An Associated Press poll revealed that one in four adults read no books last year, which is sad news.
In Beaufort County, however, we have an upward trend. For instance, in February, 16,426 fiction books and 1,626 e-books were checked out of county libraries. This is encouraging.
If you are one of the nonreaders out there, here are five advantages to reading more.
1. Reading is an active mental process. Books can help provide development of critical thinking. When you read, you will often have to draw conclusions from the story that may not be evident. By doing this frequently, you might just use that critical thinking in everyday life -- in your job duties and interactions with people.
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2. Reading improves your vocabulary. Most people use vocabulary that they hear every day. Our vocabulary is shaped by the people and things around us. Books expose us to a wider variety of words and concepts that we might not otherwise get. Remember in grade school when we learned to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get that benefit from reading and will find yourself exposed to many new words.
3. Reading gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places. What is your favorite vacation spot? The more information you get, the more enjoyable your destination will be. Books expand your horizon by letting you see what other cities and countries have to offer.
4. You can learn anywhere. Books and e-books are portable. You can take them with you many places: to a shopping mall, to the beach or inside your favorite coffee shop, while you sip your favorite latte.
5. Reading improves memory. Many studies show if you don't use it, you lose it. Reading helps you stretch your memory muscles. It requires remembering details, figures, plot lines, themes and characters.
Visit one of our five county library branches. We can help you choose a book. Find out what our staff is reading and perhaps join one of our book clubs.
Our regular "Book Page" publication features reading trends, top picks for book clubs and great book reviews.
Go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, click on "Recommended Reading" on the left and look at our featured book lists, local history treasures and several other resources that will help you choose. If you want a personalized reading recommendation service, click on "My Next Book."
So, find a great book to read. Start reading. You will find that reading is not only good for you, but is also a great source of entertainment.
Mary Jo Berkes is the branch manager of Hilton Head Island library.