Can Reading Make a Difference?

I consider myself someone who is “well read.” While I read every day, I never really thought too much about what I was reading. Every morning I visit the same news sites, revisit the same authors, and look for new books about subjects I’m passionate about. I used to think that what I was reading was progressive and well researched, and if everyone would just read what I’m reading then maybe we would all agree. 

After I finished Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ Between the World and Me, I felt even more strongly about a subject I already had an established opinion on. I found Coates’ letter to his son about confronting race in America incredibly moving and honest, and wasn’t surprised when it was met with great critical acclaim. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone who read Coates’ novel welled up with the same feelings I did.

I told myself that I would try something different for a change and picked up known conservative, George Gilder‘s Men and MarriageBy its end, I could not find common ground with Gilder’s opinions on feminism, but I did get a chance to read a different point of view – even though I wasn’t convinced. But because I read this book, I was able to understand a different point of view. 

Reading can help make a difference, because the world of literature is diverse. You can read about a range of topics, listen to a variety of voices, and continue to form new opinions. A study done at the University of Buffalo found that by reading fiction, you’re more likely to imagine what life is like for other people. So even if you haven’t traveled to South America, by reading about it you can become more familiar with the people and cultures. You can also build your analytical skills by reading more, and it is said that reading will improve your life in the long run by opening up more opportunities.

In terms of personal growth, reading can work to improve your life and make a difference. When it comes to closing the ideological gap, it may be less likely that reading and sharing books holds all the answers. However, we can all agree that reading is a valuable source of knowledge, and life is much better when you pick up a book.


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