You can tell a lot about a person just by looking their book collection (or their lack thereof). Too often I've asked people what they like to read and received a blank stare in return, accompanied by the typical line, "I don't read books". Or my personal favorite, "I'd rather watch the movie."

These responses are puzzling to me because reading for entertainment is one of my passions in life. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I cannot live without books". I feel the same way.

In hopes you will pick up a book instead of spending another night binge watching countless episodes on Netflix, I've outlined some of the benefits of reading.

Reading makes you well rounded

The purpose of books is to open our minds to new ideas. Regardless of the genre, when I finish a good book I feel I have learned something new. For instance, reading No Easy Day by Mark Owen and Kris Kyle's American Sniper gave me a new appreciation for those in the armed forces. Reading about the brave men and women who put their lives in harm's way to protect and defend this great country is truly inspiring.

You Gotta Love it Baby!is a must read for any sports fan. Written by former Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, this autobiography gives readers a behind the scenes glimpse into the world of broadcasting and the early days of the NBA.

I'm an Apple geek, so I had to pick up Steve Jobsby Walter Isaacson. Jobs' drive and belief that a person should pursue their passions in life is both moving and meaningful. If you own any Apple technology you'll probably enjoy this book.

Reading helps you connect with those around you

If you'd really like to get to know someone try asking about what he or she likes to read.

I've been surprised at what I have had in common with a complete stranger I've met on the train or in the waiting room of the doctor's office; books are a great conversation piece. Reading gives you something to talk about when topics like religion and politics may be off the table.

In today's world of social media, there's a way for bookworms to connect online. is a website where readers can discuss, rate, review and share books with their friends. (Yes, you can even configure Goodreads to work with your Twitter and Facebook profiles).

Reading is creative

Many who don't read recite the standard line of "Oh I'll just watch the movie" but readers can attest that the book and the movie are not interchangeable. People who've read the book and seen movie are often frustrated with the film because the cinematic adaptation of a beloved character can really miss the mark.

Why do readers say the books are better than the movies? I believe it has everything to do with the power of one's imagination. A well-written book allows you to create mental pictures that are more vibrant, colorful and emotionally moving than anything Hollywood can produce. Plus, reading allows you to escape the worries of life. Whether real or imagined, books let you immerse yourself in someone else's world.

Reading is accessible

In today's fast paced world we have numerous ways to access books. Even if you are miles away from a library, the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad with the iBooks app, and the Barnes & Noble Nook are a few devices that allow you to conveinently read your books electronically.

iTunes and offer a variety of professionally narrated audiobooks that can be downloaded onto your computer or mobile device. Many feel that having the book read to them enhances the experience of reading and can even help build your vocabulary.

So, instead of devoting your time to endless games of Candy Crush and similar activities, consider picking up a good book and losing yourself in its pages.

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