Reading. For some, it’s a chore or something they only do when necessary. For others, it’s a beloved pastime that brings great joy. But is reading a hobby? Let’s take a closer look.
Many people would argue that reading is more than just a hobby – it’s a fundamental life skill. After all, reading is how we learn, grow, and expand our knowledge of the world. However, that doesn’t mean reading can’t also be a hobby.
By definition, a hobby is “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” Reading fits the bill. It’s an activity many people engage in often, by choice, for enjoyment. Still, some naysayers may claim it doesn’t count.
So why exactly is reading a legitimate hobby?
The Many Benefits of Reading as a Hobby
Unlike some critiques, I believe the variety of benefits gained from regular reading makes a compelling case for it being a hobby. Here are just a few of the ways reading as a hobby can enrich your life:
- Mental stimulation. Reading keeps your brain sharp! It exposes you to new ideas, perspectives, and information. Just like physical exercise keeps your body in shape, mental exercise keeps your mind fit.
- Stress relief. Getting lost in a good book transports you to another world and lifts you out of your daily worries. It’s a great way to relax and unwind.
- Knowledge expansion. Nonfiction books are like advanced courses for autodidacts. They enable you to dive deep into topics that fascinate you.
- Vocabulary growth. The more you read, the more your vocabulary expands. You pick up new words in context.
- Memory improvement. Your brain gets a workout recalling details, characters, and plot points. Regular reading can help boost your memory.
- Analytical skills. Picking up on foreshadowing, themes, motifs, irony, and other literary devices requires critical analysis.
- Focus enhancement. Reading something with rapt attention improves your concentration overall.
- Creativity boost. Imagining vivid settings and characters stretches your creativity. Books inspire new ideas.
- Empathy increase. Reading about people different than yourself builds understanding and compassion.
- Sleep aid. Reading before bed calms your mind and eases the transition into slumber.
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see how reading grows you as a person. And lifelong learning is a hallmark of productive hobbies.
How to Cultivate Reading as a Hobby?
Convinced reading can be a bona fide hobby? Great! Now let’s talk about how to cultivate reading for pleasure. Here are some tips:
1. Set a reading goal. Aim for a certain number of books per month or year. This gives you something specific to work towards. Start small if needed, then expand.
2. Find your niche. Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? There are genres and subgenres galore. Zero in on topics that truly interest you.
3. Join a book club. Nothing holds you accountable like needing to discuss chapters with others. It introduces you to new books too.
4. Mix up formats. Audiobooks, e-books, and print books each have their pros and cons. Alternate to keep things fresh!
5. Establish a routine. Set aside time to read every day, even if just for 15-30 minutes. Consistency makes it stick.
6. Bring a book everywhere. Always have a book on hand. You can read a few pages while waiting in line or during a lunch break.
7. Start conversations. Discuss what you’re reading with friends, family, and coworkers. Book lovers enjoy sharing recommendations.
8. Leave reviews. Writing reviews cements your impressions. Plus authors appreciate reader feedback!
9. Reward milestones. After finishing a long book, treat yourself to something special. Milestones motivate.
10. Keep an open mind. Don’t limit yourself to one genre. Try authors and topics outside your comfort zone periodically.
Turning reading into a hobby takes some effort, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Even if you start small, you can build momentum. Soon you’ll look forward to cozying up with a good book whenever you can.
See Also: How Many Hobbies Should I Have?
Reading in the Digital Age
In today’s digital era, the ways people read are more varied than ever. While print books are still popular, there are now many alternatives:
E-books – Electronic books can be read on smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and computers. They take up no physical space but require battery power.
Audiobooks – Books narrated by voice actors and recorded as audio files. They allow you to “read” while commuting, exercising, doing chores, etc.
Digital magazines/newspapers – Print periodicals have online counterparts allowing access anywhere the internet exists. This makes staying current events easier.
While print retains a special nostalgia, digital options make reading more accessible. Audiobooks are ideal when eyes are busy. E-books provide instant gratification. And online communities expand perspectives.
The technology landscape will keep evolving. But as long as we nurture our love of reading, the medium doesn’t matter. Content is king.
Types of Reading Material
When considering reading as a hobby, it helps to remember that reading encompasses so much more than just novels. There are endless genres and formats to explore:
- Novels – Both literary novels like classic Dickens and popular genres like mystery, sci-fi, romance, etc.
- Short stories – Brief stand-alone works of fiction ranging from fairy tales to modern narratives.
- Poetry – Collections of poems offer concentrated bites of imaginative wordplay.
- Plays – While often performed live, plays can still be read alone. Some are quite experimental.
- Graphic novels – Comics and manga offer visual storytelling, melding art with narrative writing.
- History – Biographies, war stories, political exposes and more bring the past to life.
- Philosophy – Thinkers from ancient times to today question our purpose and perceptions.
- Science – Books on cosmology, neuroscience, ecology, and other topics invite discovery.
- Finance – Economic theory, investing strategies, and tales of business fame and folly.
- Self-help – Part psychology, part inspiration, these aim to improve your outlook and abilities.
The possibilities span far wider. Truly, there’s reading material tailored to every interest and mood.
How Can I Make Reading More Enjoyable?
Even avid readers occasionally struggle to stay engaged with a book. When your mind wanders or you just can’t get into the story, what can you do? Try these tips to rekindle the joy:
Set the scene – Curl up somewhere cozy like under a blanket or on a hammock. Make a soothing cup of tea. Burn some relaxing candles. The right atmosphere helps.
Read aloud – If your attention lags, read select paragraphs out loud. Hearing the words helps anchor you. Also, try acting out dialogue dramatically!
Take notes – Jot down reflections, favorite quotes, big ideas, and words you want to remember. This keeps you an active reader.
Read in chunks – Don’t feel compelled to finish chapters if your mind checks out. Stop where it feels right and resume later.
Discuss the book – Messaging a friend who’s reading the same book gives you an outlet when thoughts arise.
Listen to a soundtrack – If it’s fiction, find instrumentals that suit the tone. Epic fantasy? Try soaring orchestral scores. Quirky romance? Put on something cute and upbeat.
Focus on why – Ask yourself why you chose this book. Connect with your original excitement and curiosity.
Read multiple books – Bounce between a few so you can shift gears when one doesn’t grip you. Variety beats burnout.
Remember, reading should feel refreshing, not like a chore. It’s okay to give yourself a break if you need it!
How Can I Find the Time to Read?
Ah, the eternal struggle – finding time to read. Between work, family, chores, and other obligations, carving out reading time can be a challenge. But it is possible! Here are some great ways to fit more reading into your busy schedule:
- Wake up 30 minutes early to read in the morning quietly before others rise.
- Bring a book to read during your commute on public transit or while waiting in appointments.
- Listen to audiobooks during daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, yard work, and driving.
- Squeeze in reading on your lunch break rather than browsing social media or watching videos.
- Establish a nighttime routine by reading before bed – even just a chapter.
- Set aside time on weekends for reading – out at a cafe, park, or library.
- Spend less time watching T.V. in the evenings and substitute reading instead.
- Sneak snippets of e-books throughout the day via your phone during spare moments.
- Spend rainy weekends indoors reading and enjoying cozy sweaters and blankets.
- Join or start a virtual book club – chats keep you accountable to read!
With a little planning, you can find at least a few minutes here and there to enjoy books, articles, and stories. Those minutes add up over time! Don’t underestimate the power of small habits.
How Can I Stay Motivated to Read?
Once you’ve made reading a habit, the next challenge is staying motivated over time. How do you keep your momentum going when distractions beckon? Consider these tips:
- Vary your reading diet – Mix up long novels with short stories, poetry, and articles. Nonfiction on Monday, fiction on Friday!
- Read series – It’s easier to continue when you’re invested in characters and eager to see what happens next.
- Reread favorites – Revisiting beloved books reminds you why you love reading in the first place.
- Discuss books – Chat in online communities or real-life book clubs. Other perspectives energize.
- Keep a TBR (to be read) list – Add all books that interest you. Checking them off is satisfying!
- Follow authors – Read all titles from writers you love. You’ll get excited about their newest release.
- Set smaller goals – Not big books, but smaller ones – short stories, a poem, one essay. Quick wins keep you going.
- Record reflections – Journal thoughts on books. Watching your insights accumulate stokes motivation.
- Expand genres – Shake things up by exploring unread genres. Rediscover your curiosity!
Reading habits ebb and flow naturally. These tips help rekindle motivation when your enthusiasm wanes.
Great Books to Try Reading
With so many books in existence, choosing what to read next can be daunting. Here are some recommendations in a mix of genres to inspire your inner bookworm:
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
- The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles
- Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
- The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
- The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
- Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
- Dune – Frank Herbert
- Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
- The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
- Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
- Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri
This is just the tip of the iceberg but hopefully provides some inspiration. With an unlimited universe of books out there, you’ll never run out of worlds to explore!
See Also: Is Journaling a Hobby? Here’s Why
Reading More Effectively
Reading is often a passive activity. Our eyes glide mindlessly across the words while our thoughts wander. But you can read in a more active, engaged way – if you train yourself. Here are some great techniques:
- Preview – Skim chapter headings and summaries first so you have context.
- Highlight – Use a pen or highlighter to mark meaningful passages as you read.
- Ask questions – Jot questions in the margins to clarify confusing parts.
- Summarize – Stop periodically to summarize important points in your own words.
- Take notes – Write down major concepts, keywords, and definitions.
- Reflect – After each chapter or section, recap your learnings and reactions.
- Review – Glance back at your margin notes and highlights afterward.
- Read aloud – This forces you to slow down and notice each word.
- Discuss – Have conversations about the book as you read to crystallize insights.
Train your brain to stay attentive throughout the process. Active reading comprehension will improve the more you practice these techniques.
How Reading Can Improve Your Life?
While reading is rewarding in and of itself, it can also tangibly improve your quality of life in various ways:
Getting lost in a book transports you away from real-life worries, lowering cortisol and anxiety. Stories provide perspective.
Reading about different types of fictional and real people/cultures grows an understanding of diverse viewpoints.
As your knowledge grows, you’ll find yourself able to discuss more topics. Intellectual confidence makes you more approachable.
Stronger emotional intelligence, listening skills, and conversation abilities enrich your personal and professional relationships.
Reading arms you with knowledge, critical thinking skills, and vocabulary that can lead to promotions, raises, and respect.
Setting aside regular time to read despite busy schedules builds discipline. Willpower transfers to other goals like health, money, etc.
Immersing yourself in well-written stories sparks your imagination. Books provide constant inspiration.
Recalling details trains your memory over time. Your retention and recollection abilities will heighten.
Nonfiction books provide frameworks and insights that sharpen your judgment for choices large and small.
The benefits go on and on. When you make reading a consistent habit, you may be amazed at how the effects ripple through your whole life.
Should Reading Count as One of My Hobbies?
Considering how to choose hobbies, reading is an excellent option. It exposes you to different perspectives, expands knowledge, and improves cognitive skills. Additionally, it can be done anywhere, making it convenient.
Whether you prefer fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, reading allows you to immerse yourself in new worlds and gain valuable insights. So, yes, reading should definitely count as one of your hobbies.
- Reading is a legitimate hobby that offers many benefits like stress relief, knowledge gain, vocabulary growth, memory improvement, analytical skill building, and more.
- To cultivate reading as a hobby, set goals, find your niche genre, join a book club, establish a routine, always carry a book, and continually try new authors/topics.
- Make reading fun by setting the mood, taking notes, chunking chapters, discussing books, listening to soundtracks, and focusing on your reasons for choosing the book.
- Find time to read by waking up early, reading during commutes/waits, swapping chores for audiobooks, replacing online browsing with books, and joining online book clubs.
- Stay motivated by varying formats, joining series, rereading favorites, recording reflections, expanding genres, and remembering the joy reading brings you.
The Joy of Reading
In conclusion, not only is reading a hobby, but it’s also one of the most rewarding, uplifting, and empowering ones. With so many formats and genres to explore, incredible benefits to be gained, and tactics to make it stick, there’s never been a better time to fall in love with reading.
I invite you to view reading not as a chore, but as an adventure. Let books transport you, teach you, inspire you. Carve out time to read whenever you can – you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s to a lifetime of learning, growing, and discovering through the joy of reading! What will you read next?
FAQs About Is Reading a Hobby?
What is a hobby of reading called?
A hobby of reading is commonly referred to as bibliophily or bookworming.
How popular is reading as a hobby?
Reading is a widely popular hobby, with millions of people around the world enjoying it. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2019, 74% of adults in the United States have read a book in the past 12 months.
Is reading a rare hobby?
No, reading is not a rare hobby. As mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of the population enjoys reading.
Is reading as a hobby declining?
There is some evidence to suggest that reading as a hobby is declining, particularly among younger generations. The same Pew Research Center survey found that the number of Americans who have read a book in the past 12 months has been steadily decreasing since 2011.
Does anybody read books anymore?
Yes, many people still read books, although the number may be declining. The same Pew Research Center survey found that 70% of adults in the United States have read a print book in the past 12 months.
Why are Americans reading less?
There are several reasons why Americans may be reading less. These include increased competition from digital media such as social media, online news, and streaming services, as well as a decline in the number of adults who read for pleasure.
Why do people not read anymore?
There are many reasons why people may not read anymore, including a lack of time, a lack of interest, or a lack of access to books. Additionally, some people may find reading difficult or unengaging due to factors such as a lack of literacy skills or a preference for other forms of media.
Does reading help your brain?
Yes, reading has been shown to have numerous cognitive benefits. Studies have found that reading can improve memory, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills, as well as reduce stress and improve mental health.