I have met people who don’t read. Like, ever. I don’t understand them. But the idea got me thinking about the wonderful things about reading–and the best things about being a person who reads.
1) Expanded Knowledge: I’ve learned about history from historical fiction, science from science fiction (slightly dicey, but some real science), and human nature from every genre…which doesn’t even touch all the random information I’ve picked up from nonfiction. For example, most recently, I’ve probably been slightly annoying on the subject of decision fatigue and energy depletion–but it’s fascinating!
2) Expanded Life: Or, as S. I. Hayakawa said so well, “It is not true we have only one life to live. If we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.” And recent studies have backed him up–the brain actually views real experiences and imagined experiences as the same thing (or maybe they’re just close–I don’t care, I saw the article and concluded my brain feels I have really ridden dragons and been to Prince Edward Island!)
3) Pleasant Commutes: It’s a good day when I walk out of my office and think, “Oh good, now I get to spend half-an-hour listening to my audiobook!”
4) Easy Entertainment, Always Available: What do non-readers do on their lunch breaks? Seriously. I have no idea. Also helpful for long grocery store lines.
5) Instant Escape: See above. And it’s not that I need to escape my job exactly, but getting out my book does immediately take me out of my work mindset for half-an-hour.
6) Instant Connections: I have rarely had a friendship that didn’t involve bonding over books on some level. Notable examples: I met one of my best friends in high school because we were both reading Tamora Pierce, and would have been too shy to talk to each other without that bridge; second, I have never connected so immediately with someone, before or since, as I did at a party when a complete stranger and I realized we both considered (again!) Tamora Pierce’s books to be life-changing.
7) Readily-Available Friends: I saw a meme on Facebook a while back (which I can’t find…) which said, to the best of my memory, “I always carry a book, not because I expect to read it but because then I know I have a friend always with me.” Yes.
But the best thing of all was best said by C. S. Lewis: We read to know we are not alone. Because nothing’s better in reading than stumbling across an idea or a feeling or a weird quirk that I recognize instantly but have never seen anyone else admit to, and knowing that somewhere, someone else felt it too.
What are your best things about being a book lover? We might find out we’re not alone in our favorite, quirky thing!