November 30th, 2020

We’ve all been told about the importance of reading, but many of us feel like we barely have time to sit for a full meal, much less to pull out a book. As obligations increase and time does not, reading becomes the least of our priorities. So, how important is reading? And what types of books are the best?

How important is reading, really?

The short answer is—very. Reading is regularly linked to physical and mental health benefits. Studies have shown that the act of sitting down with a book (not work-related) lowers blood pressure/heartrate, reduces symptoms of depression, and decreases stress.

These reasons are all great, but reading keeps your mind healthy, too. There is a suggested correlation between consistent reading and increased memory. As a result, it’s been hypothesized that these benefits could reduce age-related cognitive decline. The younger you start reading, the more you’ll reap the benefits. That being said, it’s never too late to start.

What should I be reading?

There is no right answer here. Read anything and everything. Expand your mind. Many people think that reading is for gaining knowledge, and therefore you should only read non-fiction. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Fiction readers show higher emotional intelligence (EQ). This means they are more likely to interpret social cues correctly, demonstrate increased empathy, and practice critical thinking. Psychologists believe this is due to fiction presenting diverse and sympathetic viewpoints, forcing audiences to flex their emotional muscles

Non-fiction titles aren’t any less important. Self-help books and memoirs offer great opportunities for reflection and improvement. Newspapers keep us connected to our world, and scholarly articles can improve reading comprehension and breadth of knowledge.

Basically, both fiction and non-fiction have their place, depending on what it is you want to get out of your time.

So, what does this mean for me?

Read! Read what you love. Read something new. Take recommendations from friends, coworkers, or that random guy who always brings a book onto the bus. The important thing is to keep reading.

If you need a place to start, or are merely looking for something new, check out these suggestions by The Book Break team!