^^^ I hope this post lives up to its title hahaha I titled if before I started writing. As you may know, I’m a science student. Most of the book bloggers I know that have been/are at university are doing arts. This post is about why science people often disregard reading (fiction) and why I think this is silly.
Firstly, let me answer a quick question that I sometimes wonder myself. If I love reading, then why aren’t I doing English or Law or History or some degree that is all about reading? The answer isn’t that I thought I’d have a better chance of getting a job; most people with BSc’s still need Master’s degrees and I picked my major based mostly on passion and not job prospects. I love both the humanities and sciences, and I did equally well in both fields in high school. I ended up going for ecology because it fascinates me and feels really relevant to the world’s current dire situation. But while I like maths and experiments and analyzing, I still love reading and literature and essays (and for the record, I did do an arts paper).
The most general reason why science people should read is that everybody should read. Reading makes you a better person. It makes you more empathetic and probably increases your attention span and expands your vocabulary and helps you to cope with difficulty.
Another reason scientists should read is to understand the other side. I guess this relates to the concept of a ‘renaissance man’ (a Eurocentric and gender exclusive term, I guess). But it’s good to know about a broad range of subjects, not just the discipline you study in. Not only are people who read widely more interesting to talk to, they’re also able to connect their knowledge and apply it to their field. Reading as a scientist can enhance your area of study and make you smarter in other areas.
Another more general thing about reading that makes it important to everyone but especially scientists is that reading makes your writing better. Yes, it’s a stereotype that scientists aren’t able to put their discoveries and understanding into words, and that people studying science can’t write essays (you better believe I can after that 15 page lab report, buddy), but having the ideas is as important as expressing them in an understandable way. Books are normally edited before they’re published. Reading can help us scietists write better.
The books and ‘fields of knowledge’ I’m talking about seem to refer to nonfiction books, although obviously science students should read novels as well. (Not least to just get out of their heads tor a bit and do something that doesn’t feel like learning. Poor English students have to learn and analyse works of fiction, just like I do for this blog, except I don’t get a grade for it.) I digress. I’ve been reading more nonfiction since I finished high school, although the lion’s share of the books I read is still definitely fiction. I especially like science nonfiction. I think this is firstly because science is real (unlike novels) and relevant and absolutely fascinating. Well written popular science books make me excited about what I’m studying (and other random fields like astrophysics, which I don’t want to do papers in but want to know about) and are like a relaxing form of learning. I love connecting things I read to what I learn. Also, reading nonfiction makes me feel really intelligent.
This was a bit random! Here’s a one sentence summary of this post: I love reading and the humanities even though I study science, all scientists should read, and nonfiction is cool.