We know we are supposed to eat a well balanced diet of food for the health of our bodies, but what about reading a well balanced diet of books for the health of our brains? Read on to find out my recommendations for a well balanced (reading) diet…
Books are good for the brain. Believe it or not, reading anything will create new wrinkles in your brain because you are being presented with new information and your brain is having to work (by reading the words, connecting the meaning in your brain, and remembering plots, characters, places, etc.) to obtain that information. Frankly, a workout’s a workout for the average Jane; whether I run, swim, do yoga, or surf; as long as I’m moving my body enough to stay in shape – I’m reaching reaching my goal. Same with books for the average reader.
Reading for entertainment and for knowledge are equally important. We all know that life can’t be all work or all play. Same thing with books. If all you read are entertaining books, you are selling yourself short by not experiencing all of the amazing things that can be learned in book form. Books are capable of expounding on ideas in ways that news programs and movies aren’t able to. On the contrary, if you poo-poo people who read entertaining books because you think reading is only for learning, I’m afraid you have missed the amazing pleasures that books can bring. Escaping into different lands and lives is one of the most magical parts of reading. Not doing so would be like staying at home all the time and never going on a fun/ relaxing vacation. Can reading be entertaining and knowledge gaining at the same time? In my opinion, it most often is!
Reading (auto)biographies and memoirs can be therapeutic. Getting an honest glimpse into another person’s life can often help you understand yourself better. Seeing how they react to certain situations might help you to see how you react to similar circumstances because you will (most likely) be evaluating what you read, which in turn often helps you to evaluate how you react to what you are reading. It can be helpful to see that other people react to situations in the same way you do, and what’s even more helpful is when they react in a way you would like to react. Having these examples can be useful for your own growth (as well as entertaining!)
Self-Help can help you. Before you skip to the next idea, just take a moment to browse the self help section of your favorite online store (or a physical store, but it you were ready to pass over this section of the post – my guess is you don’t frequent that aisle on your book store trips). Remember that books can be incredibly beneficial in this area because they offer a certain amount of privacy to work through something that you need help with but may not be ready to bring up to a friend, loved one, or therapist.
Books connect people. Ever stuck for conversation at a cocktail party? Business event? First date (or date with your partner of 40 years for that matter)? Talk about the latest interesting book you read! Obviously you don’t want to talk about How to Make Love Like a Porn Star at your business function, but maybe the latest Andrew Ross Sorkin book? (Another example of why reading for entertainment and knowledge is a good idea.) Not to mention all of the cool bookish people you can meet online via sites like Twitter and GoodReads, or through a book club with friends or acquaintances.
Do you have a balanced reading agenda? Share with others below some of the reasons or ways that you keep your (reading) diet balanced.