My Love for Written Words

My Love for Written Words

By Mehek Azra, 15, New York

How do you survive reality? That is a question that had me pondering for years. Every individual has his/her own coping mechanism. Mine is reading. And that may sound strange but I would not survive in a world with no books. Ever since I could read, I did. Although I wasn’t much of a reader when I was younger. I mostly read the books that were required for my class. My first ever book series that I read was the Harry Potter series, which is why it will always have a special place in my heart. But it’s not just that. The Harry Potter series had introduced me to the fantasy world. It showed me a way to shift to another reality. I can never stop recommending it to others, even if fantasy isn’t their favorite genre. (Which is a sure sign of madness if you ask me.)

I don’t read classics or any educational books unless I’m required to. I mostly read fantasy. Fantasy has a lot of world building in it and I want to read books that are less likely connected to the real world. So that is an assumption people make about me when they find out that I’m a reader: I am a nerd and a gifted student. That is a misconception and a truly great one. Encountering with someone who has his or her face buried in a book may give you the wrong impression sometimes. I read for fun, not necessarily for knowledge. The knowledge I get is a bonus. If I don’t enjoy reading a book, I will most likely put it down because there are many other books that will pique my interest.

I love reading. But I never exactly understood why before. Everyone reads for a reason; whether it is for school or for personal enjoyment. If you are a reader, ask yourself what is it that you love about reading and why? Here are a few reasons that make reading fun:

  1. It is a form of escapism

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are” —Mason Cooley

When my life gets too overwhelming and insolvable, I just open a book. I let the words consume me and make me forget about reality. I love the feeling that I get when I’m so lost in a fictional world that nothing outside of it matters or makes any sense. It leaves my head in the clouds. Avoiding conflict and life problems may not be the best idea but sometimes you need to divert your mind for some temporary peace of mind. Books become my therapy, my consolation. When I read, I feel at home.

2. Problem solving skills

“The trouble with fiction is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.” —Unknown

Reading fantasy broadens my imagination. It increased my capacity of showing empathy to others. I can easily put myself in others shoes to try to understand their point of view. I became more creative for problem solving in real life. Think about it. Suppose you finish reading a murder/mystery books, you are going to grasp some concept related to conspiracy. It will then allow you to apply that in real life and maybe even solve a case. For me, it had mostly to do with how I perceive things around me. I think about all the possible solutions while I’m faced with a problem. And I am open to different ideas and I always have a hope that anything is possible.

3. Discovering yourself

“Always keep a book in case of an emergency; like a social gathering.” —Unknown

Have you ever read a book with a story that completely devoured you? Have you read a book that changed your perspective and mindset? I definitely have. In a fiction/fantasy book, we get introduced to a lot of diverse characters. Each character has different goals in life, an interesting life story and distinct personality. You may not be able to resonate with them all but sometimes you get to learn new things about yourself. I go for books with characters that are wholly different from me but sometimes I find myself discovering new passions and hobbies after reading about a character that I loved.

4. Increases vocabulary

“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”   —Samuel Johnson

As mentioned earlier, the knowledge I get from reading is truly a bonus. However, reading has improved my writing skills by a lot. Not only can I write better, but also I can speak more fluently than I did before. Like reading, writing is also one of my hobbies. Every author has a different writing style. Some are very descriptive, some are poetic and some are more like freestyle. After reading a lot of books, I realized what kind of writing I enjoy reading the most. And that is poetic. I like it when authors use a lot of metaphors and other figurative language. I also enjoy descriptive ones. But when it comes to writing, I write mostly nonfiction prose, which is freestyle.

5. Fictional characters become my consolation

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” —Paul Sweeney

As a person who has only a few friends, I can easily confide in fictional characters. They may be fictional but they feel real to me. Whenever I finish reading a book and put it down, I go through the “mourning” phrase. Occasionally, our brain can’t tell the difference between real and fictional people because we get so attached to them and we refuse to believe that they are imaginary. That would explain why we sometimes get the book “hangover.” We struggle to pick up another book and start reading it because our mind is still lingering in the book we just finished. The feeling of having one or more comfort characters is phenomenal. Nonetheless, the moment I realize that my love for them is trapped between pages and won’t be real, it will honestly put me in a reading slump—a book hangover.

Reading decreases stress levels and can overall make a person happy. It’s not just a lot of words clustered on a piece of paper. You will enter a whole different world. You can start dreaming again and be more compassionate. If you say you’re not a reader, you just haven’t found the right book yet.

By Mehek Azra, 15, high school sophomore, New York. She is Bengali (from Southeast Asia).

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