1. You experience different lives, cultures, and points of view.
As George RR Martin wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Reading allows you to leave your life behind and experience entirely new ones. You can travel the world, meet new people, familiarize yourself with different cultures. It allows you to comfortably step out of your comfort zone. It lets you have more than one perspective about the world you live in.
2. Reading vastly expands your imagination.
Rather than being stuck in the world that you see every day, reading can expand your horizons and allow you to consider what else is possible. Unlike watching TV, while you’re reading you are forced to create the images yourself, to picture characters, to imagine landscapes, to put together details in order to make a life-like event. Reading actually stimulates your mind and improves your concentration, rather than turn your brain to mush.
3. You develop a stronger sense of empathy for other people.
Even if it’s hard for you to relate to characters and the situations they’re in, the stories still open up your heart in a new kind of way. You will sympathize with types of people you hardly knew even existed in this world. You will relate and empathize with those who you never thought would have similar problems to your own. You will feel comforted about your own problems; you will feel connected to others. Having the capacity to relate to other people and feel for them gives you depth, so reading will literally make you a better person.
4. It helps to improve your own writing.
Reading is one of the best things to do if you want to become a strong writer. If you read enough, narrative flow will become ingrained in your mind, and it will come naturally when you’re writing on your own story. Plot, character development, setting, and all of the important elements of a strong story will become second nature to you. You will be exposed to different styles that will influence your own. Sometimes, when I’m nervous about trying a certain style of writing, I read the work of an author who can perfectly execute it, and it gives me the confidence to try it myself.
5. Reading provides an easy escape from reality.
While you can argue that watching TV is an escape from reality too, it’s really not – because your brain is turned off. Watching something is a mindless task. You distract yourself too, using your phone or computer while a show is playing in the background. But reading grabs your full attention and doesn’t let go until you close the book. You become so invested by the words on the page that the whole world around you fades away and ceases to exist. Now that is an escape.
6. It increases your intelligence in more ways than one.
I have a dictionary app that I use while reading, so I feel like my vocabulary is constantly expanding. And I find that the more I read, the more references I understand in and out of books. I will recognize names of foreign countries, long lost authors, an expression that would normally go right over my head, a line from a poem that was used in a foreword, details of a certain time period. I truly believe that I’ve learned more important information from novels than I have from school. There is more to learn about the world and life itself from a fictional book than from a textbook. In my personal opinion, it’s more important to understand human behavior than chemistry. It’s more important to relate and have empathy for people in a different country than know what their carbon footprint is. It’s more important to learn about heartbreak and death and grief and the cruel realities we will all inevitably face than square roots and pie charts. The more you read, the more well-read and well-spoken you become. You can participate in more conversations. You will have knowledge about an wide array of topics. It’ll surprise you when you catch details that you never would’ve known if it weren’t for a certain book. Overall, if you read, you will become a smarter, kinder person. You just get more. Out of everything.