Get lost... in a good book

What’s the last book you read? It might well be on the tip of your tongue but if you find yourself struggling to remember, you’re not alone.

Research conducted by national charity The Reading Agency has uncovered that one in six adults of working age in the UK find reading difficult and may never pick up a book.

The reasons for not reading are varied. One third of the population say they would like to read more but find themselves too easily distracted by more instant entertainment on television, tablets and phones. Others find books boring, difficult and even intimidating.

Reading for pleasure has been found to have a wide range of positive impacts on everyday life. Not only does reading boost vocabulary and improve confidence when writing and speaking, but it can also improve our health. Adults with lower levels of literacy are more likely to experience poor health and less likely to participate in volunteer activities.

Reading has been connected to reducing symptoms of depression and people who read regularly have a reduced risk of developing dementia in later life.

What’s more our literacy level has a direct link to mental wellbeing. Reading has been connected to reducing symptoms of depression and people who read regularly have a reduced risk of developing dementia in later life.

Immersing yourself in a good book can also bring greater understanding and knowledge. A really brilliant writer can transport their reader to the other side of the world, to the distant past or far into the future. And unlike in film and television there’s no special effects needed, only the imagination.

Added to that, the bond the reader develops with characters between the covers of a book is much more intimate than on screen. This imaginative process of sharing an emotional journey makes readers more attuned to the emotions of others, and half of UK adults say that reading makes them more sympathetic to others’ beliefs.

A love of books is also a great way to connect with other people. Sharing recommendations, debating stylistic merit, revelling in the latest juicy plot twist— while reading is a solitary activity, a shared love of the literary can create lasting and rewarding friendships. So next time you’re reaching for the TV remote, go on, why not pick up a book?