Why read?

July 2, 2009
By Janelle Chang BRONZE, Hong Kong, Other
Janelle Chang BRONZE, Hong Kong, Other
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

This piece of writing is about the merits of reading, and why you should read. (Gasp! Shocker!) Here we go. Reading is basically the only thing, besides writing, that I can call a blessing. A privilege that we take for granted every single day.

First of all reader, reading is one of the few inexpensive pleasures that many choose to indulge in every day. Through reading, vocabulary, grammar, and fluency in the language can be enhanced. Even to the point that you need not even think before filling in a grammar or vocabulary question. The words just come like inspiration, free-flowing and spontaneous.

Besides that, reading is as comforting as a warm blanket. It can make people with the hardest of hearts laugh, cry, or sympathize. It is a refuge to the hurt and sad.

An example for this is myself. I remember coming home one day from school, crying. The reason for this, I cannot recall, but the tears were literally streaming down my cheeks. And all I had to do in order to stop it was to go up to the bookshelf and remove a volume from the shelves. As soon as I opened it, I felt a sense of warmth and comfort radiating from the kind pages of the book. The pages beckoned, and whispered their stories. Reading was, and still is, one of my greatest pleasures. I prefer it to anything else, even the computer or television. Books are inexpensive, and can be obtained through the library, or borrowing from others. The pros far outweigh the cons.

From reading, you can get well-articulated arguments, with clever and true points to express your views. A witty joke, or a hilarious jest, can be remembered from reading to amuse others as well as yourself. Reading contributes to your way of thinking. The author’s words influence and give you ideas that you can plow through, which you can then decide on their validity.

However controversial the books may be, they can never be completely destroyed. Take history books which account for the many atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers during World War II. Though Japan inevitably denies and avoids the subject, it’s only one country. The truth cannot be erased. The books are perpetual accounts of the past that cannot be eliminated. There are just too many.

Not just the subject of war. Religion, politics, and other topics are written about and published. People read the books, discuss it with other friends who have not read them, and those friends will repeat the cycle. So you see, reading continues the never-ending cycle.

Reading allows the reader to experience any event for themselves. For example, the main character in a book is stuck in a locked room while fire burns the outside. The reader will be in that character’s shoes as well, cowering as the heat slowly seeps in from the outside. Wars in many parts of the world are documented and written about in magazines and newspapers. An average person reads them and is transported to the site, watching as bombs detonate and gunfire echoes around the vast land.

The prose of the author and the words he or she uses will take you to a different universe. Through reading, you can visit exotic places like China, Arabia, India, Europe, Rome, without leaving your home. The words alone can catapult and transport you to a completely magical world. Creatures and characters leap off the pages, and you can visualize them vividly as if they were right before you. Wizards, elves, unicorns, fairies, thieves, kings, princesses, everything under your nose.

Reading can teach you many facts about life and almost every subject under the sun. There are sources like books and internet pieces on practically everything, computers, languages, science, math, and so many more. You can pick up new knowledge through reading, soaking them up like a sponge into your fertile mind. Reading, it is truly the magical thing that I think all of us should experience for ourselves.

If all the points above have not changed your mind, please continue reading the last part. It will make you realize why you should really run down to the nearest bookstore and get yourself a glossy novel, or pry open the old cupboard and retrieve the yellowed books that you stashed in there since you entered school.

If you think that reading a book in public makes you a geek, read the next bit carefully. For those who read widely and aren’t afraid to do it in front of their peers, good for you! But do continue to read, this argument might come in handy the next time someone asks you why you read.

As for those who believe reading is a waste of time, ask yourself this question: Does everyone in the world have the pleasure of being able to read? Think about it. It should be a no-brainer.

Er, no! Ask your parents. I bet that they’ll tell you no and ask you to read the National Geographic magazines that talk about the underprivileged children in third-world countries.

For those intelligent stars who said no, congratulations, you're halfway there to realizing why you should read. Look, not everyone can read. Though they’d like to, some just can't. Maybe it’s because they can't afford it, or maybe because there simply isn't a luxury available in their war-torn country.

“True,” you might say, “but what’s it to me? It’s none of my business.” Fine, it isn't any of your business. So what? That’s a lame excuse for the lazy. If it isn't any of your business, make it your business. I repeat, make it your business. Do you think it’s any of my business if you guys out there read or not? Obviously not, but I made it my business to write this article.

There are thousands, no millions, of children your age who are illiterate. They wish they could read and learn more about the world, but they can't. Books are sometimes completely unavailable in the country. Home school isn't an option. Most of their parents can't even read. Education is provided, sometimes for free, by charity organizations. But to get there, some even risk their lives to walk a short distance to a collapsing shack or open space where lessons are conducted. They sprint to the classrooms for the sake of obtaining an education, to learn their alphabets and read. Despite the bombs exploding everywhere, and the stray bullets whizzing though the air, they continue on.

Once they reach the godforsaken school, they drop their bags on the dusty ground and sit at the rudimentary desks. Most are fashioned out of rough planks or pieces of cardboard. Worse case: there are no desks at all. Those unlucky children end up squatting or sitting in the dirt, looking up at the teacher. In summer, their sweat drips down their cheeks, mingling with the filth on the ground. Mosquitoes eagerly feed on their blood and flies pester them constantly. In winter, they huddle together and lessons continue, regardless if there’s a monsoon or a typhoon outside. Total concentration and dedication.

Now look at you, you're probably sitting in your bedroom, at your nice smooth desk, playing the newest Kelly Clarkson or Eminem song, sipping from a can of chilled soda. Maybe you have an electric fan blowing at you, keeping you cool in the heat of summer. Some may have turned on the air-conditioner. You sit there, idle and complacent. I don’t think you're really itching to get back to school right? You're still recovering from a traumatic school year. Even if you do get back to school, you don’t really like it. The thing that makes it bearable is friends. You chat and chat until the absolute last moment. Then you’ll turn off your brain while the teacher is talking and dream on. When you get home, it’s the phone, MSN, music, all the way. No books. It’s a taboo topic. A nerdy thing to do. Only losers with slow social lives actually (The horror!) read.

Do you have to dodge flying grenades or bullets on your way to school? Do you fear for your life the instant you’ve left your house? Have you ever experienced that? No. You haven't. Do you rejoice the second you get a new book to read? No way. You wait until the giver is gone before you toss it in the general direction of the shelf reserved for unwanted books.

You know that you're not really the role model for gratitude, and you feel a little guilty sometimes. Yet you sit there, wasting the education that your parents have paid for and given to you. You can read. You can write. You have the means to afford books that are just begging to be read. Why don’t you? Can you think of a legitimate reason not to read? No, because there isn't one. It’s your choice. You can choose to ignore me and continue doing what you were doing, or you can change and make use of the education you’ve been given. Read, expand, and learn.

I can only do so much by writing this piece. Think about this seriously. Do you think you're really using reading to the fullest? If you are, congratulations, I have nothing more to say. If you still think you aren’t, try harder. Just by reading a little bit of that monstrous mound of paper each day, you're already off the hook. Have fun and do everything you want to after that. You're free! Do the same each day, and soon, you’ll find that you love it. And it is no longer a chore, it is a joy.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jul. 16 2009 at 8:03 pm
Hallie Messenger BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
4 articles 0 photos 21 comments
wow. this is a really great piece. I've always loved reading and am always astounded when people say they hate to read. It is a great thing. Thanks for writing this article, it needed to be done... not only is it accurate but it is well written as well.

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