Guest Blog: Five Reasons to Read Great Books
This week we’re honored to be joined by Jennifer Lyn King, founder of Great New Books (www.greatnewbooks.org), a new site devoted to sharing their bloggers’ reviews – the catch? They only share the reads their reviewers love. During fiftyfifty.me it’s not uncommon to hit a wall and be unsure of what to read next – Great New Books is your solution to that, so bookmark it! Jennifer and her co-authors at Great New Books have devoted themselves to encouraging others to read. So why do we read? She tells us. – Lilly
My love for books started years ago under the giant shade tree where I read as a child. A certain magic happened the first time I read a book and could not put it down.
You know the feeling, right? You open a book with the intent of passing a bit of time, maybe in a waiting room, or while riding the subway, but somehow, word by word, you get lost inside a story and you don’t want to climb back out.
Those books are the ones where I’m living in the character’s shoes, living through their journey, learning what it is to struggle through their situations and come out on the other side a different person. They’re the ones in which I’m sad to turn the last page and read The End. They’re the books of the most dangerous kind. They stay with us.
Long after I’ve finished a book I can’t put down, the story and the character’s actions turn over in my mind. The meaning comes to find me, haunts me, and teases me until I can fully understand what the book was about.
A great book and its meaning do not let the reader go. I call those books unputdownable, if that can be a real word. To me, it is the mark of a great book, and of books I love.
A few books I read, or start and don’t finish, don’t have the great book magic. Somehow, they don’t pull me in and draw me into the world of story. You’ve surely read some. Those books are ones I’m not able to connect with, or find the deeper meanings.
The key to reading, and reading many books, is in finding the right book.
Though it takes some work to find a great book (or 50, for the year with FiftyFifty.Me), the results are worth it. Great books change us for the better.
The Top Five Reasons to Read (50) Great Books:
1: To connect with others: When we read a great book, we want to share the experience with others, to pass one on, join a book club, or share it in water cooler conversation.
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
2: To feel more: A great story opens our hearts to new things, and tugs at our minds to new understandings.
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
3: To experience: A great book transports us to places we have never been before.
“A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.” – William Styron
4: To live more fully: A great book inspires us to be a better version of ourselves.
“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution—more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” –Lisa Cron, Wired for Story
5: To become a better communicator: We more fully understand ourselves and our thoughts.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
The trick to going deeper is in finding great books. At Great New Books, we believe words have the power to change us, and open doors to a better world. We hope you’ll check in with us on Wednesdays as our team of five shares a favorite great book each week.
Jennifer Lyn King is a writer and author who loves to read and share great books with others. She’s an American expat living in Prague with her husband and three sons, and enjoys photography, oil painting, tennis, and traveling. She is currently at work on a novel set in New Orleans and coastal Italy. Her 5 favorite books are (in no particular order) Jane Eyre, The Language of Flowers, State of Wonder, The Shell Seekers, and The House at Riverton. For more about Jennifer, visit her website and blog at http://jenniferlynking.com.