Today: Jun 17, 2024

Turn the pages on books, not tablets

Mackenzie Hurlbert – Copy Editor

I’ve been a bookworm since I learned to read. I went through all the Harry Potter books, The Series of Unfortunate Events, and (regrettably) the Twilight saga. I loved adventure books, mysteries, horror and sci-fi. In seventh and eighth grade. I read all the Stephen King books in my school’s library; much to my parents’ horror. High school was when I started to read more literary pieces and found the classic authors which I liked (Steinbeck and Faulkner) and the authors I disliked (Fitzgerald and Salinger). As a writer, I also read what I aspired to write, and this included horror fiction like the works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. Reading is entertainment for me. It’s relaxing. It’s therapy. But sadly, many people don’t see it as a pleasurable hobby or fun way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Why read? Why spend all that time sitting on your butt, staring at pages, when you could go interact with people, explore the world and experience reality? I’ve been posed these questions multiple times in my life, and while I do enjoy experiencing “reality” and I am quite social, books give me something reality usually doesn’t.

That is “reflection.” Books give us a window to see the world from an outside perspective.

Yes they give us adventures, romance and laughter, but by reading and experiencing the literary world through a good book, we are returned to reality with a new perspective on life and further reflection on our own lives. A good book can change the way we see the world. How often does that happen after a night out with your friends or when socializing at the coffee shop?  A good book is eye-opening and puzzling at the same time. It makes you think, question and reflect.

And while I do own a Barnes and Noble nook and enjoy the convenience of it, I prefer the heft of an actual, printed book and the physical flip of a page. The nook is nice when I’m in the dorm room because it’s a compact and easy to store. I have about 20 books on it, and I know I wouldn’t have room to store them as hardcopies in my dorm room.

But while the nook provides convenience, it can never, ever,  provide the same reading experience as an actual book.     Take Moby Dick for example. It is fitting for a book about a whale to be a hefty weight. It adds to the whole reading experience, and it’s almost as if the weight of the whale is in your hands. Not only is Ahab and Ishmael’s voyage an arduous journey, but reading the whole book is also a weighty task; hence the fitting heft of a hard-cover copy. Now switching over to an e-reader, the weight of the whale is lost, there is no physical reminder of how many pages you have left to go, and somehow the whole novel seems different. It is reasons like this that make me prefer a physical book than an e-reader.

Let a book take you places and introduce you to cultures you’ve never heard of. Let it open your eyes, increase your awareness and spur self-reflection. I love to read, and while I know some people say they don’t enjoy it, I think they just haven’t found the right book yet.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some interesting food for thought from infographicpost.com and scholastic.com:

-The average American college graduate reads about five books in his life after graduation.

-Each year 360,000 new books are produced in the English language.

-About one-sixth of the time spent reading is lost because of regressive eye movements.

-Students who read widely and frequently are higher achievers than students who read rarely and narrowly.

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