For as long as I can remember, I’ve read. Starting with the Martine comics, through to Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and my set of My First Encyclopedia, I have since made my way through writers from all around the globe.
But my love of books was not something I was conscious of. Books were so much a part of me, so much a definition of my identity, of who I was that, like most of what we love, I took them for granted.
It took a book for me to realize my love of books. Sir Ken Robinson’s book Finding Your Element is all about finding that which ignites your passions that happen to intersect with your talent. In other words, being in your element is being at the crossroad of what you love to do and what you are good at. “When you are in your element,” says Robinson, “you live.” Otherwise, you just work.
The American writer Joan Didion said: “In time of trouble, I had been trained since childhood, read, learn, work it up, go to the literature.” And that’s just it. A book is all at once a best friend, a counselor, a mentor, an entertainer, a therapist, a storyteller, even a cook!
Books are also great motivators. I owe my love of running to a book, my love of cooking to another and my love of dogs and writing to yet another.
Teaching someone the art of reading is teaching them to be independent, self-teaching masters and self-reliant. But perhaps most importantly, it is teaching them to love being with themselves, at ease and at peace with who they are, and never, ever bored.
So go ahead, if you’re not a regular reader already, give it a try. Pick up a book on any subject that interests you and leaf through it. Set a regular time daily, it doesn’t have to be long, just ten minutes, maybe before bed or at lunchtime, and before you know it, you’ll be skipping through books at a time.
So how do you choose a book? The best books I’ve read have come as recommendations from friends who are also readers but I have also walked randomly into bookstores and picked up books that sounded fun and interesting. You can also subscribe to weekly or monthly newsletters that send book recommendations or to a website like Goodreads, a community of readers. There are also many bookstagrams (Instagram accounts for books) that are full of recommendations. In fact, I have my own that you can follow @wordlifebalance
And in case you’re inspired and need a place to start, here is a brief snippet of what I’m reading now:
13 ways of looking at a fat girl by Mona Awad
The Girls by Emma Cline
Train your dog like a pro by Jean Donaldson
Awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins