By, SAVANNAH KLUESCHNER
There’s a lot of information out there. Whether through magazines, television, or news apps, there are constantly expanding resources available for learning opportunities, including both information that is current and that which is yesterday’s news. But what about books? Often a neglected resource, books and reading are essential to our understanding of one another as human beings, especially in today’s world. Indeed, reading is a great way to expand not only your intellect but also your compassion and empathy.
Perhaps, as an elementary education major with plans to become a reading specialist, I am biased in my opinion of the importance of reading and its implications on society. But the positive effects of reading cannot be underestimated. Reading is an interactive activity; to fully engage, a person must commit to being in the narrator’s shoes, seeing what he or she sees and understanding what he or she understands. Often, the author takes the reader to unfamiliar places and landscapes, whether they be fantastical or ordinary. By urging the reader to imagine this new world, the author not only encourages creativity, he or she also encourages empathy. As the reader experiences the world through the characters’ eyes and learns to think about situations differently than he or she otherwise might have, the individual also begins to apply these concepts to everyday life. If a person can see the world from a fictional character’s perspective, it is likely that he or she can also see the world from another living person’s perspective.
Although the practice of reading is hugely important to young children, as it increases excitement to learn, it is also a good skill for adults to practice. Reading can increase vocabulary and help improve grammatical and spelling skills, all of which are things you are never too old to learn.! But the benefits extend beyond the classroom: from reading comes critical thinking that can help people exceed in the real world and make sense of a reality that can often be confusing and frightening. Indeed, the right book can forever change the way a person looks at the world because at their core, books are our most effective method for creating social justice. Some famous examples of this, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, just scratch the surface of literature that has had real-world impacts.
One of the most common reasons why people claim they do not read is because, to them, it is boring. Anyone that says this, however, has simply not found the right book for them. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare or Milton to change your life; many contemporary writers, such as J. K. Rowling, Angie Thomas, and Stephen King address social issues in their novels and seamlessly incorporate ideas such as discrimination, drug use, and bullying into their novels, all while providing an entertaining experience for the reader.
So, if you’re looking to grow your mind, pick up a book the next time you’re in the library.! If you’re looking for some suggestions, these are just a few books that might just change the way you view the world:
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Night by Elie Wiesel
Luna by Julie Anne Peters
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
GRAPHIC OF BOOKS | GRAPHICS BY HANNAH COHEN