“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
– Tyrion Lannister
Not surprisingly at all, reading has brought me one of my favorite quotes, which you can see above. The king of the contemporary fantasy genre, George R.R. Martin, imparted this bit of wisdom on the world in his first novel of A Song of Fire and Ice series, A Game of Thrones.
Now you’ve likely heard of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t, I commend your ability to maintain a hermit lifestyle in these modern times. The reason that everyone has heard of Game of Thrones is because it’s a TV show. A really good TV show, I might add. But it was originally a book.
But not as many people have read the books, and that makes me sad. While the show is great, the books provide a much richer experience, going more in-depth and truly showing you exactly what the author envisioned.
In the modern world we live in, entertainment is consumed in a variety of different formats. While a lot of television and movies these days is meaningless junk, there is undeniably quality content out there. Shows like Game of Thrones tell complex and compelling storylines that simultaneously entertain and stimulate your mind.
However with all these new ways to consume entertainment, we are reading less and less. Young people in particular aren’t reading like their predecessors were. 27% of 19-year-olds admit to never/hardly ever reading for fun at all.
Now I’m not saying to around cutting all the cords in your house or throw your iPhone off a bridge. That’s impossible in today’s modern world, and frankly, not a lot of fun. What I am saying is that, if you aren’t reading, you’re really missing out.
Reading Stimulates the Mind
Like our good friend Tyrion says above, reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Your brain, like any other muscle in your body, doesn’t improve from idleness. That eigth episode of Toddlers and Tiaras isn’t going to kill you, but it certainly isn’t going to help you stimulate your mind. Studies have even shown that the mental stimulation that comes with reading can slow or even help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
It Helps Fight Insomnia
Not being able to sleep when you want to can be one of the most frustrating things in the world. People have many different ways of dealing with insomnia, and one of these is reading. Reading can help you get a deeper and more restful sleep. In contrast to watching TV or using the computer late at night, a book will suck you into the story without distractions, and without bright lights that will take your brain off sleep mode. If you can’t sleep, try to read before bed as calming exercise.
Makes You More Creative
The more fiction you read, the more creative you become. And reading habits often correspond with creative abilities. Creativity is undeniably invaluable. Children with creative skills go on to be better writers, better musicians, better scientists, better business people, and have a higher quality of life.
Reading Improves your Vocabulary
Ever want to dazzle people with an expansive vocabulary? Believe me, there is no better way to crush an enemy than to blow them away with the speed of your wit and your daunting vocabulary. But this new vocabulary isn’t only good for making war. With your new impressive vocabulary, you’ll become a better conversationalist. These newfound conversation skills along with your new knowledge can even make you seem more attractive. Make sure to dazzle your many dates with literary references and an extensive vocabulary.
Reduce Poverty and Increase Social Mobility
Okay, this one might be a little bit of a stretch. But reading makes you smarter, and smarter people tend to be more successful. Hey, it certainly can’t hurt.
The best reason I can give you to read books is that they’re good! They will entertain you! Sure there are plenty of books that won’t, but that shouldn’t discourage you. You know that pretentious saying that, “The book was better than the movie”? Well, usually it is. Books give authors much more freedom to truly express their creativity, more so than they are able to when their book is made into a movie.