“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel, The Infernal Devices #1

Is it just me who really can’t fathom people who don’t like reading? I get that everyone’s different (and some people probably can’t understand why I love reading so much!) but what do non-readers do with their time? And don’t tell me it’s all important real life stuff like house work and paying bills because we all do that too…but I also read. Here are a few reasons why reading is a good activity:

1. It’s an escape from mundanity

Don’t tell me everyone’s life is riveting 24/7 because that just isn’t true. And even if your life is super exciting, have you ever ridden a magical flying broomstick or fought a dragon? No? Well read Harry Potter because he has!

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2. It is entertaining

Reading is for the most part a leisure activity (except for at school and college where they kind of force you to do it!), and is therefore a form of entertainment. I know a lot of people prefer watching TV for entertainment because it ‘takes less work’, but for me reading isn’t hard work. When you are immersed in an incredible world, or in the head of an amazing character then reading is not only easy, but also addictive. Although I’ve had the urge to binge watch TV series before, for me it is nothing like the feeling of being physically unable to put down a book.

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3. It is educational

Although reading is for the most part entertainment (going back to #2!), it can also be educational, even if it’s fiction. Pretty much any issue you could possibly think of has been covered by a book, whether it’s war, racism, sexism, family issues, illness, mental health, abuse, death etc., and whilst TV and films can do this too, it isn’t quite the same. When you watch TV you can see the character’s reactions to all these things but you can’t know their exact feelings and thoughts like you can in a book, and I think this tends to get you closer to the issue, and educates you more about it.

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4. It allows you to see from other people’s perspectives

Our only experience of life is our own, the one that takes place in our own body as we walk everyday in our own shoes. But in some small way, reading allows us to briefly experience a little of what it would be like to be someone else, and that is one of the ways it is so wonderful.

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5. It shows us what it is to be human

Kind of a big statement, huh? Let me explain what I mean. Books are written by humans, usually about humans, and are read by humans, so they are essentially, all about humans and what it is to be one. Books encompass the past, the present and the future of the human race, and basically put into words the universal feelings that come along with being a person; joy, sadness, love, hate, loneliness… I think every reader has occasionally had that moment of clarity when reading a book where you think to yourself, ‘I recognise this, I have felt this too. Reading shows us that we are not alone, that everyone goes through something, even if that someone is a super celebrity or futuristic spaceman living on Mars.

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6. Books make us think

Although it is enjoyable to channel surf and to social network the night away, every once in a while, you need to do a worthwhile activity that can really exercise your brain muscles. And reading books is a sure fire way of doing that. Whether you’re reading about church theology or questions to ask before you get married or even a cute story about a little ninja, your brain cells get the workout they deserve.

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7. Books can be shared

One of the greatest joys is to finish a book that you really love and then to go to a friend and say “Hey have you read ________? It’s awesome.” And of course that would be followed by an offer to lend it to said friend (that is, if you’re unselfish). I believe that books are meant to be shared so that other people in turn can experience the joy of reading that book.

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8. Books can shape generations

Not everyone agrees with everything a book says and so it’s a great opportunity for you and your friends to have a spirited discussion on the latest book you’ve read. And if you want to be more formal about it, you can even start a book club.

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9. Books and coffee go well together (or tea)

The best way to read a book is curled up in bed or a corner of your favorite coffee shop and you shut out the world around you. Of course this doesn’t happen often because of our busy lives, but the rare moments that this happens, cherish it!

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10. Books can transport us into another world

Whether it’s a fantasy world or a place you’ve never been too or an experience that you long for, well-written books have that ability to make you experience these like you were actually there walking along the ruins of an ancient kingdom.

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