Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been an avid reader, immediately starting a new book once I turned the previous one’s last page. Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, The Hardy Boys, and all my comic book heroes –Thor, Hulk, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four, and on and on provided a steady succession of science fiction, horror, fantasy, thrillers, mysteries to fuel my imagination. There has never been a time when I didn’t have a book or sometimes even two going. Reading is so much a part of my life. It is what prompted me to become an author as well.
So when I hear someone say they don’t like to read, I am bowled over, flabbergasted, flummoxed, befuddled, bewildered, baffled…stop me, I’m in an descriptive verb loop. So I started thinking about all the reasons why I enjoy reading.
At the top of the list for me, it has to be escapism. A good work of fiction transports me to other places, introduces me to interesting characters, and presents an assortment of emotions. At times, I even project myself into a character.
Reading also strengthens the imagination muscle. When a writer describes a provocative setting or a bizarre character, they will chose words to run the projector in your mind. Ultimately though, you alone create the images. That’s why I’d rather read the book before seeing the movie. I will often cast my own movie stars in the lead characters in a book.
I’m sure there are studies to confirm this next reason for reading. I firmly contend that reading keeps the mind sharp and may help stave off dementia. According to Anne E. Cunningham’s paper What Reading Does for the Mind she found that reading, in general, makes you smarter, and it keeps you sharp as you age. Other studies have shown that reading helps reduce stress, most likely because a good work of fiction can take your mind off your troubles for a while. (So may I suggest you stay away from those political tell “alls,” and biographies.)
There are some other benefits that I’m sure everyone’s English teacher would be proud of, for example, increased vocabulary and better communication skills.
So, who can I can thank for my love of reading? I’m not really sure. I think both of my parents were readers and maybe they passed that gene down to me. I also firmly believe that my grammar school must have had something to do with encouraging reading. I remember summer reading lists. Do they still have those in schools? Of course, there were comic books. They also contributed to my love of reading.
Picking up a book to read does take an effort. However, it’s time and energy well spent. So how does one entice a non-reader to get started reading? Not really sure. If they have a computer or iPod whatever, gift them a book from Amazon. There are numerous free promotions. Many ebooks are reasonably priced under $10. I’d like to also suggest HECKEL CASEY (shameless plug). It’s a good thriller that critics have said is “captivating,” “hard to put down,” and “a definite page turner.” Here’s a link to HECKEL: http://amzn.to/M8n2wB #eBook #thriller
Happy reading everyone!