7 Reasons to Read a Novel:
Here at the Digest we are firm believers in the “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” concept. Here’s 7 reasons to read a novel and a few great suggestions from the staff:
Boost your brain connectivity.
Like something out of The Twilight Zone, volunteers of a 2013 Atlanta study had their brains scanned before, during and after reading a novel. The results revealed heightened responsiveness to language, sense of touch, and embodiment. Good books stay with us on a cognitive level, and now there’s proof of their more biological effects. Read more about this study at Jeremy Dean’s PsyBlog.
Become a better writer.
You may not know it, but as you read you are learning new techniques and devices to use in your own writing. One of my creative writing professors used to say, “Listen twice as much as you speak, and read twice as much as you write.” Savor each tidbit of information while reading, they will come in handy the next time you pick up a pen or your MacBook.
The next time you feel stressed, pick up a good softback and force yourself to read for 15 minutes. The simple colors of the pages combined with good characterization will take your mind away from your troubles — and you just might not want to stop.
Make empathy easier.
Nothing says vicarious experience quite like a good novel. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch says it all: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." If you want to get in touch with your compassionate side, read a novel.
Expand your vocabulary.
The more you read in life, the more you’ll catch yourself using new words during conversations. Don’t be intimidated by unfamiliar language (Google is your best friend), reading it will only make you sound more intelligent.
Improve your performance at work.
Aside from working out those memory muscles, you’re examining character behavior when you read a novel. This will improve your analytical skills and ability to understand everyone’s motives. If you’re like myself and find it difficult to concentrate at work, reading can actually enhance your brain’s ability to absorb information.
Expose yourself to new ways of life.
You may not want to befriend any of the characters in a Charles Dickens novel, but you’ll enjoy reading about them. Reading will give you a greater perception of life’s mysteries. Step outside of your comfort zone and learn about how things are done in another country, in foreign culture, on a different planet, etc.
Need some suggestions? Here are some of the Digest staff’s favorite titles:
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
A classic never goes out of style. You could read it for the book’s structure alone, which is just about perfect. But the story of a murdered Kansas family and their killers also happens to be fascinating — and very, very creepy.
Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
I love this book because McCarthy's language has a biblical quality that fills you with dread and awe. Very violent and not for the faint of heart. If you can make it through this book, it will haunt you for some time after.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
It was the only book that I was assigned for summer reading in high school that I actually enjoyed, and then read again for fun. I also recommended it to my mom to read. Good job, Teaneck High School.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling
The 7th book in the Harry Potter series is pure genius. Everything connects back to the previous books. All loose ends are tied up — even the tiniest details that you didn't think had any meaning in the first books end up playing a role in the conclusion of the story.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
This has always been a favorite novel of mine because it is an interesting examination of the human mind. And Chief is the man.
Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
This is a story of a smart, savvy, independent woman who takes charge of her life in New York City in the late 1930s. I enjoyed the history of what the city was like during that era, and I related to the challenges of a young woman surviving on her own in pursuit of her own happiness.
The plot of this book is where optimism and pessimism duke it out for supremacy. Satire, plot twists and more satire.
Photo credits: Amazon.com