reading my height in books: why the challenge?

In January 2012, I decided to challenge myself to read the equivalent of my height in books (5’5) by the end of the year. After each book I wrote a personal review and slowly began to pile them higher, resulting in a stack up to my hip by June. I found that the challenge not only encouraged me to read more but also made it fun to have something to do with the book afterwards: take a picture, write a review, and see how much of a difference it made in height. 

I have compiled a brief list of some of the top three reasons why I think reading is beneficial:

1. It’s sexy and you know it

While looking down at your phone in public is a very exclusive experience and warrants no interruption, reading a book is very inclusive. You are inviting people to get a glimpse into your personality based on what you are reading, and the fact that you are reading at all. Reading a book demonstrates that you have a desire to learn. There is no doubt that books can spark excellent conversations and easily become a topic on which two strangers can openly relate. So not only does reading a book make you look smart, but it also quickly serves as a filter between the “why are you reading?” and “what are you reading?” type of people. 

2. Flip pages not channels

While turning on the TV for another hour of “You are…not the father” seems like the most plausible way to pass the time, how about getting cozy, making that same bowl of extra buttery popcorn, and being slightly less useless. 

3. This message brought to you by your brain

Reading helps improve concentration and focus (that is if you don’t stop every time your phone beeps) and like a muscle, will only get stronger with more use. We have all heard the saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” and memory is no exception to this truth. Reading requires the recollection of details, facts, plot lines, and dialogue; all while exercising the imagination in order to create and recall scenery and characters. Exposing your mind to new ideas and a diversity of details helps develop the creative side of the brain and improve the thinking process.