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The Steam Press: Read more, stress less

Mackenzie Broderick, Blogger

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Greetings, culture lovers! This weekend, I got a library card from the Evanston Public Library. It was a magical experience.

Surrounded by actual, real-live people, instead of frazzled college students, I wanted to give each one of them a medal. Here they were, old ladies and little kids and a man who might have been homeless or just growing a beard to stay warm during Polar Vortex pt. III, all reading! Voluntarily!

In the midst of schoolwork and extracurriculars and soul-crushing arctic winds, it’s easy to forget the joy of reading for pleasure — but the Steam Press has compiled a few reasons to help remind you, gentle reader.

It’s free!

If I can get a library card, so can you. Just mosey on downtown, sign up and voila! The word “library” may conjure up images of midnight study sessions, but the public library is a mystical building, clean, shiny, new and filled with books you actually want to read. Even if you never check out a book, the library allows you to sit for hours in a place unsullied by the tears of chemistry students.

It’s not a competition

We are all aware of the competitive, or at least pre-professional, environment at Northwestern. Unfortunately, this extends to what we do in our free time — but not so with reading. Although some assume that books you read even in your free time should be enriching, we should feel free to read what we damn well please. For some, that’s “Infinite Jest.” For others, it’s the latest thriller.

But it will make you better than everyone else

All readers believe they are superior to the general population. Scientific studies have shown that reading fiction gives the reader empathy and insight that a non-reader lacks — so, superpowers, basically.

Jane Austen said it best, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” So put aside your stress for a moment, pick up a book and join the club.

Email: mackenziebroderick2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @badbroderick

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