Reading loses magic for students

By adviser Feb 26, 2021
Illustration: Isabel Sperry
Illustration: Isabel Sperry

As a child, I was a huge bookworm. I absolutely loved reading books. Everytime my mom took me to the local public library, I would check out anywhere from three to 17 books. While my mom stayed upstairs viewing the “adult” books on the main level, I would venture downstairs to the “kids” floor, which was a labyrinth of books for kids under 12. 

They had every kind of book, it seemed, from I Spy, to Candy Apple books, even My Weird School. When I became a teen, I gained access to the upstairs “teen-space.” This was where I discovered the joys of fantasy novels like the Twilight series and murder mysteries. Everytime I went to the library, I felt happy and excited to venture into a new fictional world. 

The library had comfy chairs where I could wait for my mom to check out her books with spaces to relax and read. I had my own private library card. I got to check out whatever books I wanted, for free too. If I am being honest, I find it hard to read in my free time now. 

I already read so many textbooks, articles and books for school that reading has been tainted. It has been this way for several years, as I got older and life got harder.  I wanted to read less and less over time. That spark of joy that I felt when I read has been depleted to nothingness. The spark is not there anymore. 

When I read my textbooks and readings for my various classes, I feel like an analyst, and there is no joy in that. It is just analyzing the words on the page for metaphors, maybe some “good” quotes and things that I might be tested on. I study and re-analyze these pages, not because I want to but because I need to. That need used to be much different. It used to be a need for adventure and exploration. 

Kids really depend on adults and their peers.  Unfortunately, they do not control much of their daily lives. But reading is something they can control. They can choose a book and be transported into a new world, explore and go on adventures, all from the comfort of their beds. 

Movies, although I love them dearly, rarely have the same effect. Movies are not as interactive, people can still watch and interact with them, but they only once in a while truly engulf you. 

Books engulf you into the plot, where you are the main character and the main character is you. That is the unique aspect of books, regardless of genre, you always get sucked in and you stay through to the end. Even after the end, when the book is over, it can be difficult to leave. There have been books and series where, even after I finished reading, I felt like I was still there. I was engulfed in the literary world I had been exploring, uncovering new adventures and surroundings, without actually going anywhere. 

I have never been outside of the United States. I have barely been out of the Midwest, but at the same time, I have been to 1,000 places. I have been to 18th century Russia, the Salem witch trials and early 2000s Hollywood. At the same time, I have been 1,000 people and led 1,000 lives. I have been accused axe murderess Lizzie Borden, French queen Marie Antoinette, even the famous Phantom of the Opera. 

Of course I have not actually been to any of these places or been any of these people physically, but I have achieved all of this through reading; many, many years of reading. Although I no longer read for pleasure or to satisfy that spark of joy, I still cherish the memories. The childhood nostalgia I have to look back on fondly. I encourage you, the reader, to read on. Read this article, then go read books, magazines and anything else you can find strictly for fun and not because of school obligations. 

By adviser

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