Here’s the short answer: because “read more books” includes basically every other resolution people typically put on their lists.
For example, reading books helps you…
Boost creativity. Unlike, say, movies or TV shows, when you read a book, the author is letting you in on the creative process. Sure, the words on the page give you details about what the setting looks like or the expression on a character’s face, but you have to paint the scene in your mind and hear the tone of voice in your head. Think about that for a second. Your brain can translate words—random marks on a page—into concepts and ideas that you make into a full story by adding your experiences and beliefs and visions of the characters. Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?
Be more empathetic. Let’s be honest: we like ourselves a lot. We also tend to like people who are similar to us. That’s because we understand ourselves better than anyone else, and we sort of understand people who are similar to us, and understanding others is the key to caring about them. This, I think, is one of the huge benefits to fiction. Novels take us inside the minds and worlds of people who are often very different from us—different historical eras and cultures, different personalities, different ways of looking at the world—and challenge us to understand them anyway…and cheer them on. (Except in the case of villains, but you get the idea.)
Keep your heart active. Maybe you think I’m talking about reading a book while on the treadmill or listening to a novel in audio form as you train for a marathon. No, that’s not actually what I mean. (Although if you’re crazy…I mean, dedicated…enough to read while exercising, don’t let me stop you!) I was thinking more of all those pulse-pounding romantic moments or suspenseful page-turners that keeps the tension high. Both are great ways to make sure your heart is in good working order.
Spend more time with family. Because you didn’t specify your own family, right? Fictional families count! (Totally joking. Or…mostly joking.) But really, there are approximately a million studies about how reading is important for kids’ development in nearly every area, and that parents who read with and around their kids set an example. So gather around and make reading a family activity!
Travel the world. Fiction or nonfiction, you can learn many fascinating details about other cultures, historical landmarks, and tourist destinations by reading a book. Not as much as actually visiting, of course, but since most of us don’t have the time and money to get all the passport stamps we’d like, and since none of us own time machines (unless someone is holding out on me), it’s the next best thing.
Eat more vegetables. Okay…so I can’t find a way to make this one work. I have found that carrots are a much neater snack to munch on while reading than ice cream. Whether it’s tastier…well…that’s debatable.
Here’s a final reason to add “Read books” to your 2016 To-Do list: it’s kind of nice to have one thing on the list you know you’ll be able to check off.
If you’re looking for suggestions for what to actually read, here are our January Bethany House releases, which I’d highly recommend. There’s something here for everyone! Click on a cover to read an excerpt.
Risen: the Novelization of the Major Motion Picture by Angela Hunt
Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
With This Ring? by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears
Undaunted Hope by Jody Hedlund
A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason
What are you most excited to start reading in 2016?