Monday, April 30, 2012


Today in my teenage angst, I post a public service announcement promoting reading. You know, Raise a Reader and all that. Just kidding. Let it not be assumed that I have missed the irony in posting a written piece on the benefits of reading. BUT! There is a difference in reading the odd article and/or blog post and reading books. The difference, I propose is that a lot of articles involve pictures and are on the internet and are thus connected to many other distracting and interesting things. Books, when not viewed on internet connecting devices, offer the opportunity for a healthy measure of escapism. I'm not generally one to promote escapism to anyone but myself, but our society's tendency to live in any world but the depressing one we live in, leads me to understand its necessity and instead of avoiding it, promote it in its healthiest fashion.

Beyond it's healthy measure of escapism, reading promotes several measures of cognitive development including language production and comprehension. As such! The psychological benefits alone make it worth while. Still it's hard to appreciate those for all they are. Reading is kind of like exercise. It's hard to appreciate the benefits because discovering the benefits takes time and effort. Lucky for you, I am here to get you started and physicality doesn't play a part in this at all.

Avoidance excuse #1: I don't read because I don't have the time.
Well sure you don't. No one does. The thing is to find and/or make time. I read right before bed. It helps me fall asleep like nobody's business and even reading just 20 pages at a time helps me get through a significant measure of books. Other places that are prime for reading include the bathroom (because we all know it's not always a thirty second trip), the bathtub (because who just likes to soak?), the bus, the doctor's office, the dentist's office, the optometrist's office, and/or any other place you might have to wait. Undoing my previous statement, you have the time. You just have to find it.

Avoidance excuse #2: I don't read because I don't know what I like.
This is the part that takes effort. Finding the time is on par with finding what you like. So my advice is to try everything! If you think you might like celebrity bios, try one. If you think you might like real crime, borrow one. If you think you might like kids books, grab one from your little sister, or child, or cousin. Try everything. Everyone says stupid things like, never give up on books you start, and what's the point of starting it if you're not going to finish. But the reality is that there is a lot of crap published and a lot of those covers are really pretty. We are easily swayed. As such, you might end up starting crap, but please hear me when I say, you don't have to finish crap. 

Resulting benefits of reading: 
- It's something lazy that's not watching TV.
- It can help with insomnia. I add the qualifier of 'can' because I dont' want to project that I have the cure for insomnia. I do not. Though I can help with that too if you want.
- It increases your database of useless knowledge.
- It ALSO expands your ability to build meaningless analogies. 

So there you go. The following are my recommendations to start you off. OH, right, my final encouragement is to read off the page, because if you're going to fully escape into literature you have to do it away from the internet. The internet is not our escapist friend. 

For Celebrity Bio: Bossypants, written by Tina Fey

For Fiction: Come Thou Tortoise, written by Jessica Grant

For Real Crime: A Stolen Life, written by Jaycee Duggard

For Youth Fiction: The Fault In Our Stars, written by John Green

For Juvenile Fiction: Ender's Game, written by Orson Scott Card

Go now. Read well. Venture into the cosmic realm of goodness that is the publishing world.

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