Happy World Book Night (and birth and death date of Shakespeare) everyone! I thought it’d be kind of appropriate today to do a post about how awesome it is to read and be a reader.
World Book Night (if ya don’t already know) is the older, more sophisticated sister of World Book Day. World Book Day inspires the little’uns to read, and World Book Night aims to do the same for the adults, with thousands of volunteers giving out free books to those who don’t read regularly or don’t have access to books.
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to reading for pleasure, or wants to start reading more but doesn’t know where to start, why not lend or buy them something to kick start their reading career?
Reading increases your vocabulary
Us readers are like walking, talking thesauruses only with better hair and slightly better eyebrows. Although I can happily admit that ‘legit’ and ‘awesome’ are two of my favourite words to use when blogging, I also credit reading with expanding my speaking vocabulary and teaching me the definitions of words that I might never have otherwise encountered. Gettin’ smarter book by book, yo.
Note: Fifty Shades of Grey uses the same thirty seven words repeated, so don’t expect to learn anything new there.
Reading is magic
Just think about this for a second: every single person that reads the same book will envisage different characters, imagine alternative landscapes, pronounce names slightly differently and feel emotions that are unique to them. One book is a thousand different experiences for a thousand different readers all wrapped up into approximately 300 or so pages. MADNESS.
Also, isn’t it magical how the voice in your head (y’know, that reading voice that everyone has) changes for each character? Bet you don’t read Professor McGonagall and Lavender Brown in the same voice now, do ya?
Reading reduces stress and anxiety
I suffer with anxiety, generally caused by my poor attempts to flourish in the adult world. When I’m anxious, I have a tendency to get stressed and being stressed makes me feel more anxious. It’s the world’s worst self-perpetuating circle.
Reading is great for anxiety. It works for me, but it’s also a scientific fact. A 2009 study found that as little as six measly minutes of reading could lower your stress levels by a whopping 68%. The great thing is that reading also combines excellently with pretty much every other mood boosting trick out there, which as far as I’m concerned makes it infinitely better than exercise.
Cake + books? Yup. Bubble baths + books? Yes please! Snuggly blankets, chocolate and books? You can’t run on a treadmill and have a bath at the same time now, can you?
Reading flexes your empathy muscles
True story. We all have the ability to empathise, its just that some of us aren’t quite as skilled at employing it. It’s been proven recently that reading fiction helps children (and adults) understand emotions and complex social situations better, and studies find that it doesn’t matter whether your poison is Harry Potter or Jane Eyre: it still works. Humans are self-obsessed creatures, and reading is one of the few pastimes that can instantly transport us into the shoes of someone else for a couple of hours. You’re getting smarter AND nicer. Win, win.
Readers live a thousand lives
George R.R. Martin is totally right. Us readers get to live the lives of wizards, pirates, hobbits, orphans, Shadowhunters, talking animals, warriors, mothers, sons, daughters, friends and royalty without ever even leaving our bedrooms. Reading gives us perspective, expands our imaginations and opens up whole new realms of possibility.
Man, books are awesome, right?
What do you guys love about reading, books and being a reader? Tell me all about it in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!