In the latest installment of Living With a Book Addict, I’ve decided to explore the pastime that is reading. What do you mean by this vague phrase, you ask? Well, instead of looking at the various books or authors or genres that one reads, I’m focusing in particular on the act of reading itself and what it means for myself and those around me. As a scientist, I’ve decided to take a methodical approach and evaluate how reading has changed my day-to-day life and examine its positive and negative effects on my life as a whole. In order to fully examine this, however, we first need a bit of background.
Before I lived with Kim, I’d have to say that reading had a minimal impact on my day-to-day life. Sure, I had to read some materials for school, mostly scientific papers and the odd book for fun, but this was definitely superficial and didn’t really take up much of my time. My idea of relaxing after a day of classes or work was to veg out in front of the tv or spending time in front of the computer chatting with friends via the venerable AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) which no longer seems to exist in my life and has since been since replaced with G Chat (which is awesome, btw). Anyway, once I moved in with Kim, got married, and she started the blog in earnest, I began to read for pleasure much more often. Some of the time I read for the blog, and other times I’ve just read for fun (i.e. my review of Timeline which you can read here). I’d say that the increase in reading for pleasure has to be at least 50%, if not 75% as my previous levels were not that high. I’ve begun reading after work as a means to relax and let go of the stress of the day. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV or computer for the majority of the time, I’ve now sat down with a book for an increasing amount of time. So how have these results changed my life? Well, to begin with, I think that reading seems to have a greater calming effect on me than simply wasting my time watching TV or aimlessly plodding around online. Don’t get me wrong, I still do the latter two things often, but I’ve come to find that if I get lost in a book I instantly forget the stresses of the day and am able to relax much more easily. Perhaps it’s the fact that I can let my mind wander and make up the scenery as the book moves along, but for some reason, it’s easier to relax with a book than with my laptop.
So, there you have it. I’ve come to realize that relaxing with a good book has become an important part of my life. What do you do to relax? How does reading fit into your schedule? Let us know in the comments below!