Some people only do physical exercise to keep fit, to be in shape and to generally look good. Though you must never forget that we should also exercise our mind. How do we do that? By reading. Reading will also make you look good and keep you “in form”. Books accompany us as long as life endures: when we are small babies our parents read us fairy tales, when we become elder we swallow exciting books page after page and finally when we mature we still read suspense books which entirely absorb our attention.
Books are a veritable treasure: you can never be lonely in the company of a good book. Actually reading is such an amazing habit: the deeper you delve into it, the more you are drawn to it.
Reading is a nice means to relax and de-stress after a hard day. However, books not only entertain us and provide valuable knowledge, but they also sharpen our intellect, encourage imagination and enhance vocabulary.
Nevertheless, reading is a trend that is slowly diminishing as other media which seem more attractive are taking its place. More and more people prefer to watch TV or surf on the Internet instead of reading. Though mainly reading is the best way to make your brain work. When you read a book you entirely immerse into it: you try to conjure how the characters look like, how you would behave if you were in the shoes of this or that character — your brain doesn’t stop working. Books contain grains of wisdom. They give us sound moral advice and teach us what is right and what is wrong. English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon1 said that “reading makes a full man”. The truth of this statement can hardly be questioned. Sir Richard Steele2 said that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. And it is really true, because it makes the brain think, enriches imagination and at the same time it provides pleasure and helps people to relax. Neither TV, nor Internet can replace good books.
2.1 What is a book?
A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf, and each side of a leaf is called a page. Humans invented books first to record history then stories and now we enjoy them for fun and still for informational use. The first book was constructed by the Romans. Papyrus paper was invented around 500 BC but the first bound books only date back to 100 AD.
2.2 Features of the book
“Books and friends should be few but good,” says an English proverb. “Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book! They teach us and open their hearts to us as brothers,” wrote Charles Kingsley3. The book is certainly one of the greatest human inventions. It is a friend and a teacher. We learn many things by reading books. Books teach people to live. After reading some books it is easy to understand what should be done and what must not be done. Now it is impossible to imagine our life without books. There may be more books in our world than people alive. Well before the appearance of printing people appreciated books as treasure of the man’s knowledge and experience. Manuscripts were written for months, then were collected by and kept in the monasteries with awe care. Book gives a unique chance to link up with authors who lived hundreds and thousands years ago. Thanks to books we can talk to people who lived in different ages and countries. Through reading books we hear their voices, thoughts and feelings. Books can tell us a lot about arts and fashion. From them we can learn about the rest of the world.
2.3 An electronic book
An electronic book (variously: e-book, eBook, e-Book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers or other electronic devices. Although sometimes defined as “an electronic version of a printed book”, many e-books exist without any printed equivalent. Commercially produced and sold e-books are usually intended to be read on dedicated e-book readers, however, almost any sophisticated electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen, including computers, many mobile phones, and all smartphones can also be used to read e-books.
2.3.1 Advantages of e-book
1) E-books are searchable. You can easily search for any information in an e-book, instead of turning page after page. 2) When you need certain information, you can get it immediately, by downloading an e-book. 3)No trees are required to manufacture paper for the pages of ebooks. 4)E-books can show links, for easy access to more information and related websites. 5)E-books take up less space. You don’t need any space to store them. You don’t need a library or a room for them. You can store hundreds and thousands of e-books in your computer. 6)No prime cost of paper and transportation.
7)Functional and convenient: it combines with many other software, make itself more functional and convenient. 8)Easy for authors or publishers to revise or update the books. 9)Individualization different backgrounds, front covers, back covers etc., according to people’s needs. 10)Personal publish: every person can write books and let people read them through Internet without publishing to a paper book.
2.3.2 Disadvantages of e-book
1) E-books aren’t good for your eyes and you will feel tired after you look at the screen for a long time. 2) E-books require power. E-Book readers are special devices or programs on a computer that allow the user to access the book electronically. There is absolutely no paper involved. If there is a power outage and the batteries die, the user will not be able to access the book. 3) E-readers have plastics and heavy metals, this isn’t good for the environment and is worse than paper. 4) People can’t get the special feeling that they can feel when they read a paper book.
2.4 Conventional book or e-book?
During the olden times, reading was limited to just books, only books. Today, we have the Internet housing so much information, hosted on thousands of websites. We have books online and e-book readers that make reading them easy. The web, our new storehouse of information, is just a click away. As past times go, there’s little that is more old-fashioned, quiet and basic as reading a book. Or, at least, that used to be the case. But with the competitive flood of electronic readers, or e-readers, hitting the market as well as e-reader applications for smartphones, the reading experience has been getting a progressively modern makeover. But this, in no way has stolen the magic of reading books, the sound of their pages fluttering, their smell… you can curl up with a book anywhere, anytime. But with an e-book reader or your laptop, some of that romanticism is lost. Despite the fact that e-books have many advantages, they also have disadvantages, which play a decisive role in the choice between conventional books and e-books. So, conventional books, in my opinion, always will be better than e-books. But, be it through any medium, reading is important.
3. Importance of reading
Prof. A. C. Grayling4, in a review of “A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel”, had said, “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” So true! Reading is really like taking a flight to great heights in pursuit of knowledge. It’s a journey towards enlightenment. Why is reading so important?
Everyone knows reading is important, but have you ever asked yourself why is it so important? Here I list out 5 reasons why reading is important.
- Reading is an active mental process that improves your concentration and focus: It makes you use your brain; helping you to reason out things which are unfamiliar to you. Reading is one of the most enjoyable hobbies a person can have. Although it’s saddening to think that the majority of people aren’t introduced to the fabulous world of books. Since you must concentrate in order to read, this requires you to focus and think about what you are reading. If you want to break the monotony of an uncreative and uninterested life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore new worlds filled with information and ingenuity.
- Improves your discipline and memory:Making time to read is something we all feel that we should do, but few of us schedule book reading time every day. But adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline. Studies show if you don’t use your memory, it becomes more and more difficult to remember facts that you have read. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s6. Reading helps to stretch your memory muscles and requires you to remember details, facts and figures, plot lines, themes and characters. It is really satisfying to look at a shelf of books and say, “I’ve read every one of those!” Not only is the knowledge useful, but it is personally very rewarding as well.
- Builds self-esteem and improves creativity:The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become and with more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. Reading about the diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain and filters innovation into your thinking process. So it’s a chain reaction. When you are well read, people will look to you for answers. Then your feelings about yourself only get better. Even more confidence! Reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinkingprocess.
- Reading improves your vocabulary and reduces boredom:When you are reading books, especially challenging ones, you will probably find yourself exposed to many new words. Remember when you learnt to read, how you learned to figure out the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You will get the same benefits for building your vocabulary from book reading. So if you are feeling bored, then pick up a book and start reading. If you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?
- Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world, so you always have something to talk about: Reading gives you an insight into the diversity of ethnicity of people, their customs and their lifestyles. You’ll become more aware about different places and their codes of conduct in those places. Ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation where you didn’t have anything to talk about? How would you know about the life of people in Alaska if you hadn’t read about it? Want a remedy for this? It’s simple. Start reading.
Reading really widens your horizon of information, so you’ll always have something to talk about. Ideally, reading should be split between fiction and nonfiction books. Fiction is definitely more exciting, but it does not yield long term knowledge benefits like nonfiction books do.
4. People’s opinions about the importance of books and reading
This section shows the opinions witch were left by people on the site ask.com.
5. Reading in the 21st century
It’s a widely-known fact that modern young people have almost lost interest to reading. We often hear from our parents that they were absorbed by reading when they were teens. What has happened? Why do young people stop reading? It seems to me that our parents’ leisure time wasn’t as diverse as ours. Modern young people have a wide variety of choice what to do when they have free time: they can watch TV, play computer games, listen to music, dance at disco clubs etc. The majority of them prefer these activities to reading. Besides, I think that school curriculum also influences unwillingness of young people to read books. Literature lessons are boring for modern teenagers because school program doesn’t keep pace with the life. Modern pupils live modern life and it is difficult for them to understand the ideas of classical writers. They can hardly realize torments of Raskolnikov11, but not because modern young people are foolish, it happens because they live in a different reality. So, I think that now many young people stop reading because this activity does not correspond to their life, but I also want to admit that there are those who like reading, but more often they prefer modern books.
So, books are one of the greatest wonders in the world. They stay with us during the whole life: in babyhood we hear parents read us fairy tales, in our teens we swallow exciting suspense novels page after page and when we become adults we still find gripping books that absorb us. But today many people say that modern life is so fast and full of action that they don’t have time and desire to read books; they consider reading to be nothing more than waste of time. Furthermore there are a lot of people who are sure that products of modern technologies like computers can replace traditional books. Nevertheless, there still exist people, who receive pleasure from the special atmosphere that books create and who believe that books will never disappear from their lives. They feel certain that books teach us what is right and what is wrong; they enrich the inner world of a reader and certainly entertain him. As opposed to computers books are portable and you can enjoy reading even in public transport. Also I proved that reading is important, and moreover, reading still popular.
- “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Sir Richard Steele.
- “Books and friends should be few but good.” an English proverb.
- “Except a living man there is nothing more wonderful than a book! They teach us and open their hearts to us as brothers.” Charles Kingsley.
- “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” prof. A. C. Grayling.
- “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” Oscar Wilde
- “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” Groucho Marx
- “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman
- “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Haruki Murakami
- “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Jorge Luis Borges
- Sir Francis Bacon (22 January 1561 — 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England.
- Sir Richard Steele ( 12 March 1672 — 1 September 1729) was an Irish writer and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator.
- Charles Kingsley (12 June 1819 — 23 January 1875) was a priest of the Church of England, a university professor, historian and novelist.
- Anthony Clifford “A. C.” Grayling (born 3 April 1949) is an English philosopher.
- Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 — 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet.
- Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease, is the most common form of dementia. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.
- Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (October 2, 1890 — August 19, 1977) was an American comedian and film and television star. He is known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era.
- Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films.
- Haruki Murakami (January 12, 1949) is a best-selling Japanese writer. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerusalem Prize, among others. Murakami has also translated a number of English works to Japanese.
- Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges (24 August 1899 — 14 June 1986), known as Jorge Luis Borges, was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator who was born in Buenos Aires. His work embraces the “character of unreality in all literature”.
- Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov is the fictional protagonist of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
- Website “Quotes”http://www.quotes.cl/reading-mind-exercise-body-richard-steele/
- Website “Englishtopics”http://www.englishtopics.net/topicsmenu/4-topicshigh/113-reading-is-to-the-mind-what-exercise-is-to-the-body
- Website “Buzzle“http://www.buzzle.com/articles/why-is-reading-important.html
- The free encyclopedia “Wikipedia” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book
- Website “Answers” http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_invented_books_and_why#slide2
- Website “Native-english” http://www.native-english.ru/topics/books-in-our-life
- Website “Interactive-english“http://www.interactive-english.ru/topiki/96-books-in-our-life-knigi-v-nashej-zhizni/
- Website “Squidoo” http://www.squidoo.com/why-reading-is-important
- Website “Englishtopics“http://www.englishtopics.net/topicsmenu/16-essay/119-why-young-people-stopped-reading-in-the-21-century
- The free encyclopedia “Wikipedia” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book
- Website “Studymode”http://www.studymode.com/essays/Conventional-Books-Vs-e-Book-1254696.html
- Website “Goodreads” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/books
- The free encyclopedia “Wikipedia”