We have a beagle called Charlie. He’s a beautiful dog, but he’s convinced the world needs to be explored by taste and will chew anything in reach — shoes, books (including those still in a parcel from Amazon), CDs, toilet paper, TV cables, socks, chair legs, and the list goes on. He’s worse than a toddler!
Needless to say, we’ve been working with Charlie on this and we’ve discovered a pattern. If he’s bored, he chews. Keep his mind stimulated and entertained and he’s quite content and charming between times. Neglect him, and it’s Go Dog Go!
And this raises an interesting point about intelligence. We humans need to be entertained. I suspect this is why reading fiction holds such an appeal to intelligent people.
Think about recent books that have captured the imagination of readers: the Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones, even the Twilight series, etc. They all have one thing in common. They lift people up from this world and whisk them away. Our minds thrive on imagination, regardless of how frivolous such fiction may be. And although it’s somewhat surprising and counterintuitive, such nonsense is invigorating and refreshing.
Intelligence thrives in an active mind, and imagination is the key to activating the mind. Reading fiction, it seems, is a catalyst for good thinking.
At the risk of being subject to a confirmation bias, I’d like to suggest that reading correlates with intelligence. I’m not sure which is cause and which is effect, perhaps they both serve in equal measures. But reading fiction opens vistas of the mind, and expands our intelligence. We may not chew socks or drag toilet paper around the house, but without such mental exercise, we grow stale and atrophy.
Reading is a chance to see the world through the eyes of another, and that change of perspective enlightens and informs, builds empathy and allows us to grow beyond ourselves. For me, that’s the joy of reading, having the chance to learn and grow.
Here’s a sample of Little Green Men as an audiobook, it’s frivolous but fun, and great for listening to while commuting.
This Christmas, I’m releasing a fan-fiction work called Shadows set in Hugh Howey’s Wool universe on Kindle Worlds, and a thriller called The Man Who Remembered Today.
If you’d like to enter a draw for free copies of these works, sign up on the mailing list.