Opinion | Maintain healthy reading habits


The Daily Illini File Photo

Hezbullah Akmal, 38, picks out a fiction novel at the Champaign Public Library on Nov. 5, 2018.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Dr. Seuss once said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” There’s no doubt reading is one of the most beneficial acts anyone can do. It provides entertainment, reduces stress, expands the mind and so much more.

Nevertheless, it’s sad to say not many people take part in the wonderful joy of reading. According to the Pew Research Center, about a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. Whether you are a voracious reader or someone who doesn’t do it at all, keep a healthy reading life, one that not only benefits now, but in the long term.

In order to maintain those reading habits, you have to read books you enjoy. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as you enjoy it and it keeps your eyes glued to the page. It could be anything from business to politics, poetry to fantasy, history to music. Whatever genre helps you laugh a little louder, think a little harder or maybe even write a little better, go for it.

Reading what you like also comes along with the added bonus of stressing over not reading what’s trendy or is popular at any given moment. Who cares? That’s the joy of reading; you should be able to read whatever you want without shame. 

Over the years, I’ve met dozens of readers who prefer to read beyond their own expertise. A small business owner once said he loves being scared by Stephen King novels. A history major at the University enjoys scientific research books. So go ahead and read anything you like; no one should be stopping you.

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While doing so, it’s okay to not finish a book. If you don’t care for it by page 50, drop it. There’s no use wasting your time reading something you don’t enjoy. The faster you quit reading something you don’t like, the more time you will have reading something you will enjoy. Why spend a reading life struggling to finish an awful book when you can spend that time reading something that will benefit you in some way?

Nowadays, plenty of people like Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban and so many others credit their fortunes and success to reading. You could too one day if you begin your reading life now. Pick up something you enjoy, find a comfy place to read it and let me your mind fall into the wonderful trance that is reading. Explore new worlds, meet new people and discover why things are the way they are. Don’t fear starting and keeping a healthy reading life. Rather, embrace it for all it is. You are sure to be glad you did.

Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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