Ever finished a book? I mean, truly finished
one? Cover to cover. Closed the spine with
that slow awakening that comes with
reentering consciousness?
You take a breath, deep from the bottom of
your lungs and sit there. Book in both hands,
your head staring down at the cover, back
page or wall in front of you.
You’re grateful, thoughtful, pensive. You feel
like a piece of you was just gained and lost.
You’ve just experienced something deep,
something intimate. (Maybe, erotic?) You just
had an intense and somewhat transient
Like falling in love with a stranger you will
never see again, you ache with the yearning
and sadness of an ended affair, but at the
same time, feel satisfied. Full from the
experience, the connection, the richness that
comes after digesting another soul. You feel
fed, if only for a little while.
This type of reading, according to TIME
magazine’s Annie Murphy Paul, is called
“deep reading,” a practice that is soon to be
extinct now that people are skimming more
and reading less.
Readers, like voicemail leavers and card
writers, are now a dying breed, their numbers
decreasing with every GIF list and online
The worst part about this looming extinction
is that readers are proven to be nicer and
smarter than the average human, and maybe
the only people worth falling in love with on
this shallow hell on earth.
According to both 2006 and 2009 studies
published by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at
York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a
professor of cognitive psychology at the
University of Toronto, those who read fiction
are capable of the most empathy and “theory
of mind,” which is the ability to hold
opinions, beliefs and interests apart from
their own.
They can entertain other ideas, without
rejecting them and still retain their own.
While this is supposed to be an innate trait in
all humans, it requires varying levels of
social experiences to bring into fruition and
probably the reason your last partner was
such a narcissist.
Did you ever see your ex with a book? Did
you ever talk about books? If you didn’t,
maybe you should think about changing your
It’s no surprise that readers are better people.
Having experienced someone else’s life
through abstract eyes, they’ve learned what
it’s like to leave their bodies and see the
world through other frames of reference.
They have access to hundreds of souls, and
the collected wisdom of all them. They have
seen things you’ll never understand and have
experienced deaths of people you’ll never
They’ve learned what it’s like to be a woman,
and a man. They know what it’s like to watch
someone suffer. They are wise beyond their
Another 2010 study by Mar reinforces thisf
idea with results that prove the more stories
children have read to them, the keener their
“theory of mind.” So while everyone thinks
their kids are the best, the ones who read
have the edge as they truly are the wiser,
more adaptable and understanding children.
Because reading is something that molds you
and adds to your character. Each triumph,
lesson and pivotal moment of the protagonist
becomes your own.
Every ache, pain and harsh truth becomes
yours to bear. You’ve traveled with authors
and experienced the pain, sorrow and
anguish they suffered while writing through it.
You’ve lived a thousand lives and come back
to learn from each of them.
If you’re still looking for someone to
complete you, to fill the void of your singly-
healed heart, look for the breed that’s dying
out. You will find them in coffee shops, parks
and subways.
You will see them with backpacks, shoulder
bags and suitcases. They will be inquisitive
and soulful, and you will know by the first
few minutes of talking to them.
They will write you letters and texts in verse.
They are verbose, but not in the obnoxious
way. They do not merely answer questions
and give statements, but counter with deep
thoughts and profound theories. They will
enrapture you with their knowledge of words
and ideas.
According to the study, “What Reading Does
For The Mind” by Anne E. Cunningham of the
University of California, Berkeley, reading
provides a vocabulary lesson that children
could never attain by schooling.
According to Cunningham, “the bulk of
vocabulary growth during a child’s
lifetime occurs indirectly through language
exposure rather than through direct
Do yourself a favor and date someone who
really knows how to use their tongue.
You should only fall in love with someone
who can see your soul. It should be someone
who has reached inside you and holds those
innermost parts of you no one could find
before. It should be someone who doesn’t
just know you, but wholly and completely
understands you.
According to Psychologist David Comer Kidd,
at the New School for Social Research, “What
great writers do is to turn you into the writer.
In literary fiction, the incompleteness of the
characters turns your mind to trying to
understand the minds of others.”
This is proved over and over again, the more
people take to reading. Their ability to
connect with characters they haven’t met
makes their understanding of the people
around them much easier.
They have the capacity for empathy. They may
not always agree with you, but they will try to
see things from your point of view.
Being overly smart is obnoxious, being wise
is a turn on. There’s something irresistible
about someone you can learn from. The need
for banter and witty conversation is more
imperative than you may believe, and falling
in love with a reader will enhance not just the
conversation, but the level of it.
According to Cunningham, readers are more
intelligent, due to their increased vocabulary
and memory skills, along with their ability to
spot patterns. They have higher cognitive
functions than the average non-reader and
can communicate more thoroughly and
Finding someone who reads is like dating a
thousand souls. It’s gaining the experience
they’ve gained from everything they’ve ever
read and the wisdom that comes with those
experiences. It’s like dating a professor, a
romantic and an explorer.
If you date someone who reads, then you,
too, will live a thousand different lives.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It