So I had a conversation this week that went much like this:
Me: "So what do you like to read?"
Other Person: "I don't read."
Me: "Wait, what!? Seriously, what is your favorite book?"
Other Person: "I don't have one, I don't like to read."
Sadly this is not the first conversation like this that I've had. As a human being, this saddens me. As an author, this terrifies me.
This particularly worries me when I read (that's right read) statistics like these:
Mark Twain once said "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."
What advantages are there to being a reader? Let me lay them out for you.
1. Readers tend to be better in relationships.
Studies have shown that people who read a lot tend to feel a broader spectrum of emotions, which they were exposed to as they read about and empathized with the emotions of many different characters. This means that people who read oftentimes are better at empathizing with another human's emotions reducing relational conflict.
2. Reading something you enjoy reduces stress.
Really, it does!
3. Reading helps prevent Alzheimer's.
Reading is like push-ups for the brain, keeping it stronger and more resistant to deterioration. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that senior citizens who consistently read were two and a half times less likely to end up with Alzheimer's.
4. Reading improves your memory.
Remembering plot lines, multiple characters, important details, these are all skills that are built when one is reading a book. How does that translate into the real world? How about remembering job assignments, peoples' names and where you left your keys?
analytical thinking skills.
Reading provides one with multiple perspectives, solutions and logic tracks, meaning that when you face a problem in the real world, you have more tools at your disposal than if you had just played a video game.
6. Reading builds your vocabulary.
It is estimated that there are around 200,000 words in the English language. The average American will use a grand total of 20,000-35,000 in their entire lifetime. For avid readers, however, that number jumps up by several thousand.
7. It's free entertainment!
Seriously, you don't have to pay a dime if you don't want to. That is why libraries are such amazing places! For free you can travel to far off lands or fight pirates or ride a dinosaur! Who doesn't want a free dinosaur ride?
It is said that if you read in one field of study for one hour a day for seven years, you would be an international expert on that topic. Go and try to do that watching episodes of "Teen Wolf."
9. You will have things to actually talk about with others.
Reading opens up all kinds of doors, including conversational ones.
"Hey, you're reading James Patterson! Which one of his books is your favorite?"
"You like the Harry Potter series? Me to!"
"Did you like the Hunger Games books or movies better?"
See how easy that is!
Go! Pick up a book! Immerse yourself in your own private break from reality! You have no reason not to and lots of reasons why you should!
In other exciting news, Weird Al Yankovic released a new album called "Mandatory Fun" (which is amazing, go buy this album), and one of the songs "Word Crimes" (a remake of the awful "Blurred Lines") seemed rather fitting.
As always, I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) or Goodreads!