In January 2012 I decided to challenge myself to read the equivalent of my height in books (5’5) by the end of the year. After each book I wrote a personal review and slowly began to pile them higher, resulting in a stack up to my hip by June. I found that the challenge not only encouraged me to read more, but also made it fun to have something to do with the book afterwards – take a picture, write a review, and see how much of a difference it made in height. I now welcome you to my corner of the universe, as I embark on the remaining six months of my challenge and take the pile from my hip to my head! Please feel free to offer your opinion if you have also read any of the books I review, suggest other books to add to my pile, or begin your own “Height in Books” journey.
But first, in honour of everything book related, I have compiled a brief list of some of the top three reasons why I think reading is beneficial:
1. It’s sexy and you know it: While looking down at your phone in public is a very exclusive experience and warrants no interruption, reading a book is very inclusive. You are inviting people to get a glimpse into your personality without even realizing it, based on what you are reading, and the fact that you are reading at all. Reading a book demonstrates that you have a desire to learn, and that your pleasures include experiencing alternate realms, and tempting new perspectives. There is no doubt that books can spark excellent conversations and easily become a topic on which two strangers can openly relate. So not only does reading a book make you look smart, but it also quickly serves as a filter between the “why are you reading?” and “what are you reading?” type of people. And for all you male page turners out there, girls really dig a guy with a thick book in his bag.
2. Flip pages not channels: Alright I get it, it’s raining out, and anything you don’t accomplish today is completely justified, the gym can wait, calories don’t count when it’s cloudy, and I’m sure you have done SOMETHING to deserve an extended Sunday. While turning on the TV for another hour of “You are…not the father” Maury-style, seems like the most plausible way to pass the time, how about getting just as cozy, making that same bowl of extra buttery popcorn, and being slightly less useless… by reading a book! Reading is an active mental process that allows you to improve your vocabulary, mull over new ideas, and loan behold…actually have to use your imagination! So on the next rainy afternoon, throw your brain on that good ol’ mental treadmill, while you sit back, relax, and read.
3. This message brought to you by Brain: Unlike a twitter post, text message or e-mail that may contain small chunks of information, or the sacrifice of grammar for the sake of 140 characters, books tells the whole story and nothing but the story so help me God. Reading helps improve concentration and focus (that is if you don’t stop every time your phone beeps) and like a muscle, will only get stronger with more use. We have all heard the saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” and memory is no exception to this truth. Reading requires the recollection of details, facts, plot lines, and dialogue; all while exercising the imagination in order to create and recall scenery and characters. Exposing your mind to new ideas, and a diversity of details helps develop the creative side of the brain and improve the thinking process.
So you see, sceptical mind traveler, reading doesn’t have to be a barren landscape of bore, nay I say! It is an adventure through a portal of words into a hidden empire of the absurd, the impossible and the beautiful; it is the awakening of dreams, it is the ability to exist in two places at once, both in the mind and in reality. Finally, it is the enlightenment of a simple truth that a world of endless possibility lives inside each and every one of us, if only we are willing to imagine. Of course, if that is all too dramatic, then just remember that it makes you look smart. And you know what they say about a big brain…