Friday, March 21, 2014

Why I Read and Six Reasons Why You Should Too

This is my follow up to my previous post: "Why I Write and Six Reasons Why You Should Too".

If you're a writer I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "Write what you read" (or something close to this). I agree...but not 100% with this statement. It's similar to the idea of writing what you know. But what fun would it be if I only wrote about my personal experiences?

I went to the store today....
I baked cookies last night...
I ran 6 miles this afternoon...

...Boring! 

BUT, if I were to write about things I'd like to know more about, that could be interesting!

This all ties into reading because I believe books offer just that type of experience. A well written novel will transport you to a new place and a new experience. A good book can draw images from thin air creating a new world for you to explore - all within the comforts of your own home or a local coffee shop. [It's important to note that I believe coffee and books--or writing--go hand in hand here ;)]

With this in mind, here are my reasons for why I think you should read. I don't care if it's a magazine or a thousand page novel - I will still argue you should be reading.

|| Six reasons why I think you should read ||

1. Reading is good for your brain
There have been many studies done and articles written on the fact that reading is, in fact, good for your brain. You are making connections from processing your thoughts from the words on the page to your imagination and creating connections and even mental images based on what you read. That's amazing and it's all from reading.

2. Reading allows you to experience things you normally wouldn't
Have you ever stopped to think how amazing it is that we have access to so much information in today's technological age? We can read anything, anywhere, at any time about pretty much any subject we could ever want to know about. That's the beauty of reading! It extends the knowledge you have that is gained only from your surroundings to push beyond the boundaries of your current life. I think of reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and learning about life in Bath in the 1800s and how I can gain a view (albeit fictional) of what that was like. Nothing else, short of a time machine, could give me that experience.

3. Reading expands your vocabulary 
When I was younger, I remember reading and often having to ask what words meant. As I grew older, the words became common to me and I was able to enjoy them instead of being caught by their length or a definition I didn't know. Now, I enjoy it when I come across a word I'm unfamiliar with. I immediately open the dictionary app on my phone and find out what the challenging word means. When you read, you are always challenged to learn new things and new words.

4. Reading is a discipline
It's not always easy to sit down and read--especially if it's a textbook. Some of the longest nights I experienced in college where those where I had hundreds of pages to read for class the next day. Now, I am able to use my free time to read what I want, but it's still a challenge sometimes. I have books I want to read because I know I'll learn from them, but it's a discipline for me to set aside the time to do that. This discipline, if applied correctly, can overflow into other areas of my life as well, teaching me to be responsible with my time.

5. Reading is relaxing 
There is nothing better than settling down with a great novel right before bed. Suddenly, the stress of the day melts off as I'm lost in a fictional world. The only problem here is when I get stuck in a crucial part and find myself staying up much later than planned ;)

6. Reading is fun!
Yes, I stole this from my previous post, but it is just as true here as it was there. Reading is captivating, enchanting, and entertaining, but most of all it is fun. I love getting lost in a book and, when I've finally put it down again, feeling as if I've lost touch with close friends. Good writing can do that, and makes the experience completely worth it.

Taken from Pinterest
Some of this I'm sure you already knew, but have you stopped to take time to think about why you read? Or maybe why you don't? In our world today, life is constantly busy. We have more resources than any other time before us and yet we have less time with which to enjoy those resources. I hope that, as hardcover books go by the wayside and Kindles take their place, we will not forsake the act of reading for what it truly is: something beautiful.

***What about you? Do you enjoy reading? What do you like to read? Why do you like reading?***