The Value of Reading for Pleasure

- 4 mins

Here is why I love reading:

  1. When I read, I gain knowledge in the form of new perspectives, ideas, and facts. Knowledge is the key to success, and the more knowledge one can acquire, the more successful the person is.
  2. It can describe a predicament so exactly and unnervingly true.
  3. When reading fiction, I can be anything. I can do anything. Your mind is inside the magical roller coaster that is the book, and the possibilities are endless.
  4. It’s kind of scary to think that if I hadn’t read a book, would my life turn out differently? When I read 1984, I wondered if maybe our society didn’t turn out the way the book did just because the book was written and people read it.
  5. When you read other people’s writing, it can sum up your exact thoughts, yet offer an insight to how another person thinks about the situation. A different perspective on the same thing. It’s interesting how one idea can be expressed in so many different ways through writing. Reading also sums up the ideas you never thought you had.
  6. Every book has a token of knowledge. Some have many.
  7. Reading is a lot like a stadiometer. It measures your growth because every time you read a book again, you realize that the last time you read it, you were so much more naive and uneducated. I think the one of the most beautiful parts of life is seeing how much you’ve grown intellectually and emotionally, and reading can show you that.
  8. It’s humbling to know that there are so many people with so many ideas out there that you still haven’t read about yet.
  9. Through reading, I feel like I’ve lived and died so many times in my head. Life is so much more richer, so much broader, more deeper, with books.

As a child, I was a voracious reader. Before I could walk, I flipped through childrens’ books. Some of my happiest childhood memories are of coming home from the library with backpacks full of books, dumping them all on the ground, organizing them by height and category on my bookshelf, and becoming engrossed in the books as I transported into whole new worlds. As an elementary schooler, I participated in summer book-a-thons, reading 100 books one summer. My best friend and I would act out and make up new scenes from our favorite books, and we’d take off our shoes, run around the library, and read together at lunch.

I didn’t read particularly intellectual books as a kid—I read the whole Goosebumps series, Pendragon series, etc. I read non-fiction books, too; every week, I’d try to learn about a different topic. I’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter since first grade. But the books ingrained in me a sort of imagination I could not have gotten in any other way. They opened my mind and gave me whole worlds to think about, laugh about, and cry about.

Reading has made me the person I am today.

Sadly, though, I haven’t done much pleasure reading since middle school. I’ve done some, but not nearly enough as I used to. Most of my reading comes from books I really want to read or just books from my English class (which I admittedly love reading; this year, we’ve read a great selection of American literature, including The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, The Grapes of Wrath, among many others).

I’ve already started brainstorming plans for next summer (the summer before I head off to college!), and I’m super tempted to just get a ton of books and go to some remote place in Colorado or Switzerland or some rural place and just read. I still haven’t passed this idea by my parents yet, but this retreat is something I crave to make up for all of the stories and knowledge I missed from not reading for pleasure in high school. Another part of me wants to get a paid internship at some tech company, but I think this is the few summers I’ll really have time to do whatever I want, free of what I feel I should do.

I feel like I should probably prioritize reading for intellectual nourishment and pleasure from now on, even when I head off to college. Reading is a journey more than anything else. It’s a commitment to long-term development and learning. It’s something that our culture perhaps undervalues in our short-lived bursts of achievements.

comments powered by Disqus
rss rss facebook twitter github gitlab youtube mail spotify lastfm instagram linkedin google google-plus pinterest medium vimeo stackoverflow reddit quora quora