Not just for getting strong marks in English. It has othervalue, too.
Like, for starters, the joy of digging into a deep narrative that transports you to another world. Also, it might help you get some jokes if you’re into nerdy comedians. Okay, fine. Moving on.
It can give us ashared foundation
Let’s start by saying we’re not looking down our noses atother forms of entertainment. If you’re a certain age, from a certain place,you’ll probably have songs, TV shows, superhero movies and games in common withpeople from a similar background. Literature does the same thing. Sharedreferences, the ability to discuss the meaning of a text and spout quotes thatmake you look smart – these are important ways to connect with each other. But,even more than that, having these shared stories means a shared understandingof what it means to be human.
It expands yourhorizons
Sometimes you’ll read a novel and come out the other end a changed person. Literature helps us develop critical thinking skills, forcing us to imagine the scenarios presented and feel things on a deep, empathetic level. It also sneakily teaches us about topics we might not have otherwise explored: if the author is really into birdwatching, for example, you might find yourself learning what that’s all about while reading a novel about love, relationships and sadness. Literature shows you the world from a different angle.
It helps you see theworld through other people’s eyes
This is a big one. The mark of a great work of literature isits ability to transport you to another time and place, and see the world fromthe perspective of another person. To put you in the position of a characterwho is nothing like you – and sometimes, to see the POV of someone you’dusually hate. We mentioned “time and place”, which is another factor. When you’rereading literature from another country and/or another era, you’re exploringnot only what’s important to the characters, but also what was important to theauthor.
It teaches you towrite better
This one’s totally selfish, but still important. Whether ornot you see yourself as a writer, consuming other people’s work is the best wayto improve your own communication skills. The more you read, the more you soakup those ways with words, those turns of phrase, those literary tricks… whenyou find yourself asking, “How did they dothat?” you know you’ve been sucked in for real.
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