Wednesday Reads: "addiction" edition

(noun) the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity

Hello, my name is Alicia and I’m a book-a-holic. It started out as a simple interest in Dick and Jane and then I moved on to harder stuff like Curious George. Then one morning I woke up with The Scarlet Letter smushed against my face.  A sign that it had been a long night of….reading once again.

Throughout my book-addiction years, friends have questioned my obsession. Why read so much? Why read fiction?  Isn’t non-fiction at least a better use of time? Speaking of time, how do you find time to read? Is there any fiction out there really worth reading? I have a great answer for each of those questions, but it might be better if I put it this way: there six reasons why reading fiction is always a valuable use of your precious time.

Reading fiction…

1. Makes you smarter.   We learn things in books that we may never spend time studying.  For example, Charles Martin’s book When Crickets Cry indirectly teaches his readers about cardio-thoracic surgeons and heart transplantation.  After reading this book, the reader as a greater understanding of not only the scientific element of medically treating the heart, but a deeper emotional understanding of the heart.

  • Beverly Lewis books teach about the ever-intriguing yet simple life of the Amish.
  • John Grisham and James Scott Bell increase a reader’s understanding of the world of courts, trials, lawyers, and defendants.

2. Teaches us to walk in someone else’s shoes.  Now, if you happen to be reading an Ashley Stockingdale novel, those might be Gucci shoes. But seriously, characters in novels have struggles.  Sometimes we understand those struggles and sometimes they are foreign to us.   
However, simply learning about that character benefits us in two ways. First, we can identify with the character that struggles as we do.  We might learn to overcome that struggle because the character does. Or we might learn to accept our struggle and ourselves simply because we find a character to sympathize with.  Secondly, we can gain a better understanding and acceptance of someone who is not like us.  We see into the heart of a character who thinks and acts differently than us, but learn to accept them simply by reading their story. 
(Check out any of Karen Kingsbury’s or Jenny B. Jones’s stories for a chance to identify with a flawed character.) 

3.  Brings us closer to God.  Whether we read Christian fiction or mainstream fiction, character’s stories can make us want to examine our relationship with God. The simplest story can bring a new awareness that will eventually lead to a huge life change.

  • If we struggle with understanding the depths of God’s love for us, read Francis Rivers Redeeming Love. It paints a beautiful yet haunting picture of a love so fierce it’s almost incomprehensible.
  • The Mitford Series by Jan Karon applauds the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives – and in the midst of it all introduces us to a God who meets us daily. 

4. Widens our social circle. Book clubs are EVERYWHERE!  A chance to meet with friends and discuss a book might not sound like an exciting night on the town, but it does offer a chance to strengthen friendships.  In our fast-paced, technologically-distancing world, there a strong need for personal connections.  I met some of my best friends simply because I shared a book with them.  From that point on, we always had something to talk about. The love of a book lead to a love of a new friend.
5. Allows us to escape life (at least for a little while.) Be serious — life is stressful! On those days when I just need a break from my problems or feel overwhelmed with my gigantic to-do list, I read.  I get lost in someone else’ problems. I cheer them on as I turn each page. Even though everything might not turn out rosy, the character survives and reminds me that God will help me survive too.
6. Enables us to endure ESPN. First, I need to give a disclaimer.  I love sports. I watch sports. In fact, during the college football season, I watch a lot of sports. But a girl has her limit, and every so often (especially during baseball season), I just can’t watch another sporting event. If you live with a sports-loving male, you wonder if the television really has other channels since that the only one that is watched.  Instead of complaining and getting frustrated over the amount of sports we endure enjoy in our home, I read. I find a good book, sit down next to the men in our house, and read.  We are together but we both get to do something we love.  Now that’s a win-win situation.


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