Column: In praise of librocubicularianism


I’m a proud librocubicularist. As much as you probably want this to mean I’m starting a new political party of which I will be its presidential candidate, alas, this isn’t the case. The Word Nerd party would be a better name, although “librocubicularist” is my current favorite sesquipedalian word.

To be a librocubicularist is to be someone who reads in bed. I love reading in bed. After kids are asleep and I’m winding down for the day, I read for about 20 to 30 minutes. And, for me, it has to be fiction. You see, I used to read nonfiction books about ways to help right the wrongs of the world, or about problems of injustice. While these books are definitely important, reading them before bed would get my mind ramped back up, leading to trouble sleeping.

When I’m lost in a good work of fiction (or even a so-so one), my brain can escape to a make-believe world where the outcome has no real-world ramifications. Right now, I’m about to finish Stephen King’s seven-book “Dark Tower” series for the fourth time. Each time I read it, I find new details. While King’s magnum opus may not be for everyone, I highly suggest you give Book 1, “The Gunslinger,” a try.

Reading for 20 minutes a day has incredibly positive effects on kids. For instance, if you read to your child for 20 minutes per day, they’ll be exposed to 1.8 million words per year. Spending screen-free time with your children gives you great bonding time and allows you to enter into literature as a team. My kids prefer different types of books, but our trips to the library always result in heaps of new worlds to explore.

For adults, reading slows the drying of mental cement from drying. I think we should all be life-long learners. To keep our brains nimble, we need to continually expose ourselves to new information and ideas. This can be in the form of fiction, nonfiction, philosophy, religious texts or even graphic novels. Reading keeps your imagination active and engages your brain. Reading teaches old dogs (i.e., you) new tricks.

I encourage you to become a librocubicularist. Whether you read physical or digital books, I recommend winding down your day in bed with a good book. It will allow your mind to forget the troubles of today as well as the challenges you’ll face tomorrow. After all, each day holds enough trouble of its own.