It is obvious. You know it. I know it. We all know it. In the current zeitgeist, entertainment is known more as television and computer games rather than, god forbid, these strange objects which are not powered by electricity and often have no pictures and are made of bits of bark stuck together with black, dense scribbles on them.
Although there are still millions of people who adore reading, popular entertainment is slowly taking its toll. I used to devour a pile of books every week. Then the internet entered my life and the modern world and though it saddens me to say it, I read far less books than I used to. I mean, you’ve got to admit, Youtube videos are distracting and provide an instant rush of entertainment with little effort on the viewer’s part.
Ahem. I digress. Without further ado, these are seven reasons why I believe people should read more. Perhaps these aren’t exactly conventional reasons, such as to gain more knowledge and be able to spew out facts that make one An Interesting Person. But I haven’t ever been interested in what is normal and proper anyway.
1. Reading improves vocabulary. Yes, I know, it is self-explanatory. But one of my pet peeves is the fact that the internet has somehow transformed these human creatures perfectly capable of articulate, sophisticated communication into little drones who type in an alien code: I tly sd dat i nvr wud smk pt r smthin lk dat, bt yestrdy i tly dd. omg. What on earth is that? That, ladies and gentleman, is the massacre of the beautiful English language. Gah. These horrid abbreviations. Horrible spelling. Why. Just why. Murderers. Besides, if you don’t write internet slang, you come across as more intelligent. Actually, scrap that. Even if you don’t write internet slang, reading will make you smarter. So, read. Expand your vocabulary. Look up words you don’t know. And don’t make Charles Dickens or Ray Bradbury turn fitfully in their graves.
2. Reading makes you more accepting of other people. When you read books, you often come across an assortment of characters from different backgrounds with different personalities. And, usually, the books develop these characters and allow you to empathise with them and understand them. This then can carry into the real world and you become more tolerant of people. You get into the habit of delving into people’s mind as you would into a character. And then humanity will live happily ever after (or not. Perhaps people who discriminate in this day and age should read a little more).
3. Stimulates your imagination. With television and the internet, we are force-fed visuals. The brain loses the ability to create images for itself. While reading, you are effectively creating pictures in your mind that are your own personal representation of the words on the paper. That is known as your imagination, you know, that thing that creates new stuff that no one has ever thought of before? Yeah. So. Read and imagine amazing, beautiful things that will enrich your life and perhaps one day translate into art and bleed into the lives of others.
4. Reading provides insights on life. There is a reason your English teacher asked you to dig around for all those symbols and metaphors like a treasure hunt. You may have believed it to be all useless drivel but those literary techniques are used to provide evidence for themes in books. And themes like love and fear are often universal. They are integral to the human experience. Reading brings to the surface themes which are universal truths, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into life, the world, people and yourself.
5. Reading is fun. Did I hear a groan? People have been reading for years. How long has the damn television or internet been around? How on earth did the people of the past amuse themselves? No, they couldn’t attend medieval drunken revelries all the time. They read BOOKS. And if books have afforded entertainment to human beings for so long, I’m sure they can interest you as well. Books allow escapism. It’s a whole another world, just waiting to be unleashed by the turning of a page. You get to become and meet all sorts of people. You get to travel without paying a penny. And all while sitting in your chair! Books don’t need electricity (at least, the physical books don’t. Gosh. How I love to smell books and turn the pages. Can’t stand kindles). They’re portable. You just pick ’em up and open ’em and off you go!
I love books. Love them. And I want other people to love them as well. They deserve to be loved. They are the manifestations of some of the most beautiful minds that ever existed. Absolute treasures. So, go out there and buy or borrow a book. Any book (though preferably fiction. Yes, I am biased. I am a human being. Sorry). And read!
What about you guys? Have you got any more reasons why people should read more? I’d love to hear them.