It’s not too uncommon to read blog after blog, listen to educators, lecturers and so-called experts in this field or another, and consume mountains of “research”. ‘Research suggests’ and ‘in a recent study… research allows us to…’ but the thing that truly matters when investigating the benefits of learning is one’s ability to love.
Books offer so much without ever asking anything in return. For its words act as a path into the unknown, its pages as a gateway to new pictures, words and sounds, all willingly being offered for your very own acquisition and regurgitation. The themes and messages seek relatability and its plot lines mesmerise our very idea of reality. When we learn to read, great things happen- “research” will tell us this; the vocabulary strengthens, the brain activates neural pathways stimulating both creativity and a worldly comprehension, so that we can better operate and navigate this complicated planet. “Research” suggests reading entices independent thought and prompts a heightened social skillset. It also concludes that from reading, one can access information in a way that imparts knowledge, hence leading us to a certain social status and bring about a scholarly opportunity into the future. This is all perceived as superior in some subconscious hierarchy, but why?
There is, however, an overarching all-conquering skill we gain from reading which we often take for granted, and inherently think comes naturally: the ability to love. “Research” suggests… well actually it doesn’t, but we know it happens. In every sense of the experience of reading.
Reading should be seen as a fun and enjoyable experience. It promotes story-telling at its finest. And storytelling, as part of our make-up, has enlightened love through the ages. Heck, you don’t even need the ability to read to tell a great yarn and people have been idolising story tellers since before books were even invented. But why does reading offer us such an authentic chance to love? Let’s indulge.
Firstly, reading is best done when with someone else. This experience alone can form the best basis of love and all of its might. Whilst the rest of the world indulges in self-obsessed whitewash, we listen intently to another; we watch for cues in a mood, tempo, and drama with adoration and best yet, we soak in all that is within a book through the eyes of another. We subconsciously learn to do all of these things filled with love. Together you learn to love the reading experience and overwhelmingly learn to love. Full stop.
Next, we unknowingly fall for our characters. There’s nothing quite like that unattainable protagonist within the pages of a book. We love their mannerism, their look and their confidence. We know they are not necessarily real but we tumble head over heels nevertheless. Without ever leaving the safety of this bubble in which we read, a never-ending addiction takes its course. Characters of every walk of life on earth (and beyond) are depicted right before our very eyes. Even the ones we hate, we love. For these special characters offer us a chance to forgive and understand that no two people are truly the same. We learn pain, resilience and triumph. We become a better person through the love of books. Then, as the book slams to a halt, our hearts shatter in need for more.
Lastly, books hide away values and life messages, sometimes innately. ‘Big deal’, you may think. The deal is; reading evokes emotion of all kinds; it makes our heart race when we least expect it and some may even relate to crying from the thoughts that a book’s tale instills in our imagination. Through these messages, we draw out the deepest of raw emotion and thus, learn to love a paperback’s content. Kudos to reading, how special!
So, what are you waiting for, get out and pick up a book? For the love of reading!