How Reading Changed My Life

Originally published in 2016.

This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend less time on social media and more time reading books. I started off by downloading the Goodreads app and making a goal to read 50 books before the year ended. I felt like I was wasting too much time on Facebook reading trash in most cases when I could have spent my time reading something to learn from or simply for pure enjoyment. Most of Facebook’s content ranges from depressing news articles, one-sided political propaganda and grouchy mother wars. How much of this negativity is seeping into our souls? Why do we care more about what other people are doing than what is happening in our own lives? It leaves me feeling downright Hopeless, so why not start there…

I knew I enjoyed Colleen Hoover’s books, so I decided to begin with Hopeless as my first read of the new year. From that moment forward, my life took a new direction. I read and finished Tarryn’s new release F*ck Love in a day, my first book of hers, after seeing Colleen’s recommendation shortly thereafter. I had never experienced writing like Tarryn’s before, her passion seeped off the pages. It was everything I had ever thought, but never had the words to say. Write or die. I needed to know her better– my being was thirsting for more of her words. I made the only logical decision at that point: I joined her “Secret Internet Girl Cult” and read all of her books.

From that point, I had a craving for words that wouldn’t leave me. After reading sentences that felt like my soul went straight to Heaven, why wouldn’t I want more?

The books I have read have stuck with me so deeply. I may have forgotten the words on the pages, but the feelings are still fresh. I remember what was going on in my life with each book I read. It’s almost as if the books contained a magical memory juice, allowing me to retain the story on the pages and the reality around me better than ever before.

Through these books, I have felt the person I am growing and become better, I’ve felt my faith waver and come back stronger than before, I’ve questioned my opinions on subjects I thought I knew about, and my mind and heart has been opened to other humans. By discovering who I am on a deeper level, I’ve been able to connect to the rest of humanity in a more profound way than ever before. One example is from reading Susan Cain’s Quiet. I always knew I was an introvert, but I never felt that it was something to be proud of.  Through reading her book I was encouraged to take the Myers-Briggs personality test and learn who I am in the most literal way (INFP-T, for you curious souls). I’ve been able to nurture myself by knowing my needs and where I gain my energy from. It’s a journey I am still on and will continue to grow with, but without books, it would not have been possible at all.

My goal with this post is to help others find that love for reading! Maybe you loved it as a kid and school made you feel burned out on books, maybe you think you don’t have time, or is it possible you simply haven’t found a subject matter you’re interested in? Whatever the case, do not let these things hold you back from growing into a fuller version of yourself!

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

This year is quickly coming to a close, however, there is still plenty of time to channel your inner bookworm. Pick something up at your local library, and see where it takes you!  When a person opens a book, they are also opening their mind.


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