Hey, there! I'm Sarah A. Chrisman, the author of the Tales of Chetzemoka, and today I'm going to talk to you about why everyone should be reading more books.
Books are the best way I know to travel through time and space. Books will take you vast distances and expand your worldview.
Film and video are limited to showing you the world as a flat picture, but the descriptions in books engage all your senses and put you right in the middle of the action.
Not only do books take you on adventures, but they make you think and consider important things and engage deeply with information in ways that hyperbolic internet articles never can. The internet world is all about snappy headlines and superlatives, and black and white thinking that promotes short attention spans. There have been a lot of really interesting studies in neuroscience and information acquisition that have shown that the human brain actually engages differently with information seen online than it does with information in physical books. Not only do these two different behaviors actually engage different parts of the brain, but studies have also shown that when someone reads something on a screen the tendency is to just scan the material and grab out key words, whereas with a physical book people are more likely to read the material carefully and actually consider it in-depth.
At the same time, another thing to consider is that we are a social species, and nothing is as contagious as example. Every time someone sees someone else reading a physical book, that very act is an advertisement for that particular book and therefore a way to help the author of that book earn a living in a field where that can be really challenging. On the other hand, when someone sees someone else spending their free time on a digital device, it's an advertisement for the corporation that made that device.
Books lead to other books. At the end of each of my Tales of Chetzemoka, I include appendices that list sources of information that led to that particular book. The reason I take the trouble to include these is that I always hope that my readers will use them as reading lists go off and learn more about the topics covered in the story. You can use the bibliographies of non-fiction books in a similar way, and in fact that's how I find a lot of my sources. Even if a book doesn't spoon-feed you a reading list in this way, you can still open doors of new research through it. Just keep a list of names, dates, and events that the book introduced you to, and you'll be all set to go exploring.
I keep an ever-growing set of notebooks where I write down things I've gleaned from my antique books: things the books have taught me, concepts they've brought up, ideas I want to research more fully, and good quotes that have spoken to me in some way. When I read re-printed or new books, I'll often jot down my notes right on the pages, and this marginalia sort of becomes a private conversation with the author.
It's useful to keep your personal library organized in such a way that you can always find a given book when you want to refer to it. This will make things a lot easier on you when you want to cross-check or refer back to something you've already read, and when it's easier you'll do it more and more often until it becomes second nature. Your organization scheme doesn't have to make sense to anyone else; as long it makes sense to you and you can find what you need when you need them, that's what matters. Personally, I arrange my books by subject because that's what's most convenient for me.
When I was young there was a poster on the wall of our local library that had a poem I'll never forget. It went: "The more you read, the more you know/ The more you know, the smarter you grow/ The smarter you grow, the louder your voice/ When speaking your mind or making your choice."
Reading helps all of us comprehend the world around us better and engage really deeply with the decisions we make every day, and that's how we all truly change the world.
So go out there and engage deeply with your reading! And don't forget to tell your friends about my books while you're at it. Happy reading!