They say reading feeds your brain (and soul) but I’ve been thinking about it lately and this really is a funnily accurate statement. Books are truly like food for the brain! Yes I mean that in the sense that you absorb information from them, you learn from them, you widen your world view via them, etc. But in an almost comical way they can also reflect our eating habits…sorta. 😜
What I mean is that aren’t there times you have to sit yourself down and force your eyes to read a particularly dull textbook, biography, or literary work not because you want to but because it’s good for you or required by a job or class? It’s like forcing your hands to prepare yourself an overwhelmingly healthy dinner (no fats, no sugars, no cholesterol, no excessive calories, and plenty of green). Sure sometimes it’s not actually that bad but what you’d really like to be eating is…
And don’t you have times where you just want to curl up all night with a book that’s easy on the brain but perhaps filling with emotions, and if you were honest you’d give it a low-rating yet you just crave it? It’s not the best writing, the most complicated plot, the most creative characters. You don’t know why but you simply have a weakness for these books and from time to time it’s what you need to give your brain a break (I think for me romance novels might fall under this category but certainly any type of story could be your wind-down go-to). In a way these books are like fast-food or junk food or even a guilty snack when you told yourself you’re on a diet. Not particularly great and you might regret binging it later, but sometimes you just want it anyway.
Then there are those books that sort of drift in the middle. They’re not often 5-star stories but they definitely try their best and no matter how the genre ebbs and flows in the market you know you can always go back to it for a comfortingly reliable read. For me this is YA Fantasy. Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down but regardless of how mediocre much of this market is I know that if I want something familiar, comfortable, and that I’m certain to enjoy then I always browse these shelves. I know it probably won’t be a standout read (it’ll likely be an oft repeated plot line with many tropes and recycled character types) but I also know that I’ll get sucked in no matter how many times I’ve read books too similar. It’s my go-to genre whenever I’m in a book slump or am not sure what else to read. It’s like a comfort food. It may not be a fancy stellar meal you want to Instagram and shout about, it might just be simple earthy fare, but it never fails to fill your stomach and leave you comforted and satisfied and ready for more. It’s familiar and sometimes you just need something nice and familiar to refresh.
Finally there are the favorites. The books you can always always rely on, the books you read over and over and over again, the books so worn the covers are falling off, the books that never fail to capture your attention and blow the mind and these ones you do want to force into every person’s life because you love it that much. Not surprisingly these books are like your true favorite foods, perhaps a rare but absolute favorite dessert. It doesn’t matter if years go by or days, whenever served you leap at the chance to eat it and lick the plate with a grin. You learn how to make it, you learn which restaurants have the best recipe, you always try and convince your friends to order it too because it’s a dependable favorite and you want to share that joy with everyone else.
So in a way our reading habits and book choices are a bit like our diet…except it’s food for the brain, heart, and soul. What you put in will shape you. Maybe it won’t make your body change like with actual food but what you read will undoubtedly alter how you think, feel, and react. It will shape you.
Anyway, I was stuck in some serious traffic (made all the less fun because my car’s A/C isn’t great and the summer is WAY TOO TOASTY) and got to thinking about this and it made me chuckle so as per this post series’ title implies I decided to babble about a bit of random nonsense which in this case was books as food.