Why You Should be Reading Fiction

Why Don’t You Read?

You know what drives me crazy? Hearing people say, “I don’t read, it’s just not my thing.” Or “I don’t like fiction. I’d rather read about real life.” Or even, “I used to read, but I just don’t have time for it anymore.”

Friends. You need to be reading.

And this isn’t just one of those things where I like doing it so I want you to do it too. No, this is important. Notice I’m not telling you all that you need to be crocheting, even though I love crocheting. I’m not telling you that you need to be playing card games or playing violin or learning calligraphy. I’m not even telling you that you need to be writing. These are all important things in my life. And while I’m sure I could write about how great they are, I could really only tell you why I love them. Not why you should be doing them.

But reading is different. Reading is so, so important. And if you think you don’t like reading or that you don’t have time for just a chapter of something a day, well bud. It’s time to make a change.

Want to know why I think that? Well here you go, I’ll give you five reasons. Want more? Just ask. I could write a book about why you should be reading.

  1. It’s good brain exercise

Why do you think we’re taught to read in the first place? Because it’s good for us! Even just reading a few words engages parts of your brain that, if you haven’t been reading, may be a little rusty. It’s just plain good for you to use as much of your brain as you can, so read! It’ll help you get smarter! It can also help you increase your vocabulary, improve your spelling, and even teach you about punctuation and grammar rules you’re a little fuzzy on. Beyond that, if you really want to, you can look for all kinds of literary devices in what you read, ask yourself why it’s there, and then my friends, you’re in for a real treat: a literature brownie topped with brilliant metaphors and served with a lesson on top!

  1. It helps lower stress levels

One reason I love to read is because it’s one of the only things that has the ability to capture all my attention. Whenever I’m doing almost anything else, I’m doing something else at the same time.

Now tell me, doesn’t that sound nice? Doing something that so fully captures your attention that even your body calms down a little bit? If you haven’t read for a while, take my word for it: it’s great!

  1. It increases your ability to empathize

On a larger scale, this is one of the best things that literature has done for humanity. It helps us, as a society, understand other societies better. It even helps us understand those within our own society better. Isn’t that cool? Because here’s the thing about books. They’re all written by people. And before you say, “Duh, Sariah. What else would they be written by?” Let me tell you why that’s important.

You see, each one of us comes from different places and different experiences. We all have vastly different views and opinions. We all have different value systems and ideas about the way things should be. Unfortunately, if we just rely on our own little reality bubble, we’re all only getting a very shallow experience. Reading allows us to look into the author’s reality bubble, just for a couple hundred pages or so. It helps us to see what they see, and more importantly, what their characters see. It helps us understand and empathize with those who have gone through similar things. And when you understand people, you can help them. You can change things in the best possible way.

  1. It teaches you about others, ethics, and the whole dang world

I once read a literature textbook that said something along the lines of “Good literature is news that stays news.” To this day, that is one of my favorite quotes about reading. Like, ever. It’s the best little summary I’ve ever read about why I love reading so much.

Today, we’re all being encouraged to stay up-to-date on current news. There’s so much going on that we need to be aware of it. We need to know who we’re voting for. We need to know what’s going on in our country and in our world. And while it is important to keep track of current news, I’m going to suggest that there are books out there that will give you a more comprehensive idea of the world than any newscast ever will. And I’m not just talking about books written this year about what’s going on in Syria. I’m talking about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I’m talking about Sense and Sensibility. Don’t believe me? Go take a read. See if you can find any parallels with current issues.

  1. If you allow it to be, it’s just plain fun!

If you’re still not convinced, maybe you should try reading just for the fun of it. See how creative some of these writers are! See how much stuff the movies didn’t include, because Peeves was the most fun character never to be seen on screen. Because it’s just plain fun to fangirl with your friends over your OTP. Because if you ever find yourself lonely and bored, books just might be what you’re looking for.

As I mentioned before, I have a lot of hobbies. I have this little problem where I want to know everything about everything and do everything about it. It drives me a little bonkers sometimes. But there’s a reason that even though I love astronomy and ornithology and music and anatomy I decided to study English.

What other reasons do you have that everyone should be a reader? Let me know in the comments!

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