Books suck. Ask a high schooler what the last book they read was and they’ll probably respond with something that displays the letters “AP” on the cover. As we grow up, reading for pleasure often gets put to the back burner, as school takes first priority. Additionally, in the dawn of the technological age, this phenomenon has worsened as we have grown accustomed to the instant gratification our phones provide us.
The graph to the right shows some recent statistics regarding reading amongst teens. The data displays the decrease in reading habits according to age as well as the large portion of people that are not reading frequently. The considerable health benefits of reading should be motive enough.
Gone are the days of Harry Potter, now the only thing we read are the descriptions on Netflix. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By starting small, with one of these ten books placed into three categories, it’s possible to rekindle your love for reading or even spark an interest for reading that was previously non existent.
“There is a lot of time needed for reading for fun and usually reading for school or other school work takes top priority,” says senior Tina G. The simple solution? Shorter books. Shorter books are perfect for those who find it too tedious to finish a 500 page novel.The ones listed are relatively short, and either have large fonts or fewer page numbers in comparison to other books.
Fahrenheit 451 is a literary classic and one of my favourites. It’s about a futuristic society where books have been outlawed and is great for people that enjoyed dystopian series such as Divergent and The Hunger Games. The Alchemist, another popular read is the shortest book here and it’s full of adventure while maintaining a hard hitting philosophical message. It’s essentially a self-help book told through a fascinating story.
The Bell Jar and When Breath Becomes Air, address serious topics such as mental and physical illness but they are by no means a drag. When Breath Becomes Air, a true story about a doctor who develops cancer brings about a meaningful message about the value of life and coming to terms with death, something we will all inevitably face. The Bell Jar is a very real account of what it is like to struggle with depression based on Sylvia Plath’s own personal experiences. This book though the topic isn’t light, the book was extremely powerful to me and Plath’s remarkable prose had me rereading paragraphs over and over.
For senior Sanya L. She finds it difficult to stay focused on her book when she’s reading saying, “I really do like reading, I just find it hard to remain engaged and I can’t find books that can capture my attention for long periods of time and I end up just spacing out”. While there are many thrilling books out there, here are just a few picks.
“I loved The Girl on The Train though, it’s probably one of my favourite books, ” says Sanya. The Girl on the Train is an engrossing psychological thriller about an alcoholic woman involved in a missing persons case. This book, full of twists was eventually made into an award winning movie. Stolen, a slower paced book is an intriguing novel about a girl who is writing letters to her captor. This book, being in the Young Adult genre is not a difficult read but is still interesting for all audiences. Finally Born a Crime is an autobiographical book from the Comedian Trevor Noah filled with stories from Trevor’s childhood in South Africa. “When my teacher recommended this to me I was hooked,” says sophomore Nat F His humor and countless hilarious escapades make it impossible to put this one down.
Finally if shorter books or really exciting books aren’t your jam, here is the final category of books for people who hate reading: easy reads. “I really recommend YA novels or short stories for people who struggle with reading or don’t find it enjoyable,” says junior Mihika I. Young Adult novels are usually catered towards a teenage audience and tend to be easy to comprehend as well as quite relatable to high schoolers. Thousands of short stories are available online, but having them compiled into a book makes them far easier to access.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looking for Alaska are two incredible novels that everyone must read before graduating high school. Like many YA novels, both center around similar elements of the teenage experience: falling in love, dealing with mental illness, finding ones place and coping with loss. Welcome to the Monkey House however is far from being classified as YA and is a compilation of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. These stories while seeming amusing are dripping with satire and will definitely pique your interest.
There is no doubt that it takes a lot of effort to start something you’ve hated or avoided all your life, but once you start reading and truly immerse yourself in it you will be able to reap the countless benefits. And, now, as we are increasingly searching for inspiration and adventure beyond the walls of our homes, adding some fuel to the bookwork in you is all the more attractive. It just might be the escape you need.