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Sam Dobson Writes: For the Love of Reading

Friday, November 18, 2011

For the Love of Reading

I love being involved in a book club. It might sound nerdy or even unappealing to some. Being an English major, all I did was read for four years of college. Since I’ve graduated, there has been no driving force to keep me reading. You might think that if I truly loved to read that I wouldn’t need a driving force. After graduation, it was nice to have a little break from reading and writing papers. Then life crept in and I sort of forgot about my favorite escape: reading. My girlfriends had organized a book club during my first semester of my last year of college. My required reading load was far too heavy and simply wouldn’t allow room to read other material. No longer being consumed by literature such as Elizabethan poetry, I was free to start participating in our book club.

The book club is a great discipline for people like me who love to read but sometimes forget to make time for it during a busy schedule. When I make time for my favorite pastime, I find myself pleasantly surprised at how much I love to read. It is the best escape, allowing you to remove yourself from your own reality for a bit. A book club gives you that extra motivation to just turn off the television and curl up with your book. Not only does a book club offer you that little bit of discipline, but it can also open your mind to new material.

We take turns picking the book that we are all to read and then discuss. Although we are best friends, we do all have a varied taste in literature. Jena prefers the gut-wrenching memoirs of anorexic girls and drug attics. Devin often finds herself reading the “critically acclaimed” novels. Emily seems to like a bit of everything, which is how I would describe my own selection of books. While the classics will always be just that, I can also let myself get completely involved in somewhat embarrassing teenage love novels about vampires. At the other end of the spectrum, I love a good drama and just about any memoir will hold my attention. That is the beauty of literature…there are so many roads to take. There are countless stories to dive into.

Some would argue that television and movies offer the same sort of escape. While I would agree that movies and cheap reality dramas do offer a bit of an escape from reality for viewers, I would also argue that it is a much different experience than the kind of escape reading offers. Reading takes effort and concentration. A good book can last you days, weeks, even months, depending on what kind of reader you are. With reading, you are forced to take yourself out of your comfort zones and really picture the words coming off the pages. You also have a bit of freedom with reading. There isn’t a beautiful model on the page as there is on television; there are descriptions that you can piece together yourself. There is a method and a reason as to why almost any woman reading a Twilight or Sookie Stackhouse novel can picture herself as the heroine. Reading allows for a more real-feeling escape. Our minds create what we read.

Having argued my opinions about reading to the point of babbling, I find it fitting to end with this Dr. Seuss quote:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”



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