Why Read?

This is a response to these two articles, both of which discuss, like last week’s post, the benefit and/or purpose of reading.

First of all, I much prefer Parks’s article because it automatically assumes that we read for a purpose, whatever that purpose may be. However, it seems to me that Parks end up preferring older books, giving unsatisfactory reasons as to the value of reading contemporary literature. For me, as a writer, I have to believe that new books have value. Each generation deserves to have a culture of their own, and literature is a hugely important part of that culture. Of course it’s important to read classics because they give us a glimpse into a past society, and that’s exactly why new books should be read and written—future Americans should be able to look back on us and how we lived.

Siegel’s article is, to put it gently, infuriating. Siegel talks about a study that shows that reading literature sharply increases empathy. You would think this is a good thing, but Siegel seems to disagree, saying that empathy is also the mark of sociopaths. Are you serious? The basis of Siegel’s argument is that he doesn’t want literature to serve a measurable purpose—it should be an accepted leisure activity. My question: why can’t it be both? Why can’t some relaxing activity also affect a positive change in those who undertake it?


1 Comment

  1. Reading is so important. It is definitely something that relaxes you. It is a de-stresser. Some studies suggest that it can reduce stress up to 68%. And reading will totally create a positive change.c. The US justice department states that “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” 70% of the prisoners in American prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level. It is amazing how criminal activity, can be correlated with something as simple as reading.
    And Laura Schocker (A writer for the Huntington post) states that a study by the institute of health and well being finds that reading self-help books was linked with lower levels of depression.

    Then, a study by the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center found that the risk of Alzheimer’s was decreased by 47% in participants who read books, newspapers, and played puzzle games.

    More and more studies are now showing the importance for adults to enjoy reading. It helps to improve skills, while increasing enjoyment, self-confidence, and motivation.

    So,why would people want to read! it has amazing benefits.

    Your response is great!
    Good writing 🙂


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