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

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.


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 :)


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.


I used to hate books that made me cry and while I still avoid them  sometimes, The Book Thief 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.


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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53 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.
    Jennine G. recently posted…Guest Post: Multilingual Reading from WensendMy Profile

    • 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 :)

  2. Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    I love this post! You’re sooooooo right!
    Rebecca @ Love at First Book recently posted…Magnetic Bookmark DIYMy Profile

  3. Christine @Buckling Bookshelves

    Love this so much! :)
    Christine @Buckling Bookshelves recently posted…Thoughts on Books that “Count”My Profile

  4. 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.
    Brooke recently posted…The Walking Dead: AfterMy Profile

    • 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 :)
      DoingDewey recently posted…Literary Love 2014 – 5 Reasons Everyone Should Pick Up A BookMy Profile

  5. Andi @ Estella's Revenge

    Beautiful post! You took the thoughts right out of my head.
    Andi @ Estella’s Revenge recently posted…Literary Love 2014: I Love Readalongs!My Profile

  6. 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.
    Meg recently posted…Married ladies can have crushes, tooMy Profile

    • 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 :)

  7. Lindsey

    Great reasons and I agree with all of them. Books not only have shaped my life but the world too. Great post! :)
    Lindsey recently posted…Friday Favorites: Favorite Children’s NovelsMy Profile

  8. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    Brilliant post! Very inspiring and well thought out! Now I just can’t wait to get back to the book I’m reading! :) (just a few more hours of work…)
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted…Review: CinderMy Profile

  9. Alice in Readerland

    This was such a great post idea! :)
    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
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  10. Melinda @ The Book Musings

    For some reason my comment of yesterday didn’t go through. I agree with your post and one thing in particularly that I have started doing is reading across genres!
    Melinda @ The Book Musings recently posted…Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsMy Profile

    • I think my blog might have been down briefly yesterday, which could explain the problem if the timing was just wrong :) 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 :)

  11. Pat @ Posting For Now

    I enjoyed reading your list and agree with all five points.
    Pat @ Posting For Now recently posted…First Chapter – First Paragraph Tuesdays: February 11, 2014My Profile

  12. 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!

    • 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 :)

  13. Leah @ Books Speak Volumes

    I love all of these reasons!
    Leah @ Books Speak Volumes recently posted…Book Review: The Free by Willy VlautinMy Profile

  14. 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
    KalleyC recently posted…Choosing Love over HateMy Profile

  15. 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!
    Joules (from Pocketful of Joules) recently posted…My February Stitch Fix of LOVEMy Profile

    • 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 :)

  16. Kate

    Loved your post. Great reasons to pick up a book, so true.

    Joining in with #SITSBlogging comment luv :)
    Kate recently posted…Boxy make-up bag and slim pencil caseMy Profile

  17. 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!

    • Wonderful! I’m always thrilled to meet another book lover :) 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 :)

  18. Jocelyn McGaffic

    Great post! I am encouraged to start reading more often!
    Jocelyn McGaffic recently posted…Craftsy Sewing ClassesMy Profile

  19. 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!!
    katie recently posted…Me: A Miserable, Cranky, Human BeingMy Profile

    • 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 :) And may I say, as a reader, I’m a huge advocate of English teachers. You guys are awesome!

  20. Kelly from

    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.

  21. Kat

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

    • 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 :)

  22. Katrina @ Enchanted Savings

    Great reasons! I love reading fantasy and historical fiction.
    Katrina @ Enchanted Savings recently posted…Crockpot Shredded Pork RecipeMy Profile

  23. 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 :) #SitsBlogging
    Kara recently posted…Pick Your Plum: Beautiful Girls Empire Waist Dresses $6.99!My Profile

  24. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    Yes to all of these!
    Allison @ The Book Wheel recently posted…Immigration, Same-Sex Benefits, and Yoga MatsMy Profile

  25. Tickle and Delight

    Great reasons that apply to everyone. Love the photo you’ve used too. Very sweet.
    Tickle and Delight recently posted…Sharing the Instagram LOVEMy Profile

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