As a teenager, when I tell people that I love to read I receive a variety of interesting glares. Adults look confused, as if it is the most outrageous thing they have ever heard, while my teenage colleagues look plain disgusted. When people see me reading they stare or even make jokes, but I don’t mind; I know they will never know the joy of being transported into another world. As cheesy as that sounds, reading is truly does let you experience different cultures, mindsets and realities.
I feel as if there is a misconception about reading. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make you a nerd, or uncool to want to get lost is a great book. My generation too often sees reading as a passtime limited to working through 1984 and the literary classics that are assigned in class. Yet there are so many different genres of books for you to discover.
My current personal favorite genre is Y/A (young adult) fiction. I have just finished All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton. This book offered me a deep understanding of what it is like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Before that, I read If I stay by Gayle Forman, a novel which became a very popular movie that I am sure many of you have seen. Both books are about totally different worlds, and each engulfed me just as much as the other. One moment I was watching Lennon in All Our Broken Pieces find her way in a new town while simultaneously trying to cope with her OCD, the next I saw Mia fighting for her life after a horrible car crash in the middle of a cold Oregon winter. Yes, these are escapes. But the sensation of immersing oneself in a story well-told is like no other.
“Reading before you sleep reduces stress by 68%”Source: University of Minnesota
So how does it feel to read for pleasure? In my case, reading brings me a sense of peace. No matter how insane my life is, no matter how stressful school is, I know I can always find solace in visiting another world. I can be placed in the middle of a war, the deepest reaches of space… or… the middle of a war in space! That wild escape is what reading is all about. Reading is a more engaging and active pursuit than watching a movie, as you’re forced to utilize your imagination. You can fabricate what the characters and scenery look like, creating a personalized adventure within the world of the story.
But don’t just take my word for it; studies have shown that reading before you sleep reduces stress by 68%. As we all know, every SAS student could benefit for a little bit of stress relief. Reading also helps improve your memory, due to the many elements in a story, and concentration. There are many other benefits that could really help our community here at SAS, such as vocabulary expansion and improved concentration.
Izzy Burnett, a senior at SAS, sees reading as a “a good pass time”, though she doesn’t read much. “I want to start reading more, I’m older now and quite bored,” Izzy claims, though she did admit that she still prefers movies over books. As she wants to be a forensic psychologist, she recognizes that crime novels give her an inside look into her future pursuits. “Reading my own choices has helped me expand my attention span, not to mention make it more natural to analyze text in english class.”
Still, we don’t have to see pleasure reading as an exercise to boost performance, grades, or stress reduction. At the end of the day (quite literally, for me), the pleasure of picking up a book that I chose on my own account is unrivalled. Through emotional well being to the expansion of our knowledge, reading is a rewarding way to spend a few minutes or endless hours. Try it and see: grab something that interests you, get comfortable, and prepare to de-stress and adventure into a new reality.