I got a fun email in from Goodreads informing me "World Book Day is a global celebration of reading, authors, and books, recognized in more than 100 countries worldwide. Our colleagues at Amazon have created special landing pages for various countries to highlight World Book Day this week. Check out the ones for the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., or find the one that's local to you.
We hope you will join in this celebration by sharing why you #LovetoRead. From April 17 to 23, post about why you #LovetoRead on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same! (This campaign is not related to Amazon or Goodreads)."
There are so many supposed Book Days, and some people get a bit tetchy about them (Mainly because "it's not official") but to me, every day should be World Book Day. That's why I post so often celebrating and sharing books! It's basically what my whole online existence is all about. If I were to stop being an author (heaven forbid) I would still post about my passion for books.
Why? Well, for one, books were an integral part of my childhood. My mother read to me and fostered a love of reading. We still exchange books, even as adults! I passed that same love and passion on to my children, reading together every night. Even though they are now teens, we will read a book together (as long as they can stand to wait. My boys are the whale readers I was in my youth! They finish whole books in a day. I miss when I could do that!)
But reading is about more than just connecting my family. Reading is about connecting worlds. There was an interesting article published that showed that readers are much more open-minded, and more empathetic, than non-readers. Even with Movie goers, and video gamers (who also get immersed in "story") there is not that same development. I have wondered about this. It isn't just the stories of different people being shared, because if that were the case, then we would see similar test results in those who are actively involved in seeing other stories. So what is it about reading specifically?
I think that it's because we get to see the internal workings of other minds in a way that movies and games can't really explore. Seeing how other people arrive at their decisions helps us to understand how they can be different, do things we do not agree with, but still be relate-able.
Nowhere is this more beautifully portrayed than in Speculative Fiction. Authors of Speculative Fiction have so much freedom to really address societal issues in a safe and nonthreatening double layer of Fiction and Make Believe that Contemporary, Romance, and even Thrillers just can't quite reach.
And it is in those worlds where anything can happen, where the readers have complete permission to believe anything, that real hard issues can be explored and picked apart without anyone's world view being threatened. When a reader doesn't feel that their world view is in danger, then they have the freedom to study that abstract world view and become more accepting.
It makes me sad to see reports like This one from Pew Research in 2015, that shows the number of readers dropping. Or this figure which showed that few people read multiple books each year. The fact that most people who don't read are less educated, or make less money, also breaks my heart. Why? Because I grew up poor. We rarely had money for things like going out to eat, going to the movies, going on vacations. But reading was integral to who we were. I learned so much of the world through books. And thanks to libraries, anyone can read. Reading is something that shouldn't be seen as an Elitist activity. It is, in my mind, integral to creating thoughtful, caring human beings.
Whether you want to escape, or to educate yourself, need pleasure, or to learn about other worlds, a book can take you there. And there are so many benefits you get along the way.
Why do you love to read? Share in the comments below.