Yes, today is National Read a Book Day. The special day and extra spotlight is always welcome, but personally, I think reading a book should be celebrated every day. Books are amazing things and reading them has even more amazing benefits. (I’m biased, of course, seeing as I write books, but before I was a novelist, I was always a reader.)
So here are 10 great reasons why you should make Read a Book Day a year-long celebration:
10. Stories! You know you like stories. Movies, TV shows, those articles about celebrities doing bad things that you don’t want to admit you read online. Books contain them too. But in books, you get more detail, more emotion, and you can really experience what the people are going through because you’re seeing the story through their eyes.
9. So many stories! It doesn’t matter what kind of story you like–from space adventures, to romance, to real life–there’s a book for that. Star Wars fans, there are Star Wars books with more stories than you’ll find in the movies. Love The Notebook? Well, that was a book before it was even a movie. And real life is explored in so many great books, like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, GONE GIRL, and one of my favorites, ELEANOR & PARK.
8. Real real-life stories! Yeah, that celebrity who did bad things probably talks about it in a book–and in much more detail. Autobiographies are one of those genres that never go out of style, especially when the book is about a celebrity. My husband is a big fan of this category of books. He’s read about the lives of musicians like Motley Crue, actor turned Governator Arnold Schwarznegger, American Sniper soldier Chris Kyle, Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs, and Sonny Barger, the man who started Hell’s Angels. Varied and interesting stories from all kinds of different people.
7. Making a good impression at the watercooler. Sure, when someone asks if you saw the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you can explain your love of dragons and the badass women with white hair who control them. But isn’t it more impressive if you can say that you’ve read the books and fill in all the gaps in the stories that the show has left out?
6. Impressing people even more with your head-full of knowledge. A bunch of friends of mine write non-fiction picture books, and while they’re written with young readers in mind, they’re just as fascinating as most adult non-fiction books I’ve read. And the best part is, I can quickly discover amazing real-life stories I’d never heard of before and would never have known if it wasn’t for the book. Like the horse who was taught to do math and spell, the thousands of kids who voluntarily went to jail to fight for civil rights, and the World War I battleships that were painted in patterns to trick the enemy.
5. Better habits for dealing with people. Let’s face it, other people can be hard to deal with sometimes, and you might find yourself in a situation that you’re not sure how to handle. Books help with that. That give us mirrors to our own lives, with stories about people just like us going through similar situations. When they come out fine on the other side, it gives us hope that we can do the same, and we might even be able to pick up a tool or two to use in our own lives. Books also help put us in the heads of people who aren’t like us at all, but seeing the world through their eyes helps us understand what they’re going through so we can be more understanding. A lot of peace around the world can come from reading books.
4. Free entertainment!! Yes, this one deserves two exclamation points. Get yourself a library card, and you’ll have a whole universe-full of stories to read absolutely free. Print books, e-books, audiobooks (yep, they count as reading), all these are available for free at your library. And you might think it’s a bit strange for an author to say go read books for free since I’m hoping people will buy my books so I can keep writing more. But I didn’t become an author to make millions of dollars. There’s only a handful of authors who make that much, and a few more who earn enough to support their family without relying on another job. Writers like me write because we’re driven to, but the most important thing for us is that you want to read what we write. So yes, go out and read every book you can get your hands on at the library. And when you find stories you really love, tell someone else about them.
3. Reducing stress. That’s right. Yoga, meditation, running is all good for keeping down stress, but when you can’t do those things, pick up a book (or even when you can). Studies show that reading relaxes the body and mind. Even with those page-turner books like GONE GIRL where you have to stay up way too late to find out what happens at the end, books allow your mind to rest and regroup reducing your stress.
2. Preventing Alzheimers and Dementia. Reading isn’t a cure-all (although as you can see from this list, it’s pretty close), but studies have shown that stimulating your brain can slow and perhaps even prevent these types of degenerative brain disorders. And the best type of brain stimulation? You got it: Reading! (You could play chess or do puzzles too, but then you wouldn’t get to read all those great stories.)
And the number one reason you want to read a book (or at least, part of a book) every day is…
1. Reading will make you smarter. That’s right. Some of the smartest people in the world say they got that way because they read. People like finance genius Warren Buffet, computer innovator Bill Gates, uber-successful businessman Mark Cuban, and even that guy who brought us the Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk. Don’t believe me? Here’s the Huffington Post’s article about the Reading Habits of Ultra-Successful People. And if you don’t believe them, how about Einstein? He said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
So there you have it, 10 reasons why you should make every day Read a Book Day. And if you want some suggestions on what to read next, have a look at my Read and Want-To-Read lists on Goodreads. (While you’re there, hit the Follow Author button and you can keep up with what I’m reading next.)
What are you reading?