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Updated January 25, 2021

Reading Important Books

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Reading Important Books essay
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You may wonder why people go to the effort of reading a lengthy, drawn out novel when a good movie can present the same plot in a far more engaging manner with fine acting, vast scenery, and an original soundtrack. The idea of being confined to a still position, reading words off a never-ending stream of pages used to bore me. Looking back now I can see that I was definitely naïve to think that.

Throughout my days in junior primary, I always found the task of reading out loud to my parents to be a boring and annoying chore (and I’m sure they felt the same way). If you completed the home reading sheet with titles of new books you had finished, you were awarded a prestigious $2 canteen voucher, which was laminated pristinely onto coloured paper. Back in the day, $2 was a lot of cash for someone who didn’t know the difference between a gold and a silver coin. But this type of direct reward wore off with age and was completely non-existent by the time I got to high school.

Instead, teachers here always seemed to be blabbing on and on (no offence) about all the benefits of reading for as little as ten minutes each day! It was as if reading was the magic cure if you wanted better writing skills, a more advanced vocabulary, to be less stressed, or to feel relaxed while simultaneously getting smarter. Even still, the seemingly wonderful power of reading hadn’t quite appealed to me completely yet, plus the summaries on SparkNotes seemed just as good as the real thing.

More recently though, I guess in the past year, I found myself immersed more and more often in the wonderful, imaginative, terrifying and curious world of literature. Reading has taken a positive turn from being a burden of a task to a source of enjoyment and relaxation. Well that is, most of the time (no offence Shakespeare). But overall, I’ve uncovered a never-ending supply of vast topics and stories to explore with just the flip of a page. The diversity of human nature and the world itself are expressed uniquely through our language and conveyed to any audience that chooses to make reading a lifelong journey.

My personal discovery and exploration of literature has made me realise how extraordinary it is, but also how not enough people chose to uncover these wonders. A person can read about so many more experiences than one could possibly have in a lifetime, hear the voices of an infinite variety of characters, and explore imaginary places dreamt up in the minds of its creators.

Without trying to sound too overly inspirational, reading really does offer something special and unique unlike anything else in life. No matter what’s going on in the present, you can find a peaceful escape by immersing yourself in a world that is not your own. Reading stretches your imagination into something spectacular and fills your brain with knowledge and vocabulary. Books have provided me with safety and comfort whenever I was confused or upset in my own life. They were a safe escape and a peaceful oasis with the power to transport me places I never imagine I’d visit and expose me to ideas I would’ve never considered. If ever the stresses of work or school or everyday life became too overwhelming, curling up with a cup of tea and a book, my eyes glued to every page, made me forget everything wrong with the world until the moment I closed the cover.

Picking a favourite genre is a tricky question to answer. If I read a something that I understand, then I see the story unfold in my imagination, and I feel as if I’m right there with the characters, regardless of the genre or plot. That’s why I like so many types of books and can’t pinpoint just one – although if I had to choose my least favourite, sorry sci-fi but you’re the first cab off the rank. Fiction, however, would definitely be a top pick for me because there are endless possibilities and the author is completely free to craft a story in whatever way they desire. Being the history nerd that I am, I also enjoy historical fiction just as much as regular fiction. I love the ambiguity and mystery of a story that has the power to carry your imagination back in time, to learn new things and see new perspectives.

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is one such book that I finished reading recently, after studying WWII Germany in history class. This book was so special and shed a new light on the mistreatment of Jews during the Holocaust. The novel is set in Munich, Germany and follows the life of a curious young girl named Liesel as she steals and reads forbidden books, unlocking the power of knowledge. The metaphysical being of Death serves as a unique and cynical narrator of this inspirational, emotional journey through the horrific past.

I hope that in the distant future, when I am grey and frail and old, I’ll have shelves filled with stories I’ve collected throughout my lifetime, from all over the world. I hope that the black ink splashed across the crisp pages have enlightened me with wisdom, knowledge, compassion, and empathy. Whether or not reading has made me smarter, it has certainly provided me with hope and inspiration for the life I want to live, and the choices I want to avoid.

In the famous words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” and that pretty much sums up my argument. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the book I was reading.

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Reading Important Books. (2021, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/reading-important-books/

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