I have spent the last couple of days in Sweden with a hacker who’s cyber name is Wasp. Last week I visited a pig farm in England. About 10 days ago I was in Downtown Chicago. And a month or so ago I was in Alaska. I bet you think I’m just racking up the frequent flyer miles. You’ll never guess how many I’ve earned on these trips… 0. That’s right…zero. You see, while my mind was in Alaska, Chicago, England, and Sweden in actuality I was right here, home, in Philly engrossed in a book.
I’ve always loved reading. Reading gives you the ability to be wherever you want to be. It engages the mind and stretches the imagination. Reading has been as natural for me as breathing. I don’t think about it I just do it. I do not even remember learning to read, it’s like I’ve always been able to do it. When a friend suggested I add reading to my list of things to do to decrease my idle time and increase my Joy I was not surprised at all. As a matter of fact I was in total agreement.
I have always turned to books for fun and as a way to escape and even find new friends that are relatable. The first books I remember reading were Chippy Goes to the Dentist and Tiggy Goes to the Hospital. Chippy and Tiggy were the same age as me and their adventures were both exciting and a little scary but they survived the dentist and doctor just as I had. When I got a little older I must admit that I cared about my friends Ramona (of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Series) and Margaret (of Judy Bloom’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret) just as much as I cared about the little girls I played with and talked to in real life.
As an adult my favorite books still have main characters that I can relate to. However books have now helped me develop real friendships. Joining a book club is one of the best decisions I’ve made as an adult. I have met some really smart and interesting women. We all come from different backgrounds and that leads to different perspectives on the books. Book club turns reading from a solo activity to one that enhances the social life and has lead me to many new friendships. (Shout out to Juniper Street Book Club)
In addition to reading’s ability to take you to another place with words and give you a social outlet in the form of book club, there are many other benefits to reading. Reading expands your vocabulary, improves your spelling, expands your imagination, helps improve the mind and memory, enlightens you to different cultures and ways of thinking, improves concentration and focus, gives you something to talk about and reduces boredom.
So while reading is nothing new to me my perspective on it has been broadened. I now see each book as a new literary guide towards joy.