How Not To Be An Arsehole #1: Read

tumblr_m7isgkEL3A1rnvzfwo1_1280World Book night was on Thursday – an event run by The Reading Agency to inspire people to become confident and enthusiastic readers by giving away free books – so it felt prudent to talk about how reading can make you less of an arsehole. Just to clarify, this is not about Proust, Dostoevsky or Kafka or any particular author for that matter. It is simply about the act of reading.

It is odd how a certain stigma has become attached to literature. Reading is often deemed uncool or elitist, which may be due to presumed or even genuine snobbery (I despise those who refuse books based on author, genre or publishing date), but literature should be a unifying form of entertainment. In the UK we all have access to libraries and education after all…well, except for those who had their libraries closed down and their education disrupted and diluted with various failings in regulations and laws. Thanks, Tories.

But say you were able to read and had access to a book: how can reading better humanity?

 

It Strengthens Verbal Abilities

Reading has been proven to help develop the skills required to express oneself in a articulate and understandable manner. The ability to verbalise ones thoughts and feelings is satisfying and helps with progression in all aspects of life, yet the way we interact with the internet demonstrates how so many lack the skills to form and voice coherent opinions. Spend two minutes looking at YouTube comments and you will be provided with a lifetime of evidence.

Develops Concentration

Reading is like running, the more you do it the better you are at it – and the more you can focus on other tasks and activities as well. Unlike running, however, you won’t eventually obtain an enviable physique.

Perspective

Readers are continuously confronted with differing characters and worlds. Although you may not need to understand and relate to the political persuasions of an elf, for instance, it will help you to understand and appreciate dissimilarities in your fellow man. Or woman, obviously.

Imagination

Reading feeds the imagination, but this doesn’t just mean making stuff up. We need an imagination to be able to visualise outcomes and consider various scenarios in order to make decisions…which applies to everything. From what to have for dinner to who to vote into power, we need to be able to imagine the outcome.

Reduces Stress

It has been proven that reading significaintly reduces stress levels, and less stress means you’re less likely to be an arsehole. Stress affects us physiologically as well as psychologically, impeding on our ability to function efficiently, logically and fairly. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%

 

If you also believe reading is important (and if you’re reading this blog it’s highly likely that you do) then there are many amazing charities you could support to get more children and adults into reading. You don’t just have to give money either. Click any of the links below to be taken to the charity web pages or click here to read more about how you can get involved with World Book Night 2016.

Reading Agency

Books Trust

National Literacy Trust

Give a Book

Book Aid International

Emily created Dystopic in July 2012 after requiring an outlet for her love of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. She is currently working on her debut novel ‘These Unnatural Men’ to be published in 2017.

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