Reading is like a panacea. Now, I spend approximately half my time reading: a book for sitting out in the porch, a book to read in the bathtub, a book to read before bed. There are dozens of reasons why you should take the time to read, but I’m going to focus on the top 7 today.
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Books really do offer up another world. You can slip away into Hobbiton, 19th century England, ancient Egypt, or even just the sunny climes of California. You can keep yourself entertained for hours and reading is so much more engaging and stimulating than watching television.
2. Learning Something New
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Naturally you can read to learn, that’s why we always got so many freaking books assigned to us in school. Just the novels I got assigned in college alone fill up an entire three tier bookshelf. However, you can also learn a lot of incidentals, things you weren’t even after in the first place. I always end up reading about something and then have to go scour Wikipedia to find out what the heck it is.
3. To Amuse Yourself
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You’ve had those days where you’re bored out of your skull and nothing will hold your attention, right? There’s nothing on TV, you don’t feel like exercising or going out, you’re not into playing video games or getting on the computer. You might think you’re not into reading either, but just try picking up a book last time, either a new one or an old favorite. Odds are you’ll look up an hour later with no idea where the time went.
4. To Pass the Time
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I hate waiting. I am the most impatient person. Waiting for the train, the bus, or a plane; standing in line at the DMV or the bank; waiting to get my hair cut or my eyebrows waxed. I always take a book with me to such places, even if it means I have to actually stand up in line to read. Invariably, I am actually disappointed when it’s finally time to do whatever I have to do because I’ve just reached an exciting chapter.
5. Centering Yourself
I’m a huge advocate of reading to relieve stress. When you need some time to yourself, when you need to focus on something other than a bad day or a tough situation, a book can get you past the rough spots more easily than most things. Again, it takes you out of yourself, which is sometimes exactly what you need.
6. Keeping Yourself Sharp
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Readers, it has been said, have a longer attention span and greater longevity than the fans of many other artistic mediums. It’s great if you like a movie or television show, but those things don’t engage you as well or as long as books. They don’t keep you as sharp. Avid readers always have something to talk about and they always have something to think about, plus they typically go on loving their favorite books for far longer. I’ll still be devouring John Irving’s novels long after Lindsay Lohan, for instance, has been in her last movie. (Well, you know, if that hasn't already happened.)
7. Because They Smell of Happiness
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My biggest problem with new reading technologies like the Kindle is the fact that it completely lacks the tactile and sensual pleasures of reading a book. I love the feel of an old leather binding, I love the way old books smell. They smell of spicy and secretive and magical, and the paper underneath my fingertips still gives me a thrill. Seriously, the next time you’re feeling down, take a sniff of the oldest book you have, or go down to the library to borrow a smell as well as a book.
I love to read, and I love talking about reading. I love talking about books. I love books, period. Forget aspirin or penicillin, give me an old hardcover with a long history. What are your favorite reasons to read?
Top Photo Credit: The Sultry Sophisticate