Reading fiction is hella cool

#MondayWithAimée

Let’s start this off with a little backstory.

I am a reader. Like a hardcore bookworm. I’m not even sure where it came from, but I remember my mom reading me bedtime Bible stories and making a low voice for God, and it made me laugh a lot. I remember making up stories with toys and teddy bears with my friends but even alone in my room. I remember the first series of books I read, Geronimo Stilton and a Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. From there, I read a lot. In my teenage years, I devoured books. I tore through them so fast and they all seemed to touch me in a very specific way. I went to the library once or twice a month and took out 7 or 8 novels and they were all better than the last. I discovered a world full of colours and potential. Yes, I had time. But mostly, I took the time. And boy, did I learn. Then I had a rough patch where all the books felt wrong. No book seemed to do, I couldn’t finish a single one. I was scared that I had lost my appetite for reading. I was sad because reading was my favourite thing in the world and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Then, with the years, I found books to ease me back into it. Now, I’m a bit more balanced. I am not the young teenager that was avidly reading, but I am not the younger adult that couldn’t read a single line. I have to read for school (hey literature program), but I miss this feeling reading provides. I miss diving into a world and escaping in it. By talking to you about it, I also hope to remind myself why I love it. And maybe remind you, fellow bookworms that forgot the feeling, how it feels.

This long intro is here for you to understand why reading is important to me. And here I am, about to tell you why you should get into it if you’re not into it because reading is hella cool.

Maybe you’ve heard that books are dying. That the television, cinema or streaming platforms are taking the place. Hey, surprise surprise, it’s been said with every platform for decades. Radio was supposed to be outdated and be eradicated by television…yet radio is still thriving and found ways to adapt. Podcasts are super popular and they are basically, you guessed it, radio. I was also scared that books would disappear. I love physical books, I love holding them and flipping the pages… but I’m getting carried away. (I warned you, I love books!) I remember one of my teacher addressing this problem and she said something like this: “books will never disappear because they are a perfect creation. You give a two-year-old a book and they will flip the pages. It was perfectly designed for humans to know what to do with it.” This hit me. Books have evolved too. There aren’t just the paper versions anymore. There’s kindle, audiobooks, pdf files, virtual books, there are many ways you can access literature. The medium can’t be a problem anymore. If you prefer when someone reads to you or when you can do your laundry, you can use audiobooks. If you love carrying all your books with you, get a kindle. It’s easy like this, and it’s amazing because books are evolving and adapting.

Books, but especially fiction, does wonders to your brain because it simulates reality. It develops your empathy because you see situations from a new perspective. You will be able to understand yourself and others so much better, which is what we love here, at B0ld. If you have more empathy, you are more open-minded, because you’ve seen things from different angles. It helps your memory, your vocabulary, your sentence structure. If you want to learn a new language, reading fiction is perfect. This is how I learned a lot about my own language and about English, and I took an example from my favourite writers to develop my writing style. Also, reading fiction destresses you and helps you sleep, because it puts you in a trance-like moment in your brain, where you are disconnected from reality and its sources of stress and worry. Fiction does wonders to your brain and your soul. There are tons of great articles on the matter, but I encourage you to read this one: https://open.buffer.com/reading-fiction/. There’s even a Ted Talk if you prefer listening to someone. You can learn as much from fiction as with non-fiction. Fiction is amazing. It opens up so much more in your life than you think. It soothes, heals, ameliorates and betters your life without you even noticing.

 I want to go a step further. People who put themselves in fiction, be in a play or writing a movie or acting in a film, they open up. There is a door, a window that opens up through fiction and that liberates you. It allows you to talk about your fears, your doubts, your wounds, your dreams and passions in such a vulnerable yet protected and safe way. Stories have this effect on us, we feel protected by them, safe enough to open up. What we are scared to share in a normal, real conversation, we feel comfortable sharing through fiction. It creates a comfortable wall, a filter. Exactly like in the Netflix show Love is Blind when they are in the pods. The person and its audience are separated by a wall. They can share and talk, but they are in their own safe space. Fiction works the same because, through it, we can hide, or at least, we think we can. It is paradoxical because when we think we are hidden and in our safest place, we usually are the most vulnerable and we show our true colours. Being in a character’s skin or writing through someone else’s voice allows us to feel safe to communicate what we felt too vulnerable to communicate through our own self.

If you want to read more, here’s a few liberating tips I learned with the years and by talking about it and researching on the subject.

You don’t have to finish every book. If it doesn’t interest you anymore, you don’t have to force it out or lose interest in reading just because this book isn’t for you. Change. You can read more than one book at a time. Simply, read however you want. Don’t put too many limits and setups. Just read.

You can also set a system. Instead of putting a goal of reading a certain amount of books by month or by year, strive to read every day for 15 minutes or 20 pages. It’s realistic, you can carve out time for it, and if you love the story enough, you’ll end up reading for longer. It will create a simple and tiny space in your schedule for you to read more. Do you know how we eat an elephant? Bite by bite.

Find your medium. Audio, tablet, physical copies, choose what you prefer, as long as you can find something that works for you. You don’t have to choose, you can all use them. Just go with what is best to facilitate your reading moment.

 I’ve always said that there’s a book for everyone and that if you don’t like reading, it’s because you haven’t found the right book. Maybe you won’t become a bookworm, but there’s always at least one story that will touch you. It’s out there, waiting for you… And if it’s not, maybe it’s time for you to create it.

Sweethearts, I hope you find the right story for you, and then you find someone to talk to about it. Share the dreams, share the stars, share the knowledge, share the laughs, the joy, share your happy place. I will go back to my books and find this happy place in them again. Don’t forget to check out Facebook and Instagram because we work hard to give you content to elevate your life. I’d love to hear about books you’ve loved! Should I do a list of great books I’ve read over the years? Tell me about it!

-Aimée.

Go watch Rowena Tsai’s video on how to read more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYk1EmLeI0I

Photo by Roman Koval

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