Now chances are, if you read my blog, you like to read. So I know I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I just finished teaching a summer SAT prep class today, and the #1 thing I tell my students is to READ. If you don’t read, start, and if you do read, do it more! Nothing makes me sadder than when I ask people, “What’s your favorite book?” and they say, “I don’t know.” Not in a “I don’t know, because there’s so many to choose from!” kind of way, but in a “I don’t know, because the last things I read were the headlines of TMZ and the nutritional facts on my Cheerios box” kind of way.
So if you’re not equally as depressed as I am by the lack of bookworms in our world, here’s some reasons why you should read the good stuff:
- You learn new words. Do you know what a coquette is? How about a misanthropist? Has anyone called you bonny, ignoble, lachrymose, or sanguine? If you think I’m just making words up right now, then your vocab could use some work. I learned all these terms while reading Wuthering Heights a few years ago–and yes, before you ask, I kept a running list of all the words I didn’t know and looked them up in the dictionary. The document is still on my computer, ready whenever I need a quick review. Nerdy? Yes, but you’re just jaundiced.
- You learn about history. I never remember historical events like I remember the authors who wrote about them. Ancient Greece? Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. Victorian England? Dickins. 1920s? Hemingway and Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t understand the Renaissance or the World Wars nearly as much if it wasn’t for my connection to the stories representing them.
- You learn about true emotion. If you think “The Bachelor” is an accurate representation of true love, then you are a pitiful human being. The literary classics are classic precisely because their themes are just as important now as they were back then. I’m a big crybaby, and no star-crossed lovers can match Catherine and Heathcliff, or Newland and Countess Olenska. No pain is more heart-wrenching than in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. You can’t even say you know what a woman scorned looks like until you read Medea. So if you’re one of those people who gets their drama fix from Jerry Springer, this blog is not for you.
Naturally, there are dozens more reasons out there, but it’s getting late, and I’d rather just let you add to the list! What did I leave out?
Oh, and if you thought I’d give you the definitions of those words, sorry! That would take all the fun out of it! Now get off your butt, grab a book, and READ!!!