It’s easy to fall in love with a good book. You might be familiar with the joys of flipping open a set of crisp pages. Soon the characters that lie waiting between them will feel like close friends, the pages themselves will become soft and worn, and the story’s world will seem like a second home. Eventually you will return to the real world, but not for long. Soon you will consumed yet again by another faraway land, another group of imaginary heroes, another great adventure. The pleasures of literature are exhilarating and infinite. It is easy to love a book – loving a person is much harder. However, there may be some sort of pleasant connection between the two.
Here are three good reasons to love a reader:
Annie Murphy Paul of TIME magazine is an advocate of a practice she calls “deep reading.” This is the kind of literary experience in which you become fully immersed in the story and feel the emotions, sensations, and struggles of the world depicted therein. Unfortunately, deep reading is falling out of favor, as today’s people are more inclined to skim a website than break in a paperback. Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, determined from multiple research studies that people who engage in deep reading appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them, and view the world from their perspective. It seems that, by experiencing the world through another set of eyes, they learn to see differently with their own. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “that is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
Readers Converse Well
A reading enthusiast lives in a world of words. They soak them in, mull them over, and tuck away the best phrases to keep with them for the rest of their lives. They have some carefully forged and and well developed thoughts, as well as the ability to express them in a beautiful and intelligent way. The luckiest people will spend more time speaking with their life partner than any other human being on earth. If you want those conversations to be meaningful, stimulating, and altogether spectacular, you should find yourself a reader.
Readers Have Imagination
To one who doesn’t often engage in deep reading, this may seem counter-intuitive – after all, aren’t writers the creators, and readers the consumers? Although this is how books operate in theory, in reality the process is quite different. As Psychologist David Comer Kidd put it, “What great writers do is to turn you into the writer. In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the characters turns your mind to trying to understand the minds of others.” Your imagination gets quite a workout from a good story, and absorbs countless new ideas on which to build new imaginings. Although a rich imagination is rarely a list topper when someone is seeking a romantic partner, it is often just the quality we need to keep the relationship fun, stimulating, and alive. Albert Einstein once said “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Go out and snag yourself a reader – I’m glad I did. He loves deeply, lives fully, and challenges me every day. I hope to do the same for him.