In Defense Of Reading

hammockIn a world where technology has improved our lives and continually increases its own ability by leaps and bounds, humans have had to adapt to living at a constantly moving pace. With the instant accessibility of information now, reading a good paper-and-glue book seems to be less and less given its proper due (not that I have a problem with ebooks; on the contrary I enjoy them even though you can’t sniff them). I felt moved to declare my love affair with reading and point out the glaringly obvious fact that people do a good amount of reading, whether they will admit it or not. Now, you may think that reading doesn’t need anyone to defend it, and you may be right, but I have to get it off my chest. To anyone who knows me personally (or even has read this blog for any amount of time, just look at the previous blog post), you know that I am a firm believer in the power of a good book. I have been reading since I was a child, and have always preferred the company of a good book to a reality tv show (or most television for that matter).

I would like to address a couple of the most frequent statements I’ve heard from people that claim to not read. It’s also worth noting that I’m pulling no punches here. If I’m being honest, this is where it will happen. Prepare yourself for snark.

1) “I don’t have time to read”

Listening to people say “I just don’t have time to read” on a regular basis is interesting to me. Along with reading, people use this as their reasoning for not exercising. We are all given twenty four hours in a day, so when you say you have no time to immerse yourself in a book, what exactly are you doing with your time? I understand that certain professions and certain people truly spend their entire day either on their feet or working in an environment where slowing down with a good book is not plausible. I also understand – because I’ve been there – that some days after work all you want to do is lay down and sleep for twelve hours. On a good day, and for the rest of us mere mortals, however, you ideally would spend eight hours sleeping (very few folks actually sleep a full eight hours though) and eight hours working (ok, you can add a little time for your “commute”). Correct me if I’m wrong, but that is only roughly sixteen hours out of the day spent in a position where reading is improbable. Sixteen hours out of twenty four. One third of each day. Sixty six percent. This still leaves a THIRD of your day. I understand that family time, exercise, honey-do lists, and other various projects take up some time as well. Really though, if you are watching three or four hours of television a night (a PASSIVE activity), instead of engaging your brain in a book, you DO have time to spare. You have twenty four hours in a day and the time that isn’t spent doing for someone else is all yours. You have a choice as to what you do with that free time.

Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Text messages?

Unless you are living under a rock, we are ALL reading constantly. Regardless of how short the message, it is all reading. How much time do you spent on social media? As an added bonus of technology, the internet (especially social media) has made it possible to both disseminate information AND receive information anywhere you happen to be, complete with sub par grammar and cringe inducing abbreviations. Whether you are reading someone’s twenty word FB status or the entire Lord Of The Rings trilogy, it’s all reading.

2) “I only read what the teacher says I have to” / “I stopped reading when I got out of class”

Ok, I get it. Being forced to read a book that didn’t suck you in may have scarred you. Although being forced to do something literary that you don’t like isn’t ideal, you shouldn’t assume all reading is this bad. Instead of thinking that all reading is awful and boring, perhaps you should find something more to your liking. There are pros and cons to being an adult with your own decision making ability, but one of the definite pros is being able to choose what you sink your free time into. Hate reading the classics? Can’t stand the books that everyone else seems to love? No worries. There is a book out there for everyone, even if you haven’t found it yet. There are plenty of websites out there crafted by, and geared towards, book lovers (I personally use Goodreads and LOVE it). I can just about guarantee that if you ask someone you know is a reader for a recommendation, you can get pointed in the right direction (or at least steered away from what THEY couldn’t stand).

Applying the line of reasoning that you don’t want to read any more in other contexts can result in some absurdity;

“Oh, learning? I’ve already learned everything I need to.”

“Money? No, I’m good. I’ve got enough of that.”

Considering the benefits of reading are countless, it is so frustrating to see people adamantly refuse to read. There are entirely too many articles discussing the merits of a good sentence to list here, but some of the first things that come to mind include an increased vocabulary, the ability to “travel” somewhere else with a character, to educate yourself for little to no cost by reading a nonfiction book (it can even be something or someone who interests you, not necessarily a history book!), and just having some nice quiet time to concentrate.

You can look at this post as myopic. You can call me naive. Heck, you can call me anything you want (if you read a book, you may learn a new word to hurl as an insult!), but know that I will continue reading as long as I possibly can and try to get as many people to join me as possible. There are entirely too many books out there for me to finish in this lifetime, but I’m going to try.

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7 thoughts on “In Defense Of Reading”

  1. My Dad used to say that you will never find the time, but we make time for what is important. I watch little tv. Never more than an hour a day and on most days none at all. I read everywhere – lunch, bath tub, before bed…. I think people like us, it’s just what we do.

  2. I went to the library to return some books and the librarian, THE LIBRARIAN, asked me how I have so much time to read. I couldn’t believe it. She is surrounded by books all day!!

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