Read a book this fall

Gray Hughes
Hill City Prevailer News editor

Reading is an important part of my life.

The reason why I became an English major in college? So I could read and write papers on what I read.

But too many people — especially in my generation and the generation below me — don’t read.

Reading is, perhaps, one of the best ways to spend a day. If you read a book in an entire day and say that you wasted the day, I would argue the opposite. You enriched yourself by reading, and enriching yourself is not wasting a day.

Yet many my age don’t get that. They’re too glued to their screens — be it a laptop, tablet, TV or phone. I’m guilty of it, too. It’s hard to come home after a day of reading and writing at work and then pick up a book.

When I was a kid, I used to read for at least an hour before bed every night. Among my favorites were the “Harry Potter” books and the Tolkien books — especially the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

As I grew older, I started to read more of the classics. I don’t know if that’s because the classics were all I was reading because that’s what I was studying in school, but to this day I struggle to pick up a book, play or collection of poems not by Shakespeare, Yeats, Hemingway, Faulkner, Emerson, Thoreau or the Romantic poets of England.

Those days, though, where I was more interested in a fantasy land than reality, were the days before I had a cellphone (and honestly I enjoyed reading more then because the subject matter was more interesting, but I digress). Now I find myself mindlessly scrolling Instagram or Twitter before bed. And I hate it.

By all measures, reading is one of the most important things one can do with their time — and their lives.

According to an article on, reading daily has been linked to better mental stimulation, stress reduction, increasing knowledge, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement and more.

I’m pretty sure these are things that all of us need in our lives.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are, in the United States alone, an estimated 5.8 million people with the disease.

Doing activities such as reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other mind exercises have been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Reading, though (at least for me), is the most beneficial out of all of these mind stimulating activities.

A big reason for us to read more is the stress-reducing factor that reading plays. Picture this: it’s a weekend in mid-November, it’s a chilly, breezy 42 degrees outside, you have a fire going and you are reading a book while drinking a cup of tea.

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a perfect stress-relieving activity.

And yes, I realize that is strictly anecdotal evidence of the stress-releasing power of reading, but think to yourself for a second—which would lower your stress more, watching something on TV (either a TV show or a movie), scrolling through social media on your phone or reading a book by your favorite author. I know which one I’m picking.

Reading words on a page is a much more intimate way of experiencing someone else’s thoughts. Watching it play out on a TV is just lazy.

When you pick up a book, you are creating the opportunity to make the scenes yourself through the author’s words. It gives you a better glimpse into the author’s frame of mind, and sometimes it sounds like the author is narrating the book themselves in your head.

I realize we live in a world where all of the information in the world is just a click of the mouse or a tap of the screen away. It’s easy not to get information from books anymore.

But answer me this: is it more beneficial to read the Wikipedia entry on John Adam’s life? Or read David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography on the same person? Which one of these two would expand your mind and increase your knowledge on a topic the most?

Once again, I know which one I am picking.

And speaking of increasing one’s knowledge, where is one most likely to learn new words? For me, reading a book is what helped expand my vocabulary.

Like I said, though, I could heed my own advice. I understand why so many people today do not read. We work tiring jobs, and for many people picking up a book at the end of the day sounds like an exhausting task.

But fall is here. If you said there was a season more conducive to reading than fall, I would strongly have to disagree with you.

Fall in and of itself is perfect for reading. The days are shorter, it’s often too cold to go outside but there’s no snow on the ground so you cannot do outdoor winter activities and school is back in session. It has been several years since I have been in school, but when this time of year comes around I just find myself craving knowledge once again like when I was younger.

So this fall, pick up a book. Read a book. Try to stay off Facebook. Let yourself be transported to some far off, wonderful place or expand your knowledge on a topic on which you have been meaning to learn more.

There’s no better time than now.


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