Harper Collins recently launched a great twitter campaign called #whyIread. It’s filled with funny, thoughtful and sometimes snarky (in a good way) comments on why people love to read. This is the type of twittering I love – combining introspection and books with a dose of quip!
So why do I read? I asked myself this and my first thought was, I’ve always loved to read and write. (Guess that’s why I wrote a book – The Travelers.)
To try to list all the reasons I love to read seems daunting. I don’t know that I could fit it into 140 characters. So to pick just one I would say that it’s because it makes me a better person. (That’s less than 140 characters, right?) I learn about other people and better understand the world through reading.
Does that make me a true “reader”? What defines a true “reader”? Is it OK that I go one to two days without reading because my life gets busy and I have to choose between writing/family/day job/reading/laundry. If that happens am I not a “real” reader? Will they take away my true reader membership card?
How to know if you’re a reader (note: this is not a scientific test.)
I don’t really know what makes a real reader. But, here are 10 traits I think indicate you might be one. (I’m also happy to add to the list if anyone has suggestions!)
- Can’t stop reading even though your rational brain says it’s 2 am and you should go to sleep.
- Think about the book characters and maybe fantasize about putting yourself in the book.
- Have a stack of to-be-read (TBR) books so high it wobbles when you walk by.
- When you read books about how people aren’t allowed to read books you get very upset at the mere idea.
- Can’t leave a bookstore without buying a book.
- Fantasize about finding a job that pays you to just read all the time. (These exist and I’m super jealous of these people!)
- Think about books long after you’ve finished reading them.
- When you close a good book you’re sad it’s over.
- You can’t wait to get home or finish work or finish dinner so you can pick up your book.
- Want to talk with people about what you’ve read and share your excitement about books.
If you got 8 or more on this list, then you’re probably a reader. I’m sure you’re proud of that just because you know books are great. But, there are other reasons it’s great to be a reader.
Here are a few positive traits of people who are “readers.”
Readers are smart.
According to What Reading Does For The Mind by Anne E. Cunningham, readers are more intelligent due to their increased vocabulary and memory skills, along with their ability to spot patterns. They have higher cognitive functions than the average non-reader and can communicate more thoroughly and effectively.
Readers tend to be more successful.
Truly successful people point to books as the reason they are successful.
“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works.”
When asked about the key to his success, Warren Buffett once pointed to a stack of books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
He’s not the only one either. Once when asked how he learned to build rockets, Elon Musk replied “I read books.” I’d say Elon Musk is a pretty successful person. SpaceX and Tesla are just a few things you might know him by.
Readers are apparently the best people to fall in love with.
No joke. It’s scientifically proven! (Sort of). Readers have been shown to have much more empathy for others. According to two studies in 2006 and 2009 , those who read fiction are capable of the most empathy and “theory of mind,” which is the ability to hold opinions, beliefs and interests apart from their own. And if you’re going to fall in love you want to fall in love with someone who can empathize with you and understand you!
Readers make great conversationalists
Readers are more likely to seek out new information and bring that into conversation. They’re also more likely to listen to others and talk to you rather than at you. They like to explore knowledge and thinking, which can make for very interesting conversations. That’s what makes book clubs so great!
If you’re a reader – be proud! If you’re not, don’t worry, all you have to do is pick up a book! Maybe this will entice you to read more!
Check out more articles on why you should be proud to be a reader!