Do you enjoy reading? If so, what is your preference? Fiction or Nonfiction?

Of course, if your answer to the initial question was in the negative, then you are missing out on untold treasures. In the words of 18th century English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician, Joseph Addison: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

In other words, if your entire reading experience is limited to social media spew-age, you may become mentally obese and flabby. The same thing happens to your body if you are an inert slug. A flabby body and a flabby mind is mankind’s downfall.

Those “purist” readers who refuse to waste their time reading fiction show a profound ignorance when it comes to the care and feeding of their minds and their souls. The readers of nonfiction often gravitate to “Self Help” books. But you if notice, for all the self-improvement books they claim to read and revere, those people do not seem to change. On the plus side, they are reading.

For example, if a person wants or needs to build and grow their business, many Self Help books can be a stepping stone toward that goal. However, if after they read countless books but their business continues to struggle year after year, then they are well and truly lost. The reasons for a business’s stagnant condition could be: (i) they were unable to grasp any of the improvement concepts; (ii) they needed to blame their failure to perform and succeed on something other than themselves, or (iii) they may lack the ability or desire to implement new ideas.

If you limit your reading to only non-fiction, you will never experience nor have a chance to savor the power and beauty of your language, no matter what that language may be. Only poetry and works of fiction allow the writer to bend and shape each word to his or her will and make it shine. In other words, the hand, heart, and soul of each writer shape the language.

Avid readers have larger vocabularies than non-readers or folks who only read on rare occasions. People who possess and utilize a sizable vocabulary can also make life easier for themselves and others as well.

For example, after our son attended the university for a few weeks, he phoned home, more than likely asking for more funds as college students tend to do. But then his tone turned serious. “Mom, I want to thank you for talking the way you do, I have no problem understanding my professors.” See. Big words and a healthy vocabulary are useful. Who would have expected our bouncing baby boy to drop that surprising comment in the course of a normal ET-phone-home conversation?

Reading helps you achieve your dreams and broadens your horizons. You can travel anywhere in this world or off-planet, if that suits your fancy. Fairy tales do come true. Some in more twisted ways than the whitewashed Americanized and sterilized versions children hear. The European version of most fairy tales are more, shall we say realistic or even brutal.

There is nothing like browsing for hours in bookstores, real or online, to find books that resonate.

If your common source for books happens to be Amazon, you may notice the reviews. Do not skip this section and make sure you read the five star and the lowest star rating for every book you consider buying.

Entertainment abounds among the reviews. For one thing, the readers seldom agree. Where one group of readers writes glowing reviews, others focus on the poor editing and lobotomy-inducing misuse of words. Quite often, the readers who complained about grammatical errors misspell words in their reviews. Since people’s taste in reading as in everything else is personal, the reviews are both a guide and cheap entertainment as well.

Remember, every time you read a book, visualize all those little brain cells doing calisthenics and building mental muscles. Keep reading and fight mental flab.

 

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