Why is reading so important?

Why is reading so important? by Dushka Zapata

Answer by Dushka Zapata:

Imagine a room within four brick walls.

It’s comfortable and you have what you need.

But it has no windows.

This room is an ordinary life. Acceptable, but limited.

Reading is like creating a window.

A window means a breeze. It means light, and the sun shining in, and a view.

The view can be anything, anything you want. A beach, the sky, a story, history; soldiers ready to raise the alarm, a boy in a cabin, a beautiful woman with a long yellow dress, a tiger, desperate and hungry, trapped on a life raft.

You can look out at whatever you wish; and you can learn. Pick what you want to learn about: the entirety of world knowledge is at your fingertips.

The more you read the more you open windows in the brick walls until you are left with no bricks. Just a vast expanse full of everything you have chosen.

Now remove your favorite story.
Pack up the soldiers and say goodbye to the woman and watch the tiger and the life raft drift away. 
Shut out the light.
Close off the breeze.
Replace every brick.

Return to your life, acceptable, circumscribed and finite.

This is a life without reading.

Now, you ask, am I saying reading is better than real life?
Is it better to live, or is it better to read?

And I ask you: why should you be without either?
My answer is – both. Pick both. Open all the windows.

Why is reading so important?