On the Topic of Reading

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Here’s the catch: people who read uninteresting material do not like to read. It is a most unfortunate problem in today’s society because reading is very important in developing one’s cognition. Reading improves comprehension, memorization, language technique, and many other valuable skills. Reading is almost as essential as breathing in its importance in developing one’s imagination. For one not to take advantage of his/her ability to read is a waste of potential. People who do not like to read have a logical reason for their dislike: they read boring books.
All too often I have seen my friends and siblings challenged by the fact that reading can be mundane and dreadful. A prime example of one of these people is my sister who reads to “improve her intelligence,” so she reads books such as 600-page biographies on Einstein. She never finishes them; she usually stops at page 50 or so. She does not enjoy reading, so it boggles my mind as to why she would persist in trying to read a book like that. She wishes to extend her vocabulary, but that is difficult to accomplish when you read a book that has three scientific jargon words in each sentence. Instead of trying to challenge herself with dull, lengthy books, she should aim to read books that capture her interest.

One of the hardest things for a non-reader is identifying a good book to read. Well-known classics are often the first choice for many people. Unfortunately, classics are not classic because they are new, rather, they are classic because they are old and sometimes extremely difficult to read. I enjoy reading, but classics just as easily discourage me to read as a sunburned man is discouraged to go outside. As a freshman, I was required to read Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. It is older than America, and some of the words look like they were random letters arranged by a monkey. It was the most difficult diction I have ever read, but it was also the greatest story I have ever read because it took hold of my deepest emotions. I am an avid reader, so I have developed a strong reading comprehension, but a non-reader has difficulty comprehending the greatness of that story because the meaning is obscured by nineteenth-century diction. A non-reader who reads this book will most likely be affected negatively and finish it (or not) with a closed mind. He will think to himself, “If classics are supposed to amazing, then non-classics must be terrible.” This clearly is not the case. One must just find the right book to read that suits his personal needs.

Reading is powerful because it can help build who you are and who you want to be. A good book will affect you positively when you read it. It provides you with information or an experience, and it leaves you enlightened. A good book can change your perspective on life, and it can even change the way you live. I recently saw my brother reading a book called Body Language for Business to help him prepare for medical school interviews. It certainly provided him with valuable information, and it is possible that he may use what he learned from the book again someday. The point is that any book can affect you greatly, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. A good nonfiction book to read would cover a topic that interests you or teaches you how to do something useful. A good fiction book will spark your emotions, and captivate you to keep reading other books. Useful information and exceptional diction are side benefits of good fiction. A bad book is dry and boring; it discourages one from reading more. One who reads only bad books will not want to read anymore.


The reason I enjoy reading is that I read books that best suit me. The material I read teaches me valuable lessons and positively affects my lifestyle. I am a fan of space exploration, therefore, most of my choices in books are science fiction. My favorite novel is 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke because it takes my interests and shapes them into a fantastic story. The story has influenced my view on the reasons for space exploration and showed me why it is important. The main character was much like myself, and that helped me connect with the book. When you read a good book, you should literally finish it with a new view on something in life.

Those of you who read this may be wondering why I discussed the importance of reading if you yourself already understand that concept because you are reading this column right now! I discussed this problem because it simply needs to be addressed. All of my siblings in college have told me that they wished they would have read more during their adolescence. Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them!” Take advantage of your unique skill.





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