Literary Love 2014 – 5 Reasons Everyone Should Pick Up A Book

February 10, 2014 Blogger Events 55

I’m kicking off my week of literary love with a topic that I think means a lot to all of us: why I love reading and reading is so important.

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This is a nonfiction blog so while this is a bit of a geeky reason, it’s true for most of the books I read. I love fun facts, science, and history in particular. I’m equally likely to learn about history from fiction and I love that too πŸ™‚

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Although I definitely have favorite genres, I like to push my boundaries too. Reading books outside my comfort zone is a great way to find new genres and authors I love.

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I used to hate books that made me cry and while I still avoid them Β sometimes,Β The Book ThiefΒ has completely convinced me that books that make you feel deeply can be spectacular. Even in less sob-inducing stories, my favorite books are usually the ones in which I empathize with the characters.

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I certainly don’t want to only experience the world through books, but I think its fantastic that I can visit other countries, experience historic events, and try out other careers by reading books. In some cases, books can be inspiration for experiences of my own. In other cases, they’re the only way to experience things I never can (historical fiction) or never want to (Orange is the New Black).

RedHeart5So, I lied to you in the title. This isn’t really a list of the top five reasons everyone should read – it’s all part of this one reason. A friend once presented to me the following hypothetical scenario: You’re in a burning building and you can save either the last copies of the works of Shakespeare or a person. Which do you save? For me, the answer is obviously the person, but I agree completely with most of his argument for why you’d save the works of Shakespeare. Books change lives and have shaped history. I don’t believe that the increasing literacy and the increasing inclusiveness of our society are unrelated. Books teach us things and in the best cases, they push us out of our comfort zone and teach us something about people we didn’t understand before. They make us empathize with people different from us, in race or gender, nationality or religion, sexual orientation or life experiences. There are very few problems in the world today that couldn’t be solved by increased empathy for our fellow human beings, which is why I think books can change the world. Pick one up today.

(Don’t believe me? Check out this fascinating study from PLoS One on how reading fiction can increase empathy)

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55 Responses to “Literary Love 2014 – 5 Reasons Everyone Should Pick Up A Book”

  1. Jennine G.

    I agree with all of your reasons. With the learning aspect, I love how I learn without knowing I’m learning. Someone will bring up a topic and I’ll realize I know something about it because of books I’ve read.

    • DoingDewey

      I love that too! Personally, I often have to read about a topic a few times before it sticks, but it’s so much fun when I can remember a random fact or know something about a surprising topic later πŸ™‚

  2. Brooke

    I love this post because I think people often on cite enjoyment as a reason to read, but there are so many other benefits! I love learning and pushing myself through literature.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Brooke! I know “for fun” is the first reason that comes to mind when I think about why I read, but there are a lot of other good reasons too. I read a rant a while back where someone complained about readers being shocked when other people don’t enjoy reading. They pointed out that it was just another hobby like any other. At the time, I couldn’t put my disagreement into words, but I think that was simmering in the back of my mind when I wrote this. I realize other hobbies can have benefits too, but I think reading is unique in how much it would change the world for the better if it was a hobby everyone enjoyed πŸ™‚

  3. Meg

    Lots of great thoughts here! Reading to push boundaries is one of my favorite reasons. Once someone who never read non-fiction (I know!), I routinely pick up stories outside my usual comfort zone now to experience other cultures, places and ideas.

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Meg! While I’m obviously going to advocate trying some non-fiction sometime, I’m amazed how much diversity you can experience within the different fiction genres. Maybe this is my love of non-fiction showing, but I especially like when historical fiction or fiction set in different countries includes some notes on sources, so I know what parts of what I’m reading about are real πŸ™‚

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Lindsey πŸ™‚ While I couldn’t point to specific books that have changed my life, I definitely think I’m a different person than I would be if I didn’t read.

  4. Alice in Readerland

    This was such a great post idea! πŸ™‚
    I agree, books help us learn, feel, and really understand so much. I love it when a book makes me look at something in a way I never have before.
    I’ll have to check out the article you mentioned, it sounds fascinating!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • DoingDewey

      I think my blog might have been down briefly yesterday, which could explain the problem if the timing was just wrong πŸ™‚ I’m a huge fan of reading across genres. It’s so much fun to discover something completely new! Lately I feel like I’ve gotten in a bit of a rut, reading a lot of YA and historical fiction. It could be worse of course, since my YA reading actually includes things that could fall into many genres, but I’d like to do better next month. Thanks for stopping by to post your comment again! Hopefully a one time glitch πŸ™‚

  5. Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    I really need to pick up a book that isn’t a textbook, LOL! Well, I do pick up cookbooks but not so much anything else right now. Once I have more time (when I am done with school in August) you can bet I’ll be tackling some of my books that I have yet to start reading!

    Stopping by from SITS. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

    • DoingDewey

      I almost completely stopped reading for fun when I was an undergraduate. It’s just so hard to read for fun when you have to read for school! Hopefully you have more time to enjoy reading once you’re done πŸ™‚

  6. KalleyC

    I love all your reasons! I am a book geek and while I don’t usually buy physical books anymore for myself (thank you children hahaha) I love reading my ebooks because you get to learn so much. And the great part is, it doesn’t even matter of the genre–there is always something to learn when we pick up a book! #SITSBlogging

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! I think every genre has something worthwhile to offer πŸ™‚ Although I still prefer physical books, the convenience of ebooks is really wonderful!

  7. Joules (from Pocketful of Joules)

    I love your reasons and I’m a HUGE book fan. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve loved escaping into a different world. Now that I’m grown with a family of my own, it’s hard to find the time to read for myself, but it’s still so rewarding. Sending some SITS Comments LOVE!

    • DoingDewey

      Since I don’t have any children, the part of my life where I had the hardest time reading was as an undergrad. When you’re reading a lot for work, it’s so hard to read for fun! I’m glad you still enjoy reading when you can find the time though πŸ™‚

  8. Kim

    You had me before I read a single reason. I agree with you that EVERYONE should pick up a book. I am a self professed bibliophile! I did love your reasons though, and agree with all of them, especially #2- to push boundaries. While most book lovers don’t need the 5 reasons list (but those who haven’t quite learned the pleasures of a book addiction may), many still need your number two on the list! I admit that I love certain genres, and will be drawn to them or get “stuck” for a time. When I open up to a recommendation in another area that I normally might not have tried, I often find new worlds (or even a new and surprising interest) opened to me. Great post!

    • DoingDewey

      Wonderful! I’m always thrilled to meet another book lover πŸ™‚ Even though pushing my boundaries is a big goal of my reading plans this year, it’s definitely something I could do better at. It’s so easy to pick up something comfortably inside a genre you love πŸ™‚

  9. katie

    What a great idea for a blog! I am an English teacher, so of course, a huge advocate of reading! I love all of your reasons. Can I add my favorite? C.S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’ One of my favorite reasons to read – and write. Stopping by from SITS comment love!!

    • DoingDewey

      Ah, that’s a fantastic reason. I’ve read a few memoirs lately with people in difficult situations and felt that they would perfect reads for someone else in the same situation for that very reason. I also love reading memoirs I can relate to for that reason πŸ™‚ And may I say, as a reader, I’m a huge advocate of English teachers. You guys are awesome!

  10. Kelly from Readlately.com

    Love your post but you missed one! How about for the beautiful writing? I love that moment when I come across a passage I just have to read out loud.

    • DoingDewey

      I think that’s a great addition to the list! And I know exactly what you mean about a really great piece of writing making you want to read it out loud. It’s so exciting when you discover a boo with writing that beautiful.

  11. Kat

    These are so true. My native language is Finnish, so when I’m reading in English I certainly have a win-win situation πŸ˜€

    • DoingDewey

      I’m always so impressed by people who read in a second language! I’m sure that makes it much more time consuming, especially when you first start. I’d love to eventually read books not written in English in their original languages, but for now I have to settle for translations πŸ™‚

  12. Kara

    So true! I’ve always loved to read and I have to be a proud mama right now and say how excited I am that my son is beginning to read and is loving it too! He’s in Kindergarten (I can’t believe that kids are learning to read at that age now…I feel like I was only learning my ABC’s then!) and can’t wait to get out his little notebook and write words he finds throughout the house πŸ™‚ #SitsBlogging

  1. Weekly Paper (18) | Paper Breathers

    […] @Β Doing Dewey kicked off Literary Love 2014 with 5 reasons everyone should pick up a book. Check out her blog for more book […]

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