September 4, 2022

7 Reading Myths Unraveled for National Read A Book Day

A little-known celebration of all things bookish, National Read A Book Day  on 6th September each year is a hidden gem for book lovers out there. Originating in the U.S.A, the day is now an international celebration that allows book lovers to come together to indulge in their passion.

However, if you’re not a book lover you will probably think that this celebration is irrelevant to you, right? Wrong! Here’s why:

Myth #1 – A book must be fictional

Many people believe that the books referred to in the title of National Read A Book Day must be novels by default. Once upon a time, this would have more or less been true, but times are changing. Nowadays, many mediums are accepted as literature. So, if you enjoy cooking, read a recipe book or if you’re curious about the life of Pythagoras, read a biography! Remember, it all counts.

Myth #2 – All books are long

Undeniably, some books are long. Even the most seasoned reader would be quaking in their boots at the thought of reading all 1037 pages of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Seeing books of this length lining shelves of bookshops may ultimately make you do an about turn (I don’t blame you!), but there are much shorter alternatives. If you don’t fancy tackling a long book, try a collection of short stories or a graphic novel. If you are just starting out on your reading journey, an edited collection of short stories by different authors can be very useful in helping you determine what sort of writing you enjoy. Likewise, a graphic novel can help you explore how a visual aspect influences your reading experience.

Myth #3 – I have to concentrate on what I’m reading

Research has shown that there is little to no relation between how you read a book and your comprehension of it. In practice, this means that skim reading or even skipping passages you don’t enjoy will not negatively impact your reading experience. The research suggests that as long as you read to your purpose, you will get the most out of your experience. So, if you pick up a book to read for pleasure on National Read A Book Day, don’t be afraid to be ruthless and skip passages that you don’t enjoy.

Myth #4 – I have to read a book from start to finish, even if I don’t enjoy it

Spoiler alert: you don’t! The beauty of reading is that it’s a personal habit. However, this also means that every reader will have their own interpretation. If you gave the same book to 1,000 people and asked each of them what the book was about, you would probably get 1,000 different responses. This can occasionally mean that you find there is a mismatch between your expectations and your experience of reading. When this happens, just stop. If you persevere, you will find that you may be put off reading for pleasure altogether.

Try to note down the books you didn’t finish so that you can avoid attempting to reread them in the future. Although it may be tempting, don’t dismiss books similar to those you haven’t enjoyed out of hand. Often, lack of enjoyment may not be related to subject matter. Therefore, you might enjoy a book on the same topic by a different author or approached from a different angle.

Myth #5 – I don’t have time to read

What can you do in six minutes? Wash the dishes, listen to Bohemian Rhapsody and… read. A 2009 study from the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68%. On National Read A Book Day, picking up a book for a short period could be a solution. You don’t have to read a whole book cover to cover to participate in the celebration. Reading for short bursts constitutes the physical act of reading a book. If you simply don’t have the time to read a whole book in a day, then participating in this way can be just as effective.

Myth #6 – Audiobooks are not books

Audiobooks are simply books in a different medium. Admittedly, they don’t involve the physical act of reading, but they’re still a great way to access literature. You could try listening to an audiobook when you would normally listen to music as a way to boost the amount of time you spend accessing literature. Although you are not partaking in the act of reading, you are accessing exactly the same content as those who read the book. So can you say you’ve read a book if you’ve listened to an audiobook? As long as you are only reading for pleasure and not reading for study, absolutely!

Myth #7 – Adults can’t benefit from reading

Actually they can. Research has found that adults who participate in cognitive activities like reading can slow down memory loss when compared to those who don’t. Your brain is just the same as your body in that it needs a regular workout. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you start reading. Your brain will always thank you! It’s never too late to start reading.


National Read A Book Day is therefore relevant to everyone, regardless of whether they have a regular reading habit or not. It is also a great excuse to start supporting your local library (find your nearest local library anywhere in the world here). So go on, give reading a try!

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