Readers are exposed to the inside deoths of other people's minds and thoughts. They can see things from a different perspective, and even from the perspective of a different gender.
Reading does help to expand the mind, as does travel in a different way.
Having said that, the person I know who is being described in the article, was never a reader. Due to dyslexia , reading was never an option. But he was naturally artistic, creative and sensitive, and had the same qualities as they described in the piece.
Something that makes absolute sense can never be stupid.
Authors write what they know, or what they have experienced, or what they have researched. For a book to be good reading matter, it needs to draw in the reader and carry them on a journey... be it fact or fiction. And for that to happen, the author's ability to write emotionally, or factually, in an engaging fashion, guarantees the reader's mind will link with the story. Better than hot chocolate.
I cannot be without a book. I have hundreds. I have read thousands. A book to me is like a cigarette to a smoker : if I run out, I go into withdrawal.
And I hate Kindles - they are not books. Books are made up of the feel, the cover, the smell of the fresh pages.... hmmmmm books.
I agree with you lot that reading makes a huge difference (obviously completely unbiased, being a writer ). I started reading fiction very early and it has enriched my childhood by a huge measure, in my belief anyway. Can't say though I ever dated an avid reader. My father was one (he was into science fiction, where I probably got my love for scifi from), and my oldest son loves to read (the younger one not so much fiction, he reads and writes scientific material, but he did read some fiction at least for a while in the past).
I do wonder if we'd look at publications, whether we'd find more releases aimed at females in the fiction industry. Females do seem to be more of the reading kind? Is there an underlying belief maybe within males that reading is something 'unmanly' and should be left to the girls? I am certain the Ice and Fire novels have a strong male readership, but on a day to day basis, I can't help but think females read more.
As for kindle, I am with heno - need the feel of a book, the smell of paper and so forth.. but kindles do look extremely practical for travelling
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