles in their mind. There have been studies done to show that reading improves your mind.
  2. Improves your speech and vocabulary: There is no doubt, the more diverse and varied books that you read, you will improve your vocabulary with words that we may not generally use or hear in our daily life.
  3. It improves your writing: It may seem like a surprise to hear that reading can improve your writing but it is true. If it can improve your mind by thinking more analytically, and improve your vocabulary, it is bound to improve your writing as well.  That maybe why most Language classes made us read books. Great writers are amazing, they can show moving pictures to words that are floating around, making us visualize the characters, feel their feelings and emotions and all that will pass on to you, the reader, especially when you write after reading a master piece book.
  4. Glimpse in to Past: By reading great classic, we can go back in to the past. For example, when we read Pride and Prejudice we can see Austen’s world and culture around that time, how people lived and talked and what was normal, while living in the present.
  5. Glimpse in to a possible future: When we read books like Nineteen Eighty-Four we can foresee a possible future and hopefully we can take steps to avoid some of the worse situations by correcting the way we do things now.
  6. It improves focus and memory: I am very bad with people’s name and driving directions and yet, I find I remember things from my favorite books, the characters all so well. One of the reason being is that unlike the small fragments of issues, a book gives a COMPLETE story which makes focusing easy and improve your memory, especially if the book is engaging.
  7. You can travel around the world from your couch: No need to pack or get a plane ticket, by reading books that are set in different countries, cities, we can learn and virtually visit other places we may not otherwise get a chance to.
  8. Learning is portable: You can take your book or e-reader anywhere as it is portable, be it doctor or dentist’s office, beach or in plane ride. Learning continues.
  9. Can change your life: Have you ever read a book, that completely change the way you look at the world and those who are around you? It can make you a better person, learn a new skill, or give you hope. Not all books are created equal, but there are a few gems that just might change your life for better.
  10. Most time books are better than Movies: As an avid reader and an avid movie watcher, I know 99% of the times books are always better than the movies. Take the example of the Harry Potter book series, movies leave so many things out as it is hard to put everything in 3 hours. Sometimes so much is omitted that it makes it confusing to watch a movie based on a book. Some movies are well made though such as North & South TV series by Elizabeth Gaskell So, next time if you find some free time, pick up a good book to read and go on a time travel journey and learn something you always wanted to.

Some great books to start reading this year, if you have not already done it:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Outliers: The Story of Success

The Help : Novel

Do you love reading? What benefits do you think book reading gives you? Please share. Image source: Guardian.co.uk

About Author: This post is written by Preeti who writes under name of Zengirl on Heart and Mind Blog. She writes articles about self improvement, stress free and slow living and believes in slow blogging.

If you liked this article, please subscribe to Heart and Mind blog for FREE via RSS Feed or email.


 
I am stay at home with 2 kids, married to my best friend zenguy. I am in to simplifying, slow and sustainable living, I am frugal, love reading, writing and watching romantic movies. I believe in family, friendship and community.

52 comments

  1. Angela Artemis says:

    Preeti,
    I’m a bookworm too. Reading is so wonderful Since I started blogging and reading so many blogs my book reading has suffered.

    I was thinking about this recently and decided I had to make time to read again. It’s such a joy!

    Thank you for reminding me!

  2. ayo says:

    hello preeti
    how are you?
    thanks for sharing this and i believe there’s absolutely no harm in being a bookworm lol!.(or is there????)
    if i may add to this please, reading makes us well rounded individuals. it equips us with diverse forms of knowledge.it makes us aware of the society/community we live in, It enlightens us. It serves as a tool for discovering new ideas, formulas, programs etc.
    can we really do without reading? i doubt that.
    take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day.
    p.s. thanks for contributing to this months edition of the magazine.

  3. Jessica says:

    Hi Preeti!

    I totally agree with you, with all of those benefits we should definitely bring back books! Like you said, there’s something for everyone, and for all those who don’t like reading, I say ‘you haven’t looked hard enough!’

    Keep up the great posts!

  4. ZenGirl says:

    Angela,

    I am glad to know other book-worms. I know how life can be with 20 millions things in our to do list. I still try to 2-3 books every month, sometimes new, some time old favorites.

    I hope you find some time to relax and read! You hard working gal!

  5. ZenGirl says:

    Rob,

    Yes, I have been known to be lost in a book so much, that I forget what is happening around me. I am reading 180 right now too and simply great! Thank you.

  6. ZenGirl says:

    Ayo,

    No, I hope there is no harm in being a book-worm :-) If there is one, I am not the one to admit it as I love love good books.

    Thank you for adding another benefit of reading, I agree it does make us well rounded person and gives us diverse knowledge.

    Thank you for letting me part of your online magazine, it simply marvelous!! You did such a wonderful job as always!

  7. ZenGirl says:

    Jessica,

    I love reading and I noticed so does many people in blogsphere. We can do so many things with good book and it sure improves our mind, knowledge and writing too. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Betsy Bargain says:

    Like Angela, I read fewer books since I discovered the world of blogs. It’s just easier to find a few minutes to read a blog post. However, there’s still nothing quite like getting lost in a book and finding hours have gone by without you realizing it!

  9. Clearly Composed says:

    Count me in on the book worm parade! I’ve adored books for as long as I can remember. One of the reasons is because it stills the mind for me. It’s hard to be worrying or planning or much of anything else for that matter while engaged in a gripping read. I almost always read a few pages before going to bed too. It’s like a signal for me to slow down and prepare to rest. Great post. :)

  10. Carolina says:

    Hi Zen Girl – I was actually introduced to your site from your Virgin Blogger Guest Post. I might say…your Akismet tip was extremely helpful for a newbie blogger such as me. I am now officially blocking a lot of SPAM that was overwhelming my inbox.

    Re: Reading, It provides such an inspiration for me on a daily basis. I haven’t bought a new book in months because I didn’t want to take up any more space in my apartment. I finally saved enough to purchase an e-reader and bought the kindle on amazon. I can’t wait to get it and to start immersing myself into the world of Books.

    The girl with the dragon tattoo is a great book, btw. So is Eat, Pray, love. I’m actually a bit scared to see the movie because I don’t want it to ruin the effect the book had on me. I know Roberts is an amazing actress, but Gilbert really hit it home with her memoir.

  11. Steve Scott says:

    It is funny the way so many people do seem to read and blog. Maybe the joy of reading really does transform itself into the desire to write.

    Who know, but I would consider myself a bookworm too. I basically break my reading down in two ways now. Most “self-help” type books I Get the “books on tape” version and I listen to them while running (at least an hour a day)

    Most fiction I get on my Kindle.

    I still will want the “joy” or reading a real life book if I think it will be a “special” one.

  12. ~Carla~ says:

    I also love to read! I don’t watch much TV at all, a good movie once a week, sometimes twice, but that’s about it. I used to read more before I had 4 kids, but such is life. I’m going to try to make it a goal to read a new book every couple of weeks though. It’s good for your soul! :)

  13. S. Ali Myers - Soulful Body & Mind says:

    If you love knowledge then you love books. I’m a life-long student and avid reader. I do not like fiction but I love just about anything else. One of my long-term goals is to author and publish my very own book. I know you’re a bookworm, Preeti, so no surprise that you compiled a wonderful list.

    Peace!

  14. ZenGirl says:

    Betsy,

    Yes, writing and reading other blogs can be addicting. I know the feeling. I still try to make some time to read a few books every month. Sometimes I re-read my old favorites!

  15. ZenGirl says:

    Clearly Composed,

    Welcome to blog and book-worm club too! I hear you about reading before bed, I do too. There are some some amazing authors who writes wonderfully, I can not put book down until I know what happens next.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting here.

  16. ZenGirl says:

    Carolina,

    Welcome and I am glad Akismet worked well for you, it has done wonder for me and SPAMs.

    I usually read books and give it away to others and library sale bin and keep only a few selected ones that I like to re-read again to keep less clutter at home. I still have book case load still.

    I heard that Eat, Pray, Love is going to be a movie, even I am apprehensive about it. Book are generally better. I heard Girl with dragon tattoo will be a movie too, let’ see. We’ll always have the books.

  17. ZenGirl says:

    Steve,

    Welcome here! Reading sure improves writing, at least for me (I hope!) Books on tape are great too, as you can do other things like you said.

    I always have preferred old fashioned way of reading books, on sofa, bed and in paperback or hard cover format. I have yet to try Kindle. A friend of mine, Farnoosh has asked me to try it out, so I will and see how that goes.

    There are great self help books! Enjoy and have great time traveling.

  18. ZenGirl says:

    Carla,

    I love to read and occasionally watch a movie (maybe 1-2 in DVD per month). I can imagine with 4 kids you have little time left as I know with 2 little ones, I am always looking for special time. Forget diamonds, give me free time instead! :-)

    Reading great books always inspires me. I can re-read some books again and again.

  19. Armen Shirvanian says:

    Hi Preeti.

    Point #7 is a cool one. Combining books and Google Earth, we can travel far and wide without the distance at all. Not to take away from travel, but people have similar goals all around the world, and things don’t change much. There might be different animals or locations or cultural norms, but each society has people who want to reproduce and rise in stature. Reading books can get a us a solid view of what a place is like, or what a certain group of people is like, and with other online resources, we basically have the travel done.

    Books sure are better than movies because our mind actively fills in the parts that the book doesn’t inform us about. This is pre-done in a movie, so interactivity is very low.

  20. Alien Ghost says:

    Hi Preeti,

    I like # 1-2-3-6 and 10. They are important gains we can have only when reading books.

    The others can be done with a good movie or documentary, but as you mention, reading is the best way.

    Thank you for the reminder, especially in today’s world where we tend to go too fast with technology forgetting all the good things that taking the time to read a good book can bring :)

    Raul

  21. ZenGirl says:

    Ali,

    I do love gaining knowledge and learn new things and I too feel like I am life long student. I am sure you will be a great author to your book, you should go for it.

    :-) It is funny, when I was a child, I was called book worm, now I see that term as a positive thing! Too bad we do not read much with internet, video games, movies and other life distraction.
    Reply

  22. Theresa Bradley-Banta says:

    Hi Preeti,

    Oh, I loved your list of the types of books there are for everyone… and I suspect you read, or have read, all of them! Am I right? I’ve been a book worm since I was a kid too. My teacher used to force me to go play rather than read – guess she thought I needed some social skills too!

    What an excellent list of benefits. It was really fun to read. I really like that you can get a glimpse into the past… and the future. Nicely put, and so true.

    Thanks also for the book recommendations! I’m trying to line up the rest of my summer reading with some well deserved time off.

    Thanks again. All my best to you.
    Theresa

  23. jonathanfigaro says:

    I think reading is a very wonderful thing. It opens up the mind from such mundane activities such as television. You can learn the world atlas from your living room. And the long term effects of this travel can help you in only a positive way. It best to read challenging books. It will increase you sense of direction, knowledge and create you as a SUPREME BEING. Well, not too supreme, but good enough.

  24. Marion Anderson says:

    Hi Preeti

    I was a bookworm as a child and then rediscovered reading when I was pregnant. I read a lot for business but my favorite reason for reading is relaxation.

    I just love to loose myself in a good book while sitting in the garden or in front of a fire. Hours pass and you are transported into another world. Just bliss

  25. ZenGirl says:

    Armen,

    Yes, Google earth is pretty neat tool to see around the world just like books. Before we can travel, we can find out how the culture is, how people live and what is social norm via book, not to mention what to see and do when you get there.

    I like that books makes us think unlike movies, although I do love well made movies, I love my traditional book reading much better. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  26. ZenGirl says:

    Raul,

    I am glad you liked it. They say pictures says thousands words but well written words can make you visualize pictures or moving pictures in our imagination. When I read certain book, I can imagine and visualize how some particular characters would look and behave if they were real in front of eyes via my mind imagination and that is beautiful writing.

    I love technology as much as next person, but I love my old fashioned way of reading books too. I can tell you like reading too.

  27. ZenGirl says:

    Theresa,

    I am glad you liked it, I read a lot. Yes out of the books I mentioned I have read all almost, I am reading the last one “not just who you know:. I loved girl with dragon tattoo but have not read next in series yet. I love eat, pray love and outlier.

    I think your social skills seems to be excellent over online and I am sure in real life too.

    Yes, check these book out from library first, that is what I do first. If I LOVE the book so much I buy it later. I like to re-read some books. My Jane Austen books are well used and read many times. If you read these books, let me know how you liked it.

  28. ZenGirl says:

    Jonathan,

    Yes, reading can be excellent thing, When we are reading from our own desire and not from what school or college forces us to read, we tend to blossom.

    Supreme being huh? I am not sure but it sure will make us more knowledgeable for sure and I am cool with that! Thanks for sharing.

  29. ZenGirl says:

    Marion,

    I feel so accepted here :-) Many of us are bookworm. When I was a child, book worm was not a good term, at least not for me. I rather be with good book than to be social! :-)

    It is nice to read in garden or in front of fire with a good book. You get to travel and experience the book’s characters, and lives and that is beautiful!

  30. Aileen says:

    Oh YAY a celebration of BOOKS!!!!!
    I love this post Preeti, it’s like an “Ode to Books”

    I will say, like Angela, reading blogs has decreased the amount I read physical books. – but nothing compares to being lost in book and living in it’s world. I love writing notes on the pages, highlighting it, and holding it in my hands – there is just something magical about it.

    I’m so thrilled you are celebrating BOOKS with this post!

  31. Belidna Munoz + The Halfway Point says:

    Hi Preeti,
    I love this series that you’re doing! And amen to the portability of books. I never go anywhere without one. Even to parties (I know, terrible, right?). I haven’t taken the plunge on getting an electronic device yet, but the portability of the iPad is really enticing me to pick one up. I can’t say I read all kinds because I’m pretty selective and I’ve only recently gotten into fiction again.
    And yes, every once in a while, my life is changed after reading a book.
    Great post!

  32. Dia says:

    Hi Preeti,

    There is nothing that can beat reading. We gain so much information and learn new things and expand our minds. Thanks for sharing this

  33. Sibyl - alternaview says:

    Preeti: Definitely a great habit. I couldn’t agree more. There really is nothing better than reading. And, you can literally impact your life by reading by the right books. I thought this was a great post and an addition to your great list. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Melinda says:

    I love reading. I have never seen a movie that was better than the original book. :) I wish I had more time to read. I have about 10 books in my waiting to be read pile.

  35. ZenGirl says:

    Aileen,

    I like the “ode to books”, as I love reading. Yes, blogging and other blogging related activities can add up, leaving us less time for reading.

    I love writing on notes too. I write poems and short stories, mostly for my eyes but lately not much time left with kids and life happening but I still try! I hope you get a chance to read and write some wonderful stuff.

  36. ZenGirl says:

    Belinda,

    I like books too much, I wish I can carry with me everywhere. Do you really take it to parties? Humm, I can imagine, some books are better compared to parties so I can understand!

    A few books have changed my life and I am glad I came across them. I love fictions and non-fictions as long as author is engaging. Thanks for thoughtful comment.

  37. ZenGirl says:

    Dia,

    You are so right, reading does so many wonderful things to our mind and our thinking and learning! I think many of us are readers here and I am not surprised!

  38. ZenGirl says:

    Sibyl,

    Yes, not all books are great but many are, if you read right books at right time, it can change our life for better. Whenever I am feeling blue I read my favorite book by Austen or P G Wodehouse and I am no longer feel blue! Cooking and reading both does that for me!

  39. ZenGirl says:

    Melinda,

    I somehow knew, you would be a reader too. I rarely have seen movies that are better than original book but a few rare are there like I mentioned North and South TV series (UK one), that handled the ending lot better compared to books, also Lord of rings trilogy did fair job with books! I agree, in most cases books are far better.

    Under the Tuscan sun was a good movie but it took so much liberty from the original book, that it was different completely, have you seen it?

  40. Melinda says:

    You are right..the Lord of the Rings was brilliant. I haven’t seen or read Tuscan Sun. In the movie department I’m always picking comedies, so my movie and book tastes are very different.

  41. Felicia says:

    I loved reading ever since I learned how. I often asked my mom (during my pre-school and mid-school years) to help me borrow a book each week from the library. I so wish the Internet could’ve been available during my “hunger for reading” years so I could read online encyclopedias and get some of my homework (requiring research) done in no time. I sure hope my kids get to love reading as I did before.

  42. ZenGirl says:

    Felicia,

    It is great that you love reading, I know online encyclopedia are great and quick ways to find a reference to any school research.

    P. S. I had to edit out your site, see my commenting policy here. Thanks for your input.

  43. Marko -- Calm Growth says:

    I love to read. Sometimes I read more, sometimes less, but from every book that I read I learned a valuable lesson!

    Great points Preeti. And I totally agree, the media are slightly moved traditional reading in the back seat…

  44. ZenGirl says:

    Marko,

    Reading great classic and non fiction always improves our mind and life in some ways. I recall reading “your money or your life” and it changed the way I see my money and life perspective. I still try to read 2-4 books each month, I am fast reader which means I need to re-read a few thing again and again :-)

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