by Lincoln Sayger
"Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors."
There are many good reasons to read. Reading helps us relate to the world around us; it helps us learn from the mistakes of others; it lets us see things we can't see where we are and learn about things we don't see in our everyday lives; it lets us explore things that might be or can't be; and it sparks our imaginations. I would like to talk briefly about these last three things in detail, and I hope that I can encourage you to pick up a book today and read!
Reading lets us learn about things we don't see in everyday life and see things we can't see where we are. Instead of travelling around the world at a cost of thousands, we can go to our public library and open a book for free. We can visit exotic locations and see different cultures through books. We can also visit places that we can never visit physically; the places of the past. History's secrets are an open book to the one who reads. In addition to discovering new places, we can also discover new words through reading. A person who reads frequently can enjoy a large vocabulary, which will allow that person to communicate more effectively.
Reading lets us explore things that might be or can't be. Through reading, we can see ourselves as someone else, as something we aren't, or as ourselves the way we want to be. A bedridden patient can see the world or walk through a beautiful forest by reading a good book and applying his or her imagination. Almost all of us are shackled to the earth, but any one of us can explore Mars, Jupiter, or even far distant planets orbiting other stars just by picking up a book. And who knows what kind of machine you will find when you open your mind along with the pages of a book? The possibilities are endless, from devices that let you communicate instantly with someone on the other side of the galaxy to robots that build space stations.
Reading also sparks our imaginations. Many times, I have found the answer to a problem in a book. Often, by reading how someone solved a problem, I can see the solution to a problem I face, whether it is similar to the one in the book or wildly different. Old solutions can reveal new ones. Other times, I'll see something in a book and think "That sounds like a good idea!" Finally, reading sparks our imaginations by urging us to ask, "What if...?"
What if we could travel through time?
What if we could reach the stars?
What if a man discovered a way to travel faster than light?
What if a child were born with purple hair?
What if you inherited something odd and interesting?
What if someone hired you based on an idea?
What if...? What if...? What if...?
"There is no frigate like a book / To take us lands away / Nor any courses like a page / Of prancing poetry." --Emily Dickinson
There are many benefits to reading other than the ability to see things you wouldn't see around here and the broadening of your understanding, but I think these reasons alone are enough of an enticement to read. So, open your mind, open a book, and ask yourself, "What if...?"
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