Surprised by a Love for Reading

Montana Malburg- When I came to the Yampa Valley High School you would never hear me say that reading was one of my favorite hobbies. In fact if you asked me how many books that have been assigned to us at the High School that I actually read you’d be disappointed to hear none at all. Little did I know that reading would become one of my biggest guilty pleasures. What gave me this love for reading? I was given the choice to read what I wanted and not what I was told was important. This is a key factor in getting more people into reading. However, regardless of if your book is assigned to you or not, reading is very important. Reading can expand your imagination and knowledge as well as relieve stress. This is how reading has helped me.

Books encourage imagination by taking you to new worlds and adventures that may of never occurred to you in your wildest of dreams. Whether you love romantic novels, horror, or fantasy there is always a book for you. With books you can imagine people and places just by the way they are described and you can even imagine yourself in the same situation. This gives readers more perspective on everyday life. Instead of seeing things in the box that is reality you can begin to draw outside the lines. I have personally experienced this through my love for fantasy novels. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite series of all time! Every time I open the pages I get transported to “the mountain walls of Mordor looming like a black bar of rugged clouds floating above a dangerous fog-bound sea.”  

Books are also good for gaining knowledge on an extensive number of topics as well as enlarging your vocabulary. They are always helpful whether you are just reading a textbook for a world history class or looking for information on a type of skill you’d like to acquire like cooking or learning how to knit.  Reading can also improve your concentration, memory, and writing skills. The National Center for Education Statistics said in April 2001 that students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reported having fewer reading materials. The more books you read the more you will open your eyes to new things you have never imagined. You also never know when your knowledge will come in handy.  It is a strong belief of mine that knowledge is one of the most powerful things to have because it can never be taken away from you; It can only grow.

My favorite thing about reading a good book is escaping from the real world even if it’s just for a little while.  Research conducted in 2009 at the University of Sussex showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress. Instead of being a 17 year old going to school and having work on top of everyday drama and dilemmas I can be an explorer traveling the world or a detective solving a mystery. Books relieve stress as well as give you a different perspective on life. Articles can also distract you and make you present in the moment while forgetting about your worries. Some make me thankful that I am just a normal girl who has an immensely blessed life compared to others out there.

Some may argue that reading “Isn’t their thing,” but I would say that you just haven’t found the right book yet. There are some books that I instantly know aren’t for me and some that I will finish in a day. My best advice would be to read at least a chapter or two of any book you choose to try. Get a feel for the characters and plot before making up your mind.

I’m not telling everyone to become huge bookworms, but, rather to be open-minded. If  you catch yourself wasting a lot of free time or get sick of attempting the same video game then think about expanding your mind with a good book. George R. R. Martin once said “A reader lives a thousand lives before they die.”