Why Books Matter

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Soon I’ll post my first book review, but in the meantime, I thought we’d sit down and have a nice chat, just you and I, by the crackling fire. Here, have some hot steaming tea, if that’s your thing.

The question I’d like to pose to you today is this: Why do books matter? There’s a remarkable gap between people who love books and people who swear they’ve never touched a book in their life. The former will defend books to the death while the latter will say there are much more important things than books.

And while it’s true there are many other things just as or more important than books, I’d like to propose that people who DO read generally have more enriched lives than those who don’t. Reading is all about the human condition, a condition which makes us who we are as human beings.

Last year, the New York Times published an article called “The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction”. This article cites a study which shows that, on the whole, reading makes people more empathetic because stories put us inside other people’s minds and help us understand their motivations. As a result, reading actually helps readers become more adept in social situations, despite what other stereotypes might tell you (although it could be detrimental to socializing if your face is stuck in a book). Not to mention that reading helps people become more eloquent speakers and clearer writers.

And personally, I think reading enriches lives. We only have one life to live, but reading lets us enter countless others’ lives, which we never would have been able to dream of otherwise. By engaging ourselves with books, we create endless conversations with authors and characters that will constantly widen our worldview.

Are there other ways that books are important, whether personally or on the whole? Let me know in the comments.

 

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