Benefits of Reading: Revisited

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I believe this topic to be important, so I wish to revisit it again.

I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life.  Reading is one of the most essential and, at the same time, the most sublime of pleasures.  Reading can take us places we have never been, tell us stories we have not known, and let us experience the lives of many other people.

In addition to the pleasures of reading, I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. As a Professor of English Literature, I teach many books in my courses at Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College–and for me, this is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life, to share books and explore them with students.

While there are a myriad of ways to learn in life, reading still stands out as the primary, and most efficient, way of gaining information. (I am not in any way discounting the importance of learning through experience.) Readers can learn about areas of study that exist far outside of their particular areas of understanding or expertise. For example, I am a student of English literature, but I love reading books about quantum mechanics and the extraordinarily esoteric world of String Theory. I do not understand these ideas the way a physicist would, but I can still appreciate the ideas from books aimed at intelligent, non-specialist readers. Such reading allows the book lover to explore an almost unlimited range of ideas.

In addition to education, I think there is a second and equally important value to reading. I have read numerous articles recently about studies suggesting that people, who read, especially fiction, develop more empathy than those who do not read (Chiaet). The overall point of the results of this study, as well as others, is that people who read fiction tend to learn to identify with other human beings and their problems. This is what many of our parents taught to us when they said that we needed to learn to walk in the shoes of other people. It is the basic idea of trying to understand how other people think and feel. Even without these scientific studies, I would assert that fiction helps us to develop empathy.

What do you think about this? Do any of you have other suggestions about the benefits of reading? I would enjoy seeing your ideas.

Works Cited

Chiaet, Julianne. “Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy.” Scientific
American.Com. October 4, 2013. Web.

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Guest Post: Introducing the Educated Wanderer!

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I am very proud to have a former student of mine and her business partner present this guest post about their travel company. I hope all of you enjoy this post and consider using their business!

Charles French

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(Educated Wanderer)

Hello everyone!

Allow us to introduce ourselves. My name is Laura Pezzulich. My partner Creed Hyatt and I run our company, Educated Wanderer. We are based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania and have been around since 2015, though we have been leading travel groups for the past 12 years. As philosophers and avid travelers, our life’s work has grown into creating small group travel experiences to places that we want to or love to visit. The idea is to design trips that WE want to go on in hopes that other like-minded individuals will be interested to join us. Of course, this means there are certain preferable criteria each of our trips must meet as we plan our travel. Aside from the all-inclusive price which includes airfare, accommodations, admissions fees, transportation, and more, the kinds of experiences we incorporate into our travel are reading, culture, food, local spirits, and freedom to explore. I want to emphasize that education is what makes travel useful and that education truly encompasses all of these criteria.

Allow me to explain. By education, we do not mean simply learning the history of a place through reading or guided tours, though they are absolutely necessary pieces of the puzzle. What we mean by education is taking the culmination of experiences you will have, reflecting on how they challenge and make you feel, thereby learning something more about the world and its people, but most significantly learning something about yourself. This kind of knowledge sneaks up on you. It is not easily acquired, however our philosophy of travel is rooted in a belief of the zenith of the tangible and the intangible, the describable and the ineffable, of which we know will change ways you interpret everything. We feel comfortable claiming that we know this because we speak from our own experience and the experiences of those we have traveled with in the past. We want to help you understand your own experiences, just as any good teacher will do.

The problem that interferes with such understanding is life, which typically includes a list of duties we must perform to maintain a comfortable living situation. There is nothing inherently wrong about that. When we are at our jobs and at home we tend to be doing things for other people, thus we often neglect our spiritual and emotional needs, as we do not actively challenge our routines. That is where we come in. Creed and I want to give you the opportunity to disconnect from the usual to make room for connecting with your Self. At Educated Wanderer, we do not take you on vacations. Our job is not merely to show you a good time, regardless of the fact that we do indeed have an utterly fantastic time! Rather, we find it to be our duty to encourage and facilitate learning experiences for people because the most meaningful part of our work is people and cultivating a sense of community. Essentially . . . you.

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(Educated Wanderer)

To that end, we have designed four trips scheduled during the year 2019 to Italy, Spain, Iceland, and Germany. Please visit our website at http://www.educatedwanderer.com for more information. Scroll through our online library of relevant texts to help acquaint you with your intended destination. If you have questions please call us, email us or visit our office. If you are really old-school, we also respond to carrier pigeons or balled up pieces of paper thrown at us while we walk down the street. We absolutely love talking with people about our travel ideas and about your travel dreams! We hope to hear from you and we hope you will join us in 2019!

Call: 6104625886

Email: laura@educatedwanderer.com or creed@educatedwanderer.com

In-person Appointment: 707 N. 4th Street, Studio 106, Allentown, PA 18102

Don’t forget to like us on social media for travel updates and news!

Facebook: facebook.com/educatedwanderer

Instagram: @educatedwanderer

Twitter: @eduwanderer

What Book Would You Visit?

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As readers and writers, we create new worlds and engage with places built by other writers. Our imaginations inform our lives and give us gifts of wonder. I have often considered what it would be like if it were possible to enter into the world of a book, if it would be anything like I had imagined as I read it, or if that place would be entirely different. What would it be like if we found a key that allowed us to unlock a sealed door, behind which was the world of a book?

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If I could visit any book, I would choose J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of  The Rings. This work has been deeply important to me for most of my life, since I discovered it as a young teenager. I never cease to find the tale compelling, complex, and humanistic. Tolkien’s treatment of mythology and fantasy showed me that the creation of worlds is not an act of mere escapism but a way to shine a light on our world.

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When I ask this question, I do not mean that you would necessarily engage with the characters or situations of the world, but that you would have the option of being an observer of its actualities as they are in the book. So, if you choose to answer, remember that you would not have to place yourself in any kind of danger, and you could have a visit of exploration instead.

So, given that option, I ask: what book would you like to visit?

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Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview