Why read?


     I was doing laundry today and thinking, why do I have books as a major accessory in every room of the house?  What do I get out of reading?  And I thought: COMPASSION.  Every book I read grows compassion in me for people who are nothing like me; makes me tender, more vulnerable, more prone to mercy. It’s also why I encourage my children to read, because something I say may not get through to them, but something they read may do that very thing. I encourage my children to read positive, creative and developmentally-appropriate material.
Of course, there is the secondary benefit of being entertained by something someone else worked super-hard to create. I like supporting the arts, both theoretically and literally, and Brad and I often go to art galleries or the movies or to see bands. I like to “buy local” as well, and so eagerly anticipate locally writers when they have books that are published. I have two friends and two relatives who have written their own books, I think that’s so amazing!
A tertiary benefit is education about a topic or theme. Sometimes a certain topic, author, or moment in time will grab my attention, and I will read everything I can find about it. I will walk away feeling that I learned something that I didn’t know, and will anticipate being able to share that with Brad on one of our date nights.
Last but not least is the aspect of self-care. Besides eating right and not being a couch potato all winter, reading a good book that challenges me and takes me out of my comfort zone is a way to “treat” myself, to exercise my brain, and to refuse to limit myself to a standard set of ideas or notions. There have been a few books that didn’t match up with my value system and made me flat-out uncomfortable, and it’s okay to take those books back to the library, I don’t feel guilty about that. I always ask myself the “what” of the discomfort and make the decision based on that answer. If it’s something that would dishonor my self by continuing the read, it goes out to the door.
Support your local library today! And every once in awhile, purposefully pick a book by an author you have never heard of, or a title that doesn’t ring a bell. You may be pleasantly surprised!