Cait over at Paper Fury (yes, that's her pretty button above; also, go wish her a very happy 5th blogversary!! & she has giveaways running!! [how jolly-well kind of her!]) recently wrote a post entitled "10 DREADFUL THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU READ TOO MUCH". It is wonderful, witty, and sassy - I think you'll enjoy reading it. In any case, after digesting her words myself, I got around to thinking about how a lot of people say that it is seemingly (and I use 'seemingly' with much salt here) antithetical to love both literature (of the fictional, dragons-ate-my-pet-moose kind) and science.
So first I'll point out that, as Cait says in her blog post, the average number of books read by one person of the General Public is purportedly 6 per year, and a large number of people that have voiced such aforementioned statements to me tend to fall on the shadowed side of that 6. Therefore, such voiced opinions really are inadequately supported by experience or even (might I go so far to say) understanding.
I am a wide reading individual. I love science, I love a wide variety of literature, I rather enjoy driving down dirt roads, swimming in creeks, and applying warpaint in preparation for a violent game of paintball. Perhaps I'm an enigma (although I really don't think so - I often see myself as a rather boring slump of neural tissue that regularly squawks for peanut butter). In any case, let me introduce you to some of the reading material I enjoy - let's have two examples.
First we've got the science-y side of things. I can often be found devouring (or slowly chewing through) primary research articles. These are the ones chock-full of puzzling terminology and mind-numbing instructions on how to elicit, say, a Hoffman's reflex in the tibialis anterior muscle. Let me just show you.
|Lévénez et al. (2008) J. Neurophysiol|
Ok, so I've ranted a bit (but oh I could go on for an age and a half) on research articles, now let me turn to my FAVOURITE pastime in the history of all hobbies. Fiction. Ah yes, here's another example:
|Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind - prologue excerpt|
This is one of the reasons I keep my literary diet approximately half and half - sensible, factual literature paired with nonsensical, fictitious literature makes for a healthy heart (ok, I don't know if it's healthy but I have a very very deep love for reading all things and so let's just say it's healthy for me).
I suppose what I'm getting at is that no matter what your occupation is, it is 100% entirely fine to be a book-fanatic. Just because I do research doesn't mean I'm some white-coated scientist with the intense desire to cure cancer (I could be.... but I'm not - I wear jeans to work, haven't worn a lab coat since 2nd yr undergrad, and spend most of my days reading papers and writing ethics applications). And just because I love books doesn't mean I can't try my hand at solving a couple neuromuscular physiology puzzles in my lifetime. I love what I do and I do what I love; I'm a bookwyrm and a scientist and it. is. awesome.
In conclusion, I bring you the novel (or not-so-novel) idea that hard-core science and bookish fantasy can both exist together in your life - very happily I tell you. If you want to do research for NASA or become a physician or study the mechanisms of Ebola's effects on the human body - do it! If that's something you've always dreamed of then pursue it! because books are always going to be around when you need some downtime or want reprieve from the crazy push and pull of everyday living. Science and fantasy can exist hand-in-hand; go forth and conquer!
Signed with banana chips,