The shop windows are lined with hearts and red ribbon, pink cupcakes in the bakeries and everyone seems to have advice on how to find THE ONE.
Here is a truth about finding The One: you need to look amongst the readers! “Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
“Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters – the saints and the sinners, real or imagined – reading shows you how to be a better human being.” (The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, Donalyn Miller)
Some of the obvious reasons why readers make the best boyfriends, husbands, partners and are simply better men are how they will always know which book you want for your birthday, Christmas or just in between. They will never roll their eyes at you if you want some quiet time to read; instead, they will grab their book and join you.
These are just basics. Books have a much deeper impact on us than you may think.
For one, reading just a few minutes a day and escaping the rush and hectic of our lives, reduces stress. And if having that wasn’t a good enough reason to read, think for a moment about what books do to our personality.
Here’s a man who reads: He is smart and witty, he has read about so many people that he has picked up some characteristics. He is well travelled; most likely his travels won’t just include Europe and maybe the States, but every continent, the past, the future, maybe even other galaxies! He will have travelled more than your last boyfriend, the astronaut. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” (A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin)
These travels through countless stories makes for curious, but also creative men. “After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face.” (The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde) “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King).
As readers, we all have some common memories, “Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to his heart.” (The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón).
At some point the conversation will come up and, with your perfect match – the reading man – you will be talking about the “magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.” (A History of Reading, Alberto Manguel).
Once he has become that reader, a whole new world is open to him. A world of endless possibilities and personalities, all of which he will get a deeper understanding of. “A reader doesn’t really see the characters in a story; he feels them.” (Inkdeath, Cornelia Funke)
Reading, fiction especially, makes us understand social relationships, problems and conflicts. It makes us more empathetic and able to comprehend people, their morals, opinions and values. “I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don’t really exist if you don’t.” (Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov)
What emerges from all these books is a man with the best qualities: He is understanding, he can read between the lines, knows how to compromise and adjust. Life with a reader is never boring because “A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” (The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett)
“Anyway—because we are readers, we don’t have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next—and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis—at any time of night or day.” (Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage, Kurt Vonnegut)
And, what is probably most important, is that a reader knows himself. “Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.”
So really, the man you want is probably hiding in a library or a bookshop or in the corner of a park at lunchtime, his nose in a book and his mind in some far away world, from which he will emerge a better, smarter and empathetic man.
“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extricate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.” (Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë)