Why You Should Read More
Reading may be the best way to grow as a human. Vicarious experience allows us to explore new worlds and see into the minds of people who we’ve never known. We could topple kingdoms and raise empires. It allows us to live a thousand lives in one. But so few of us actually do it anymore. Kids who devoured Harry Potter books voraciously as kids can barely read a whole chapter in one sitting now. What happened?!?!
A part of why some of us stopped reading was due to the increase in school work and extracurricular activities as we went through school (currently, I’m writing this article for the GW Newspaper when I’d much rather be reading Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin). We have so little time to ourselves nowadays and it seems much easier to scroll on TikTok than to read A Song of Ice and Fire. As Moira Rose once said, “One must champion oneself and say, ‘I am ready for this!’” You’ll feel better about yourself for reading and learning something new than you would after seeing some random people dancing to some crappy music. Not having distracting apps on your phone like mobile games or social media gives you a lot more freetime than you would think. However, when I had TikTok I didn’t think it was harmful to me either, so people should do what they think is best for themselves.
The main reason for the writing of this article is to express the need to read. The state of the world isn’t the best right now. We need well read young people to grow up and do good in it. Most of the things we read in English class are fine, but they don’t necessarily inspire a love of literature. What humans respond best to are stories. Good stories. And good stories have themes that can be applied to an array of real life situations that teach us valuable lessons on morality and what it means to be a good person.
The main theme of the Dune series is that humans tend to follow a charismatic leader. That’s a bad thing because we tend to question them less than we should and follow them down dark paths. That is crucial to living in a democracy. We should never worship our politicians and always be critical of them.
The use of language is also declining. Moira Rose may be a charming fictional character with a stimulating lexicon, but her use of language is masterful. Reading builds your vocabulary better than membean ever could. With a larger vocabulary, your appreciation of language grows. You’ll start to use words that you could barely pronounce previously.
You’ll also start to understand subtle allusions in our culture. In one of the Simpsons episodes, there’s a scene where Lisa says that her meal is too spicy and that she could see the future. Other more obvious references such as nods to Of Mice and Men and The Odyssey will become clear, allowing you to laugh at more inside jokes.
To me, there are few things as pleasurable in life as reading a new book and loving it, leading you to discover the author’s whole bibliography and devouring that as well. A good author can make a reader feel like they’re talking to an old friend. They can make us cry and experience true joy. People who’ve experienced loss have very emotional experiences when reading the book Pet Sematary (personally, the only book I’ve ever cried reading was A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. R.I.P. M.A.T.). The Hobbit is a children’s story, but gives me a chuckle every page I turn. My hope is that more people will start reading again and we could all delight in the story of Bilbo Baggins of Bag End.