A lot of times I hear people describing their lives as monotonous and dull. “It is the same old work and same old home”, is an answer I frequently receive from neighbors while walking to the grocery store. It is natural, then, for most people to look for something that stimulates their brains in a healthy and effective way. An addiction that is not a television serial, a video game, or a programme on the radio. The answer should be quite obvious to some – books! Yes, it is a no-brainer that books have a profound effect on your mental abilities, but it is also essential to understand the specific benefits of certain kinds of books. This brings us to the benefits of reading literature for our minds.
Vocabulary is the main thing that challenges most of us when we start off with literature. Even though a literature expert would be expected to have a rich stock of vocab up her sleeve, no one can know all the words. Every time you sit with a book that is teeming with strong vocabulary, you yearn to learn the meanings of the new words, in order to either understand the story a little better, or simply to admire the author’s style of writing. In short, you utilize your brain and open up to the vast possibilities of the hundreds of thousands of words in the world of the dictionary.
Now this really depends on several factors such as your mood, you favorite style, language, level of complexity, and so on. While some people might be ecstatic starting off with a Shakespeare, for others it is a daunting task, and they might want to settle for something that is more contemporary. Also, once you get into the habit of reading literature, you tend to find your own preferences of style, and pick you favorites, which could be a Dickens, a Bronte, a Chekov, or an Austen. No matter who you favorite author is, it is important to keep rotating authors rather than continuously reading several books of one author. With different styles comes the understanding of different kinds of agenda, propaganda, social structures, locations, people, relationships, and so on. The mind gets clearer pictures on different aspects of the world (or beyond).
If literature is an exercise for the mind, it is important to take sufficient rest. Just as with physical exercise, any mental exercise should be followed by breaks. This does not mean that you take a break from reading. In fact, if you love reading, you would not want to take a break any way. This is about rotating literature with some light reading, for example, the supplement that comes with the daily newspaper, or some old comic favorites such as Asterix or Tintin, or you might even pick up a casual, contemporary best seller that does not challenge your mind but gives you a good story. Magazines, cookery books, craft books, the light reading list is endless.
So get going with that “Sense and Sensibility”
Delve into literature to see its benefits over a longer period of time. The thirst of knowledge being quenched continuously, the mind no longer remains mundane. It starts to look beyond the ordinary, tries to find solutions rather than problems, and the best part, it calms you down for that good night’s sleep.