At the beginning of 2016, I decided to write down a list of challenges I’d like to go through this year, because apparently ‘resolutions’ weren’t really working.
The no-dairy foods challenge, the write-in-your-journal everyday challenge, the work-out-regularly challenge, and the book challenge.
I didn’t commit fully to any of the challenges but I surely put a lot of effort in the latter.
Picking out 25 books to read in one year proved to be quite a challenge in itself but I made sure I had a diverse mix of genres to expand my imagination.
Every book had its own unique journey.
Some accompanied me to the supermarket, gym, and office yet never seemed to end.
Some I gave up on half way through.
Some were done within a couple of days.
And some kept me up all night and ended at sunrise (my selection for this post).
Here are some reasons why my (incomplete) book challenge gave me back pieces of myself I’d lost along the way:
1. A book can teach you to consider experiences from more than one perspective. Sometimes we forget that there’s more to life than just our angle of it and a really good book which can capture the points of view of two more than one character can really get you thinking about such things.
2. You can learn some things about yourself by reading about someone else. When you find similarities between yourself and a character you’re reading about, you start noticing your strengths and pointing out your weaknesses. What disturbs you about the character is almost most likely what disturbes you in yourself.
3. You start to love better. There’s no manual on how to love, of course. A good book, though, can truly give you lessons you have yet to learn through others’ experiences. It can teach you about romance, forgiveness, and sometimes about what it takes for a relationship to go on.
4. Reading can do wonders for your writing. A good book or books for that matter, can truly enrich your vocabulary and embed unspoken grammatical rules in your brain. But it’s not just a vocabulary lesson, it teaches you how to capture someone’s attention with words and how be a colorful writer.
5. You start speaking more eloquently. For the same reasons it helps you write better but also because there’s something magical about reading a dialogue between characters. You start to wonder what you would say if you were in their place or what you wouldn’t say at all.
6. It’s one way to finding your passion. I never knew how much I loved music before I read “Eleanor and Park”, and I never knew that I couldn’t go on with life without getting a degree in psychology before I read “All The Bright Places”.
7. It’s an escape from reality but also a reflection of it somehow. A good book is more than just all the six reasons above. It’s most importantly alone time with yourself and also away from yourself in a sense that you busy your mind with thoughts beyond just your worries and fears. It’s an escape into a new non-existent world that only you can be in this moment in time. There’s something so personal about holding a book and flipping through the pages, always mentally counting how much more is left from this world and how many more worlds are waiting for you to explore them. There’s something so intimate about entering a reader’s mind and deciphering what could possibly lie between those lines. There’s something so captivating about our attachment to characters which teach us not just about themselves but mostly about ourselves along the way.