“Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you’ll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the binding.” ~ Stephen King
Here are documented scientific reasons about the importance of reading, according to a seminar I once attended given by a neurologist who had been studying the brain for three decades (this is my layman’s understanding of what she said):
- Reading requires your brain to be active, the neurons firing, and actually makes you smarter.
- Reading causes dendrites (the part of the neuron where memories are stored) to form, improving your capacity for memory.
- Reading, because it requires focus, improves your concentration.
- Reading, when done for pleasure, reduces your stress & that is good for your overall health.
- Reading, because it makes you think and apply what you’ve read, actually improves your reasoning skills.
Here are things I believe about reading:
- Reading can teach you about your own self, you recognize yourself or who you’d like to be in the pages.
- Reading can allow you to see what’s important to you by the kind of books you tend to choose.
- Reading increases your own creativity, sometimes sparking other ideas in your life.
- Reading can make you feel not so alone, especially a memoir of someone who’s been through the same thing you have.
- Reading builds connections with other people, even if the only other person is that author.
Reading can change your life
I have a soft spot for author Stephen King because he was the biggest influence in pushing me toward being a fiction writer. When I was a kid, my family & I went on vacation up to a cabin in Maine. There was no running water, no electricity ~ “roughing it like the settlers” my dad said. Not great, though, for a 12-year-old girl. Under one of the bunk beds, I found a box full of Stephen King books & I spent those 2 weeks reading his early work, which is absolutely fantastic. I wanted to be able to do what King did ~ make people feel scared, angry, happy, whatever ~ just by telling them a story. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) is among my favorite books ever. It’s one of the ones I read in that cabin years ago. It made me see the possibility of having a life as a fiction writer. It changed how I saw my future. It opened up possibilities for me. Reading can do the same for you.
What book changed your life? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.