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La Cañada High School

Opinion: Everyone should read more

Before you scrunch your brow at the implication of the headline (because obviously, everyone should read, no?), here is some much-needed context:

Reading is my passion. Books are my best friends. Books have gotten me through critical points in my life, providing a security blanket after first grade me ran out of the room in an after-school program, terrified out of my wits after watching the climactic scenes in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Books have gotten me through when I felt in need of comfort … in the form of an otherly world to dive into. 

What is the actual importance of reading, you may inquire?

Reading has planted seeds of knowledge, presented thought-provoking stories, taught Greek mathematics and ancient classical ideas, channeled themes of love and war and hatred and sparked revolutions and cultural reforms, among other incredible feats, according to National Geographic: The Greeks, (your book recommendation for the day: a book that especially showcases the true power of books and the sharing of ideas is “Fahrenheit 451”).

Despite the rise in technology, books will always remain as a constant, flexible fixture in society; technology a small hurdle that paperback books can easily cross, compared to the multiple book burnings and bannings in the past.    

In modern times, reading seems to be on the decline. Or at least in my sheltered bubble of life. I was always “the reader,” the class bookworm, or the book convert, wherever I went. My closest friends would not read as much as I did, if they read at all. 

However, in the wake of COVID-19, reading has seen a much-needed comeback in America. As reported by NPR, the weekly rate of e-book borrowing has rapidly increased by almost 50% after March 9. Young adult fiction e-book lending has risen a similar amount. 

Perhaps having “more time” enables us to spend it reading more. But that line of thinking is incorrect and heavily flawed. 

You can make time for anything (check out the book “Make Time” by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky). Set a part of your weekend aside to browse “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, or learn the secrets to becoming the ideal Prince in the book, “The Prince” (not to be confused with “The Little Prince”). 

Read. Educate yourself. Free the confinements of your imagination. Explore reality and the impossibility. Entertain the thought of one-footed dwarves, alternative worlds of beloved fantasy figures, magical spells and a secret chamber of secrets, a lively-minded and educated sister, and a young girl with fiery pigtails with a temper to match.

Release your stress, worries and anxiety. Reading can change your perspective and mindset forever. Don’t forget: read more, and start with some of the following suggestions.

  • C.S. Lewis’ “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” — one-footed dwarves
  • Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series — fantasy figures
  • J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series: magical spells and secret chamber 
  • Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” — educated sister 
  • L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” — a young girl with fiery pigtails