By mere virtue of the fact that I have a blog about books, its obvious I feel strongly about reading. To me, books make for a bomb diggity, far more bangin life. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a life without any semblance of reading would be one that is missing out in significant ways.
Here is how reading makes your life richer, more satisfying, happier, healthier, and just better all around:
Reading adds a whole additional layer to your daily experience and life. Whatever your routine might be. Rising from bed, eating breakfast, getting ready, heading off to work, engaging in your job, socializing with colleagues, going to the gym, cooking and eating meals. Having a book you are reading, any book, be it fiction or non, contributes a whole further thought process/different world/story/adding on to of the knowledge you already have, to ones daily life.
Its like, where a life without any reading or books might be lived using a limited palate of paints, one which is created and built upon with reading is living whilst using hundreds of additional colors and shades in the painting of ones life.
Reading can invite you into a new sense of empathy, into a semblance of understanding others whom you might not have prior, and into alternate experiences- which you might never have come close to experiencing yourself otherwise. Through reading, we are able to touch on ways of living and being, to which we might never have otherwise drawn close to, or even known of.
Such as, in “Sing Unburied Sing” by Jesmyn Ward, we are able to occupy the minds and experiences of a young boy growing up in a neglectful, impoverished family, his parents both drug addicts. And then conversely, we are able to occupy the perception of his mother. The narration of the story, flipping between the two of them. This is an eye opening, empathy inducing, fascinating thing. Being able to experience perceptions which we might otherwise never consider or touch on in any other way.
Within books, we can experience different cultures, alternate points of view, novel ways of thinking, people who are entirely unlike ourselves. All of this is a great, mind and eye opening, heart expanding thing.
Reading makes you smarter. Really. People who read regularly have been shown to perform better on standardized tests. They also tend to have higher and wider vocabularies. Reading also expands your sense of what is possible in life, infuses you with new knowledge, and gives one a plethora of further ideas (if approaching your reading with openness and curiosity).
Reading offers one a source of entertainment and engagement. Its portable, as well as either cheap or even free (think libraries). Reading invites one to easily dive into an alternate universe or subject matter in the midst of ones daily life.
See here for a list of my all time favorite fiction. The books that have stayed with me, many of which, for years. Long past my concluding and closing their covers.
Books, can and do, change you. If one is, again, open and curious while reading (as opposed to closed, opinionated, or judgmental. As opposed to someone who “already knows what there is to know” about life and people), books can change both you and your life in wild and wondrous ways.
Reading can alter the ways you consider and approach love (as did for me, in “How to be an Adult in Relationships,” as well as in “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm). It can change how your consider romantic relationships, what they might look like, or the trajectories they might take (“Just Kids” by Patti Smith turned this on its head for me, what the concept of love and soul mates actually means. As well as “Mating in Captivity” and “State of Affairs,” both by Esther Perel, were majorly mind changing).
Books can alter what you know about health/nutrition and thus, improve your health (both emotional and physical) by leaps and bounds (“Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis, “Why We Get Fat and What to do About It” by Gary Taubes, and “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson did this for me, big time).
Books can also improve, heal, and inspire your emotional health (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, as well as “The Courage to be Disliked” by Ichiro Kishimi, and “Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud offered life changing insights to me, which I have since applied to my own living and thinking).
Books can also just improve your general skills and increase general life knowledge, making you a more well rounded, better educated person (a few in this realm I quite enjoyed: “The Emotional Craft of Fiction” by Donald Maass, “Where to Draw the Line” by Anne Katherine- a book about healthy boundaries, “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg, and “Jane Austens Guide to Dating” by Lauren Henderson).
You get the idea. Books change us, in both minor and major ways.
Books offer a sense of connectedness. They can gift us with an experience of “oh wow, me too.” Comfort that we are not alone, within a personal experience or in just who we are as individuals. If one is willing to search it out, they will find themselves in certain books, in one way or another. And, even in books you dont specifically find yourself or have that “me too” moment, still, often we can relate or empathize. Having felt ourselves (at one point or another) similar things to what the author or character might be feeling.
Books offer the reader new ways of thinking and being, which you may not have considered or even heard of prior. A smattering of books which have done this for me:
-Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss
-Fearless Writing by William Kenower
-Many Love: a memoir of polyamory and finding love by Sophie Lucido Johnson
-The Soulmate Experience: a practical guide for creating extraordinary relationships by Mali Apple
-Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
-Sugar Blues by William Duffy
-Reality Bites Back: the Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure Television by Jennifer Pozner
-Zoo Story by Thomas French (shell shocked and captivated me, with regards to the inside look it offered on zoos, the animals personal experiences, as well as the controversial ethics of zoos).
You get the idea. I could continue on. Books can change our ways of thinking, altering our relationships, health, mindsets, even our entire path in the process.
Books can help with healing. For those who have been heartbroken, hurt, left, abused, lost someone they loved, you name it. Within books, one can find a sense of connectedness, support, and understanding. We can access how to deal with, as well as get through these experiences via the guidance and insight of others.
A few books that have offered such to me:
-The Friendship Factor: how to get closer to the people you care for by Alan Loy McGinnis
-Attached: the new science of adult attachment, and how it can help you find-and keep love by Amir Levine
-Changes that Heal: the four shifts that can make everything better by Dr. Henry Cloud
-The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
Books create a sense of community, building bridges and opening new doors between people. Think book clubs, reading in school, blogs about books, recommendations from friends on reads that changed their lives/perspectives. Books bring people together.
A life laden with books and reading is one of more significant depth. Its a life of continued learning and garnered knowledge. Its a life of perpetual growth and curiosity. One rife with additional joy, engagement, and entertainment. Books change lives. Books better us. They teach us both how to be, and how to live. Reading makes your life richer, in poignant and powerful ways.