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OPINION: Read a book - I swear it won't kill you
By Gabino Iglesias
You know how sometimes you stop in the middle of a sentence, struggling to find a word to express what you want to say? How about those times when you read something for a class and have no idea what a particular word means? Even better: have you noticed that your ability to concentrate on schoolwork is seriously impaired by a nagging little voice that's always telling you to get on Facebook yet again? Well, don't fret; I'm here to offer you a simple, cheap, entertaining and portable solution to all your conundrums: get a book and read it.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Don't worry; I won't get too preachy on you. Here's the thing, plain and simple: reading is good for you. Want to know how? Well, your brain is a muscle and, in order to stay strong, flexible and sexy, it requires as much training as the rest of your body. When you pick up a book, your brain goes to work. Just like your body responds to resistance training or cardio by getting leaner, meaner and more powerful, your intellect improves when you dig into a piece of literature. Likewise, reading has been shown to improve your memory. And couldn't we all use a bit more of that when finals roll around?
Reading also improves your ability to concentrate. Just imagine: getting through homework quicker, not being as bored in class, and not having to pop Adderalls like candy because you have less than a day left to finish that monstrous final paper. Sounds good, right? All it takes is a little time and a tome.
Let's keep rolling. The more you read, the more your vocabulary grows. That translates into less time spent leafing or clicking around to find the unusual synonyms and powerful adjectives to make your papers sound more intelligent. It also translates into a confident, more eloquent you when you have to speak in public or go on that dreaded job interview. Trust me: in the current sad employment panorama, every little advantage counts. I'm not saying that you need to use words like "xylopyrography" on a daily basis or that you need to become a renowned deipnosophist, but being articulate can go a long way.
Now let's get to the stuff that you really care about. First off, reading can help you pick up somebody wherever you go because you'll have something interesting to share. Also, with Austin being the weird and remarkable city it is, there are plenty of independent bookstores where you can get a book for a buck while simultaneously giving corporate America the finger.
Last but not least, opening a book is something you can do for free while sunbathing at the lake, waiting for the bus, killing time between classes or when your Internet is down. What the hell are you waiting for? I've given you enough reasons - now go get a book.