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4 reasons why people who read literature are better people

You know those people who talk about reading as if it were some some sort of navel-gazing pastime to be undertaken only when time allows, when work stops, or when your phone dies?

Well, those people need to watch this video, which lays out a compelling case for why it is absolutely necessary to read literature.

In "What Is Literature For?" animator Marcus Armitage says there are four major reasons we should read books:

  1. It's the "greatest time-saver"
  2. It makes us nicer
  3. It cures our loneliness
  4. It prepares us for failure

Armitage's arguments are spot-on. For example, his first point, that literature "speeds up time" for us, is completely accurate. I've never spent years in isolation on the Island of Despair or journeyed around the world in 80 days, but reading about those things allows me to experience those movements through time without being trapped, like the characters I'm reading about, inside the strict confines of the story's chronology. Literature, Armitage reasons, is actually a "time-saver" because it allows me to reap the benefits of time without having to live through it. By framing his argument in this way, Armitage actually subverts a common excuse for neglecting to read: that we don't have time. No, he argues, you collect time by reading.

Yes, that might sound a bit heady, but pairing the argument with Armitage's winsome animation will help things along. If you want to hear his other three arguments, you'll have to take a look at the video above. And then go read a classic!

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