Queen's Gambit was a particularly apt choice for an initiative that seeks to encourage reading as for one of my central characters, Dot, Katherine Parr's maid, learning to read is her mission in life and something she recognises as a means to transform her life.
It is this transformative nature of reading, which is equally true today as it was in the sixteenth century, that I spoke about on WBN. Indeed I believe reading is a superpower and this is why:
1. Reading makes you irresistibly attractive. If you don't believe me then check out #hotdudesreading which is basically images of men that are easy on the eye reading. It's the books that make them interesting! Plus, a recent Canadian university study proved that readers are the best people to fall in love with as they have developed a greater capacity for empathy.
2. Reading gives you the power to read minds. It was Schopenhauer who said 'Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else's head rather than your own.'
3. Reading is a fast-track to wisdom; it enables you to learn from the mistakes of others.
4. Reading allows you to travel anywhere on the planet without leaving your armchair. Want to go to Rio, NYC, Timbuktu, The Outer Hebrides – all you have to do is pick up book.
5. Reading makes you a time traveller. Go back to any moment in history – the brutal glory of Caesar's Rome, the scheming Elizabethan court, the horror of the WW1 trenches – with a book. Or travel forward to possible futures or parallel universes that don't even exist.
With a book you are never lonely. A book is a refuge, a friend, a buffer against boredom; books have the power to make you feel deeply, to laugh, to cry, to feel outrage or horror and ultimately, reading gives you knowledge and knowledge is power.