’The benefits of reading are well documented,’ says publisher, Nicki Copeland. She shares why she loves to read and why ‘stories stimulate our imaginations’, long after childhood. 


Source: Photo by Alexandra Fuller on Unsplash

How do you like to relax? For me, one of my favourite ways to unwind is to curl up with a good novel. (Okay, I admit, a little bit of chocolate might be involved as well.) There’s nothing quite like losing myself in a good story. It’s like I’m right there in the scene, observing, evaluating the situation, rooting for the hero, wanting sometimes to shout the literary equivalent of the pantomime ‘Look behind you!’

Stories stimulate our imaginations. Our minds are free to paint a picture of the scene unfolding before us as the plot thickens, the tension builds. We create an image of what each character looks like, and we make judgements – rightly or wrongly – about their actions and decisions.

There’s nothing quite like losing myself in a good story.

And there’s often a ‘moral’ to a story – lessons that the characters learn that we too can benefit from. Stories are a great way to make a point without being ‘preachy’! Jesus himself often told stories, which still today teach us so much about how to live and relate to one another.

The benefits of reading are well documented. It’s good for our mental health and helps us relax. It builds our vocabulary and our analytical skills, and, for those who write, it aids development of our writing skills. And it’s good for our memory and concentration. 

The benefits of reading are well documented. It’s good for our mental health and helps us relax.

The benefits of reading to and with children are equally well documented, building confidence, security, vocabulary and imagination, not to mention deepening our relationship with them – and it’s such a joy to see the awe and wonder on their faces as their imaginations take them deep into the world of the story!

It’s not only storybooks that are beneficial. While our go-to these days is likely the internet when we need information, books can help us really get to grips with a subject or an issue. When my father developed dementia some years ago, yes, I was on the computer to find out as much as I could. But I also delved into books, and reading about the experiences of others helped me to understand more about the condition and its effects, making a very difficult thing a little easier.

This is one of the reasons why, at Instant Apostle, we publish a variety of genres. The key for us is that the books point to God’s kingdom, and that they edify, encourage and inspire. The message of God’s kingdom is always relevant, always true, and accessible through books.

So, this World Book Day, what are you reading? And how can we encourage others to enjoy books? How can we encourage authors as they pour themselves, heart and soul, into their books? One of the best ways we can do that is to leave reviews – not only does it give the authors a boost, but it encourages others to buy and read too.

And as we lose ourselves in these wonderful books we’ve bought, not only are we giving ourselves hours of joy and edification, but we’re also benefiting in so many other ways too. A win-win!