The Picky Bookworm

"Books are a uniquely portable magic." –Stephen King

I often get told that reading is fine for some people, but that it’s not necessary for others. This is usually said by people that don’t enjoy reading. I wanted to write a post on why it’s important to read, not just for enjoyment or to learn something new. Reading gives things just by itself that gives things to the world that aren’t always noticed.

Reading increases your vocabulary

This is true. For example, I read a book that uses the word “untenable” in it. I’m not sure what that word means, so I look it up. Bam! I’ve learned a new word. I know what it means, so I can use it in daily language.

When I was in high school, my teachers would have lessons specific to vocabulary. It is figured by some, that having a larger than normal vocabulary means you’re better educated. If this is true, you don’t have to read a dictionary to reach this level of education. All you have to do is read books. Even some outside your normal tastes.

Nancy Drew taught me so much growing up, and I learned it because I read. Yes, I was in school, but when people comment on “how smart I am” I credit it to my mom taking us to the library and encouraging our reading. You don’t have to have a Ph.D to sound smarter. Just read.

Reading teaches you something new

This is probably the most obvious item on this list. Reading teaches you something new. Does that mean you can’t ever read fiction again? No!

By reading a book about a bookshop in a van in Scotland, I learned about the culture in Scotland, I learned about different words used in different parts of the world, and I learned about small town life.

By reading Nancy Drew, I learned that being 18 doesn’t always mean you’re going to automatically know everything in the world. I still wonder how she never aged, but was somehow proficient in so many different skills.

Reading allows for the growth of your imagination

Have you ever read a book, then spent weeks or months imagining what it would be like to live in the world of the book? What would you do in the heroine’s shoes? Why did that villan act the way he did? Whenever you think about those things, or daydream about what it would be like to climb the beanstalk and talk to the giants, you are using your imagination. Reading books gives you that.

I’m not saying that only reading gives you the option to use your imagination, but there’s something about reading a book without pictures and imagining what the characters look like, and imagining which girl would be your best friend if you were only given the chance. I’m looking at you Jo March! (little women)

Reading expands your world

Have you ever been to Africa? Russia? Arctica? No? Well, reading can take you to those places in ways not many other things can. Do you think you’ll ever travel to Arctica? Probably not, if you’re anything like me. I hate the cold, but reading allows me to travel there, hang out with the penguins, and see the Northern Lights.

Reading gives me a chance to visit Russia and meet the president. Something I will likely never get to do in real life. Ever wanted to visit Africa to go on Safari? Well, if you’re short on funds, a book can take you there.

Books also expand our world in ways a little more close to home. Books illuminate our lives on cultures outside our own, even the one right next door. We are a world of cultures, of languages, and of people. Reading a book gives access to those things without having to step out our front door.

Reading teaches critical thinking

This is one of my favorite items on this list, because it’s probably the most abstract. Do you know what I mean by critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to look at a set of circumstances, and form your own opinion on those circumstances. Reading allows for each person in the world to hold different opinions on even the same book.

Read a book review sometime.

One person loves a book, hates a particular character, and the next person who reads the book can have the opposite opinion. Reading allows for independent thought. Reading allows for people to share their opinions with the world, without fear of reprisal.

Right now, the world is a very scary place. Most people are holed up in their homes, in order to protect us all from the coronavirus. We can’t travel, we can’t meet new people, except online, but we can read. We can share our opinions; we can think critically and form our own opinions on the world.

One of my favorite quotes is this:

The world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. We are all different. We think differently, we believe different things, and we read differently. I would never want to take that away from anyone.

 

How about you? Do you have any reasons to read that I didn’t think of? Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to follow me, or find me on Instagram and Facebook @thepickybookworm

Until next time, Bookworms!

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