I love books. I love the world that you escape to, the characters you love and the ones you don’t, the beauty of long descriptive paragraphs and, most importantly, the escapism that comes hand in hand with reading. I find that reading is so much more effective than watching TV, in this way, because although you watch a different world on TV you are but watching. In a book, you are there. You are inside the world, sometimes inside the character, you feel their feels, think their thoughts and suffer their pain. The description of the world is so vivid that your mind (and indeed soul) cannot help but sink into it. With TV, you may only see the world and hear the voices. The difference is undeniable.
When I was younger, I was a total bookworm. Whenever the teachers could manage to forcibly remove me from the safety and comfortable warmth of the school building, I would sit in the courtyard and read silently, no matter how many of my friends annoyingly interrupted me. I was that kinda kid. I read book after book after book, never stopping, never repeating. I could never understand why my sister would read the same books time and time again, when, as I attempted to explain to her, there were and are so many exciting and beautiful new books to be discovered. She would tell me that she liked her books and carry on.
Now, almost everything has changed. My love for books will never die but the time and effort I’m willing to put into the has spluttered and died along with the excitement and zest to read I once had. Sometimes I think it’s because I’ve already read all the good ones. One of my guilty pleasures is reading again one of my pre-teen book loves, such as The Princess Diaries (those books were my life) or anything by Meg Cabot (Airhead is the best), and I still get such a kick out of them even though I know what’s going to happen. Also the laughs never fade! I understand what my sister used to do a lot more now.
I have decided that if I read anything now it’s going to be the Classics because everybody seems to like them and they’ll probably benefit me some day. I took out The Great Gatsby from the library at the beginning of summer, because, let’s be honest, it was small. I thought it would be fairly easy for me to finish it by autumn.
I have so far read ten pages.
I have also lost the book.
The library wants it back now (let’s hope I find it when I tidy my room) and I feel like I’ve been a really big disappointment to myself for not reading it. I quite liked to say that ‘I don’t have time’, but then I caught myself watching episodes of Cybill on YouTube that I’d already seen countless times, and I realised that time wasn’t the real problem.
The real problem is that I am no longer willing to give something in order to get something back. Instead I can just click a couple times, open my eyes in front of the screen and BOOM. Instant. It doesn’t matter that it’s not even half of the experience a book can give me.
Even when I’m sick of watching reruns or shows I couldn’t care less about just to pass the time, I still won’t pick up my book. Why? Because I think that watching pointless shows will bring me more joy than the book will. Now, this may or may not be the case. The joy a specific book will give me is indeterminable. What remains painfully clear is that reading will take effort (to think about what’s going on, the language, etc.) whereas reruns will definitely not. Your brain activity drops to a level lower than sleep while watching TV. And that is the appeal.
Does anyone else miss reading? Please leave a comment telling me how you feel, or if you still read on a regular basis (I salute and admire you).