Today, as part of of blogiversary celebration, I’m happy to have Alexa from Alexa Loves Books on the blog for a guest post! Thank you, Alexa, for being a part of the celebration!
I haven’t always been a big reader, but I totally agree with this post and that reading changes lives. I can’t imagine what I would be doing now if I didn’t love books so much.
Alexa is a book blogger from New York, who loves to read, travel, and write!
READING CHANGES LIVES
I’ve been an avid reader since I was in diapers. There’s never been a time that I can’t remember having books in my life. Although I may not have reading as part of my profession, I’d like to think that it’s a big enough part of my life that I can make grand, sweeping statements like this one:
Reading changes lives.
Ever since I became conscious of how important reading is to me, I have realized that it has a greater impact than even I could imagine. Here are three ways in which I think reading changes lives (or, more specifically, how it changed mine):
1. New worlds & perspectives are opened up.
One of my favorite things about reading is how it exposes you to all these new things. I’m an Asian-American, middle class kid, who grew up in a pretty typical household. Reading helped me explore different worlds and eras through different characters. At a young age, for instance, I was able to experience the Victorian era (through the American Girl series about Samantha), being lost in a forest and forced to survive (Hatchet) and the business of learning to ride and care for horses (The Saddle Club).
The experiences I had while reading helped broaden my personal perspective. I stepped out of my own shoes every single time I picked up a book, and into a new pair, care of the story. I think this is definitely something that automatically teaches readers how to respect and understand others.
It also leads to my second point…
2. Reading teaches you lessons, both educational and practical.
This may be the most common of statements, but I want to emphasize the truth behind it. We learn when we read. True, it’s not the traditional method of learning where principles and ideals are laid out for you; but it’s still a learning method, nonetheless.
Apart from learning about things like history and English, and even science and math on occasion, reading often teaches readers life lessons. Stories tend to shape our culture, our beliefs, our values. They influence, sometimes in a not-so-obvious-way, the way we choose to behave or respond to things.
From books, I’ve learned things like Christopher Columbus set off on a voyage across the sea and discovered the New World and that Hestia is the goddess of the hearth (the Percy Jackson series). I’ve also learned the honesty is usually the best policy, that real friends are not afraid to tell you the truth, that love comes in all ways, shapes and forms, that there is power in what you choose to say (Speechless), and that bullying is never the solution to anything (I Swear).
Books can teach us all kinds of things, and I think this is definitely one of the reasons people should be encouraged to read on a regular basis.
3. Reading provides a way to connect.
One of the greatest powers of reading is that it introduces you to characters that might as well be real, they stay with you even after you put the book down. They go through things you are going through and when they’re story is “just right”, you almost owe it to them to finish the rest of the tale and journey all the way to the end with them.
When you read a book, you’ll usually stick with it if you find the situation or the characters or the story interesting enough. However, a book becomes your favorite when you can really connect with it.
Finding a character or a situation that you can completely connect with is one of the best things about reading. A lot of the books I love are beloved because I find their characters relatable, or I can totally get the situation they’re going through.
Reading and finding this connection makes me feel less alone. It helps me to realize that, “Hey, I’m not the only one going through this. There are other people in the world who know exactly what this situation is like. I’m not alone!” I find that a bit of the burden or the confusion is lightened because there’s someone who can understand – even if that someone happens to be fictional.
When you meet new people or experience new things, and they affect you greatly, you’re just never the same. Your view of the world is broader, the image is sharper, and you most likely won’t respond to it the way you used to. Reading goes farther than that by even helping us discover things about ourselves we never even knew we had. It helps us find who we are and that’s the greatest power of reading.**
Plus, it’s just so much fun!
**Thanks to my fiance for his help with this last paragraph!