In the age of the internet, the media has become ingrained in our lives. In fact, the average US adult spends more than 11 hours a day consuming some sort of media, not including books, according to a recent study by Nielsen. In this golden age of media, books seem to have fallen as a “go to” for free time. A quarter of Americans say that they “haven’t read a book in the past year” according to website Facts and Trends. In light of these studies, take the time to pick up a book and check out these eight reasons you should read a book.
- It’s good for your mind
Irish writer Richard Steele said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Your mind needs a chance to work just as much as your body does. Your brain is a bit like a muscle, and reading a book forces it to make connections creating new pathways between both hemispheres. This can promote quick thinking and prevents cognitive decay, literally making you smarter.
- It’s good for your relationships
When you read, you are introduced to numerous characters with their own lives and feelings. Getting to know these characters can make them seem real and from there it is not hard to see the real people in your own life in these characters. Reading makes you more empathetic and open-minded. It is a chance to walk in the shoes of different people and live their lives with no consequences. Besides that, books are a great conservation starter, as shown through the numerous book clubs that exist. In fact, McNick has its own book club that you can check out on Feb. 27 in the library during both lunches.
- Reading can improve your writing skills
As you read books you absorb the vocabulary and writing techniques that are presented to you. It also helps you improve your spelling. Why do you think your English teacher keeps assigning you books instead of summaries on Sparknotes? That doesn’t help you learn or your teacher teach, it only helps Sparknotes.
- Reading can help develop critical thinking skills
Analyzing a story, or attempting to solve the problems in the story is great practice for real problems that you may come across in your day to day life. Reading a book that you enjoy and then thinking about why the character acts a certain way or how the ending isn’t what you thought it would be is actually great fun.
- Reading improves your memory
When you’re in the middle of a book you have to remember all of the characters’ names, their motives, who’s in love with whom, who’s trying to kill whom, foreshadowing in the first chapter, and many other details. Consequently, you tend to improve your memory over time.
- It improves your concentration
Reading takes time and effort to stay focused. It’s easy to start binging a show on Netflix while doing other things, but reading a book forces you to sit down and close off the outside world for a while. This practice can strengthen your attention span and focus over time.
- Reading makes you more creative
Reading books puts you in charge of how you see the characters and the place. Authors give a written description, and you create the image in your head. Books are also a great source of inspiration for your life or even your own stories that you want to tell.
- It reduces stress
Reading slows the heart rate and can ease tension in the muscles. Diving into a good book is a great way to relax and escape from life’s big issues. Being transported into a new world where you can allow your own problems to fall by the wayside is very cathartic. You can laugh and cry with these characters without having to think about your own issues.
Reading isn’t easy, but luckily McNick’s library holds a wide variety of books from classics, to contemporaries. It is open most school days from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. In past articles, I’ve even written reviews and made book suggestions. My most recent book review can be found here.