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Most people believe that reading is a hobby. You may even intuitively mention reading on most questionnaires where you have to indicate your hobbies! But the question is whether reading is a hobby or a multifaceted activity?
Generally speaking, reading is considered a hobby as it is an activity that is normally done for entertainment typically during leisure time. However, reading can be made a habit when done on a regular basis. For some, reading can also be a passion, while a few others may consider it a pastime.
You can also get addicted to reading. To understand why it can be any or a combination of these aspects, you’ll have to know what each concept entails and then look at whether reading fits the definition.
In most cases, readers don’t categorize their reading as being a habit or hobby or any of the other categories, but after you’ve read this article you’ll have an idea as to what type of activity your reading actually is!
Is Reading a Hobby or a Habit?
Many people regard reading only as a hobby, while others insist that it is more – that it is a habit. The reality is that reading is both a hobby and a habit.
Reading as a Hobby
According to Merriam-Webster, a hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” Reading fits this definition if you occasionally read a book or other literature when you need relaxation or have free time to kill. Thus, reading can be regarded as a hobby.
Reading as a Habit
Many readers who’ve started reading occasionally as a hobby, soon become aware that they are beginning to read out of habit.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary “, a habit is something that you do often and regularly.” In practical terms, this means that if you start to read at specific times daily, for instance before going to bed, you’ve developed a reading habit.
If you find that you can’t go to bed without reading first, it fits the definition of “habit” even more. In the Collins Dictionary, a habit is described as “an action which someone finds difficult to stop doing.”
So, we can say that reading can be a hobby first that perhaps develops into a habit.
Why is Reading Considered a Good Habit?
We’ve now established that reading can become a habit. The next question is whether it is a good habit, and if so, why.
Reading is a good habit for any person. There are actually several tangible benefits of reading!
It doesn’t matter whether it is young toddlers being introduced to the habit of reading by listening to bedtime stories every evening, adults reading the books they love, or elderly persons who stay in the habit of reading even when somebody else has to read for them.
Here are some of the reasons why reading is considered a good habit (again, check out my other article to know why reading is good for you!)-
1. Improves Memory and Cognitive Abilities
The fact that reading improves memory and cognitive ability makes reading a very good habit for kids. Not alone improves it children’s brainpower, but it also improves their vocabulary.
A study by Anne Hargrave of the Carleton University, Ontario, Canada revealed that pre-school children with limited vocabularies acquired new vocabulary from book-reading episodes.
2. Helps to Develop Social Skills
The habit of reading is one of the best habits you can possess. Books can really be your best friend. As a “friend,” reading
- assists you with character building as it teaches you that there are many ways to approach life;
- enhances your social skills as you get familiar with different social scenarios;
- adds knowledge, whether you read fiction or non-fiction;
- gives you better communication skills as your vocabulary and usage of grammar increase;
- develops and stimulates your mental health;
- puts you in a better mood and relaxes your mind; and
- helps you to sleep if you have the habit of reading before bedtime.
Is Reading a Good Hobby?
There are multiple reasons why reading is a good hobby, even if you are not a habitual reader.
1. Reading is Inexpensive as a Hobby
Reading is an inexpensive hobby. Normally there is no adding to your energy bill when reading in the daytime. And if you read at night all you need is a tiny LED light.
Although you sometimes buy a book you want to keep, you can utilize your local library and read as many books as you wish at no cost. Some libraries charge a small registration or annual fee, but most are absolutely free.
2. Reading Acts as a Stress Releaser
Even when you are not a habitual reader, reading a book is still one of the best remedies for stress. When you get involved in the story and characters in the book, you forget about your problems!
Reading is also a natural remedy if you cannot fall asleep because your mind can’t stop thinking about your busy day. Keep a book next to your bed to read when your mind can’t come to rest.
3. Provides Same Social Developing Benefits as Habitual Reader
Remember, although you might see your reading only as a hobby and don’t read as much as a habitual reader, you share the same benefits as what they have and what we’ve discussed earlier in this article.
Can Reading be Considered a Passion?
The word “passion” can be characterized by a “very strong feeling of love, and enthusiasm.” Many readers develop such a strong feeling and love for reading, they get totally involved and enthusiastic about discovering new books, reading them, and talking about books.
As reading cultivates rich imagination readers often find themselves daydreaming about the books they are reading and forget everything else they have to do.
If this frequently happens to you and you can’t wait to talk to your reading friends about the newest book you’ve read, it can be said that you are passionate about reading.
So, the answer to the question of whether reading can be considered a passion, the answer is a definite “yes.”
Can Reading be Considered Just a Pastime?
Pastime is usually defined as “an activity that occupies one’s spare time pleasantly.”
In accordance with this definition, reading can be considered just a pastime. Many people don’t read books as a habit, are not passionate about reading, and even don’t think of their reading as a hobby, but despite this, read as a pastime.
They will read when they are sitting in a waiting room, or traveling by train or air just to pass the time pleasantly.
Can Reading be an Addiction?
Addiction is a strong word that usually has a negative connotation. But, what addiction essentially means is “a strong desire to have or do something, or an activity that you can’t live without“.
When a person is frequently using reading as a barrier between him and the world, it is easy to get addicted to it. It is easier for such a person to sit alone and read than to try and have a conversation with somebody.
We must distinguish between a reading addiction and loving books. When you love reading you treat books like friends, but if you want to emotionally hide behind books it’s more like book abuse.
How do you know whether you are loving books or are addicted to books?
If you are a book-lover you remember the books you’ve read and why you’ve enjoyed reading them. If you are addicted to reading you are not interested in the content of what you are reading – you just want to shield yourself from the world, and you can’t even remember the books you’ve read.
Moreover, if you see yourself finding an opportunity to read at every moment of the day (and I’m not referring to a cliffhanger moment in the book or just an action-packed book as a reason for such an act), then you might be looking at reading as an addiction!
Can Reading be an Interest?
It is possible that reading can be just an interest. You might be a psychologist interested in the influence of reading on human behavior, but you are not a keen general reader – you only read subject-related journals and books.
Then you are not reading as a hobby or are passionate or addicted to reading. You are just interested in reading as a phenomenon.
About the Author
Akansha is a former business journalist and a seasoned communications professional. She is the founder of TheBookBuff, an avid storyteller, and a lifelong biblophile! Check out her profile page to know more about Akansha.