Why you should read more books
I don’t just mean any old books.
Read Young Adult literature, because it helps us relate with one another. It reminds us that we are not young adults struggling by ourselves in a world that just doesn’t seem to sympathize or understand us, and that creepy men in their thirties know what strife we’re grappling with. Stories with happy endings give us hope, brightening the path to what now looks like a dismal future; meanwhile, stories where everything does not end up okay remind us that this world that we live in is imperfect. Not every loose end is tied, not every secret is revealed, and there are always many “what-ifs” left unanswered. But this genre of literature helps us angsty teens cope, situating its main characters and supporting characters in positions that feel familiar.
High quality YA literature centers on characters with defects and flaws that we each very well could be, and not perfect, beautiful people that we aspire to be but ultimately cannot be. These broken people will still be role models in a sense, whilst still navigating complex trains of thought within their minds to demonstrate just how unfinished their story is.
When you close the book, you’ll be left wondering how the rest of the peoples’ lives play out, but what I appreciate is that most YA books don’t follow their character’s lives to the very end, and in fact, being left wondering provides you, the reader with a wide variety of possibilities.
If you are a young adult, save the mature grownup books for when you’re a (questionably) mature grownup. Here and now, you’re still young, and it feels like you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. Yet you are comfortably situated in a period of your life where there’s a lot of freedom than you are comfortable with, but there seem to be so many possible paths your life could take. And YA augments this sensation because of all of the cheesy plot twists and dramatic “didn’t-see-that-coming” moments that we ought to welcome into our lives.
Keep the English books in the English classroom, and don’t treat this reading experience as a homework assignment, and if you don’t like annotating, then ditch the pen. It’s all about following a plot, and making mental notes to yourself, so that if you ever feel compelled to read the story again, you’ll approach it in a new light, and every re-reading seems like you’re reading it for the first time again. If you’re one of those students that constantly feels like they are reading too much into the text, then Young Adult literature is your outlet.
In a world where youngsters have grown up with their noses buried in their phones or their computers, it seems that we’re reluctant to part with technology. Well, put aside the Kindle and actually pick up a book. Crack the spine and take the time to read it somewhere where you can’t be bothered, like your bathtub or bed. Look at stains and bent pages not as nuisances, but rather signs of love and nurturing. That brown mark doesn’t really cover up words, but instead makes you think back to the time when you read something so humorous that you laughed, rocking back and forth, spilling your drink.
It’s not that we’ve grown out of reading, we just don’t read like we used to when we were more innocent and less stressed. We’ve found other leisurely activities and had less time to settle down with a thick book. But if we keep putting it off, will we ever get around to that magical feeling of getting lost in a book? Is it an activity so outdated that it’s worth abandoning?
Thanksgiving Break is approaching soon, and just shortly afterwards is Winter Break. What will you be doing?
I’ll probably be stressing about college, eating, not exercising, watching TV, and shopping. But I will definitely make time for my favorite coming of age novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
– Join the young adult blog party!
greetings from the YA blog party group! This post came at a good time for me. I just graduated from college this past June and I thought I would immediately start devouring books again. Not so! I think I’m going to have to train myself to start reading on a regular basis. Since I graduated from high school, I’ve acquired a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, and countless other distractions. None of these come close to a book, though.
Hello! Glad you enjoyed this post!
Sometimes techy gadgets don’t have to be distractions; for example, this blog party is pretty kicking, don’t you think? Haha, but yes, I agree, nothing comes close to the sensation of reading a book. I love getting lost.
Great post, Catherine. Although I was a true, mindless clod as a young adult, somehow my parents had inculcated a deep love of books and reading in me. It’s something that stayed with me my entire life. Certainly that had much to do with my eventually becoming a literature professor.
I mentioned before (in our comment exchange on my blog) that I’d be following yours and I’m glad I am. Yes, you write very well, but even more important to my way of thinking, you’re a thinker, too. Hard to find thinkers easily, regardless of age.
Thanks, Mr. Rice. It’s so interesting to hear that you became a literature professor, and I wonder where my life has led me, because I’ve always loved reading books (especially novels) ever since I was a little kid. In elementary school, I once read 27 books in one day!
Thanks again for reading; I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! Looking forward to hearing your comments in the future.
Great post, but did you seriously use the word “youngsters” to describe your own generation?
Was your concern about the term itself, or the fact that I might be trying to differentiate myself as one?
No concern. I just thought it was really funny. You don’t usually hear teens talking like that. I get funny looks when I try to talk like that.
Haha, that’s definitely true. Are you a teen writer??
Yep. Currently editing my first book. Also, I have a blog, which I don’t suggest reading if you are allergic to opinions. Otherwise, check me out!
YOU ARE A TEEN AND YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK? HOW RAD! I’ll definitely check out your blog!
Thanks. The book writing part was fun. The editing process is soooo boring.
Loved this post because it’s so true. It’s been a while since I was truly lost in a book and i miss the feeling.