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If you have some free time and you are considering taking up a hobby, then perhaps reading should be something that you consider. But, people sometimes can not understand why reading, which is often considered only a passive activity at best, can be a hobby.
Reading is considered a good hobby because it leads to the all-round development of your brain and personality. Reading can be done by anyone, at any age. It has a low barrier for entry as it is inexpensive. Moreover, reading also has substantial health benefits apart from enabling recreation.
In this article, we’ll first establish whether reading is a hobby or a habit, or both, and then we’ll discuss eleven reasons why it is considered a very good hobby.
Is Reading a Hobby or a Habit?
Reading can be both a hobby and a habit. Over time, if you indulge in reading a bit too much and you can’t live without it, reading can also become an addiction!
As a hobby, it is an activity that is normally done during leisure time for enjoyment. But that is not the whole truth.
Reading can easily develop into a habit and for many people even a passion.
To understand the difference between a hobby and a habit, let’s look at the dictionary definitions. According to Merriam-Webster, a hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” Reading fits this definition.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “a habit is something that you do often and regularly,” and in the Collins Dictionary, a habit is described as “an action which someone finds difficult to stop doing.”
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.
Why is Reading a Good Hobby?
There are many reasons why reading is regarded as a very good hobby. Let’s look at only eleven of the reasons why you should also consider making reading your hobby!
1. Reading is Inexpensive
Reading is one of the most inexpensive hobbies you can have. You don’t need any special equipment or a specialized area or room.
The books you are using when practicing your reading hobby are also often available from a library for free, and if you’ve bought some books to read, they can generally be resold or swapped later.
At most libraries, your only expense would be your annual membership fee, if any. You can also join a reading club where the members swap books amongst themselves.
When you don’t want to keep specific books and you can’t swap them, you can always put them up for sale online or at your local fair.
2. Gain Enormous Knowledge
Your reading hobby lets you gain enormous knowledge. Every book you read leaves information in your brain. Your brain stores all the information that you encounter every day.
So, whatever you’ve read always forms part of your memory and can be recalled and used by your brain when needed.
The more you read, the more information is stored and you’ll discover that over time you’ll acquire a comprehensive general knowledge. This very benefit of reading can make you rich someday!
Thus, the hobby that you are practicing for enjoyment, also unconsciously enhances your conversation skills and you can partake in discussions regarding various topics.
Many hobbyists have a lot of knowledge about their hobbies but reading is the one hobby that expands your overall general knowledge.
3. Travel the World Without Spending a Nickle!
With reading, you can travel the world without leaving your chair. You can read about places that you may never be able to visit in real life.
When reading travel books and travel journals you experience and enjoy the world through somebody else’s eyes. Another way of “traveling by book” is to read biographies. Places, where people have lived, are often described in detail in biographies.
Even reading fiction lets you travel the world. Every story’s plot, except when it is a fantasy or science fiction story, is set somewhere on the globe. As you read the story you get information regarding different places enabling you to envisage the towns, cities, and other scenery.
If you normally utilize your local library to get your books to read, this type of traveling all over the world will cost you nothing!
4. Brain Development
Reading helps to develop our brains. Researchers have found that reading stimulates specific brain activities. Scientists and researchers can measure and analyze the actual brain reaction when we are reading.
In an important study done at Emory University researchers could pinpoint what parts of the brain are influenced when reading. They found heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex. This is the area in the brain associated with language receptivity.
This brain connectivity influences the way you handle real-life situations. So, apart from being a pastime, reading is causing something productive to happen in your brain – every time you read.
5. Can be Done in Groups!
Although it is generally emphasized that you can practice your reading hobby anywhere and on your own, your hobby can also be a very effective way to socialize. Reading and book-relevant discussions are frequently done in groups.
In almost every community there are reading groups or book clubs. The members of these groups and clubs regularly get together to discuss books, swap books, and read together.
In other words, reading is one of the very few hobbies that can be enjoyed on your own but your joys can also be shared with others.
6. Reading Can Be Done Anywhere, Anytime!
Reading is a hobby that can be enjoyed anywhere and at any time whatever the weather and circumstances.
This is unlike other hobbies that have to be done either outdoors or indoors or need specific venues like ice rinks or are influenced by weather conditions.
To put it simply, if you have your book with you and there is enough light enabling you to see the words on the page (and your glasses if you need them to read) you can practice your hobby.
The only aspect you perhaps don’t have control over is whether there is enough light to read. It might be a good idea to always have a small battery light nearby!
7. Reading is Inclusive
Literally, anybody that can read can adopt “reading” as a hobby. Nobody controls whether you are reading too fast or too slow or comments on your comprehension level.
Unlike many other hobbies where a certain degree of skill is required to make a success or even to join if it is a group activity, you are the only one deciding whether you want to make reading your hobby.
Even small children who cannot yet read can also start with their “reading hobby.” By reading stories to them frequently and letting them “read with you” they can enjoy their stories just like you enjoy your novels.
8. Reading Expands Your Horizons
Your reading hobby expands your horizons like few other hobbies can do. Reading introduces you to new and different things to experience and enjoy.
There are so many diverse subjects to read about that you can get new ideas on virtually any topic. Even when you read fiction you get other perspectives on many everyday matters.
Without reading you would most probably never have thought about some of the things you are doing now or what you’ve put on your bucket list.
9. Reading Grows Your Vocabulary
Another aspect that makes reading as a hobby different from most other hobbies is that when you read, you are expanding your vocabulary.
When you read, you are “in conversation” with people – whether it is with the characters in the novel you are reading, the storyteller, or the professional sharing scientific knowledge with you.
And all these “conversation partners” use words that are not always known to you, and use well-known words in ways you’ve never done before.
The result is that your vocabulary and the knowledge of how to use grammar correctly, are expanded every time you read. This helps you to speak and write properly.
With many other hobbies, like woodworking, for instance, you don’t have this positive influence from other people when practicing your hobby.
10. Reading Enhances Your Imagination
In the digital world we’re living in nowadays there are few hobbies that enhance our imagination. And, reading definitely improves imagination!
When you turn on a television or other electronic device, there is no need to imagine anything. Everything is placed before you in a visual setting.
Reading, however, is different. You have to create your own visual images as you read. This is a skill needed to enhance your ability to envisage real-world situations and to find solutions for complex problems.
11. Reading is a Peaceful Hobby
Reading is a peaceful hobby. One can do it in silence and just enjoy the book. The serenity of hearing nothing but one’s inner thoughts can inspire a peaceful feeling.
You also don’t make any annoying or hard sounds when reading and thus don’t bother anyone around you when reading.
Reading is really a hobby giving you inner peace and you can practice it anywhere without disturbing others.
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.