Why reading gives you impossible life experiences

“I turn to the one thing that has been there for me since I was a toddler: books,” says the author. Above, some of her favorite titles

As I engaged in a grueling fight to the death representing my district in “The Hunger Games,” my parents called me for dinner. In seconds, the arena dissolved and I was back in the four corners of my bedroom. What once were real people and places blurred into the same 26 letters of the alphabet, only arranged differently for each word. “I need to get back to that later,” I told myself.

In a world of pandemics, wars, and the looming effects of climate change, we all need an escape. While some my age turn to methods such as video games or binge-watching Netflix, I turn to the one thing that has been there for me since I was a toddler: books.

The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

My mom gave me an illustrated children’s Bible when I was 4, and to her amazement, I learned how to read the simple passages in the book. She and my dad were thrilled, more than willing to foster the bookworm I was becoming. They bought me as many books as I wanted, got subscriptions to e-books and even suggested certain novels they thought I might like.

An escape

The Fault in our Stars

While things changed as the years passed, my love for books stayed the same. I distinctly remember being the only person left in my fifth-grade classroom during lunch because I wanted to read “The Fault in Our Stars” instead of play tag.

Not many people understood my love for books, though. Especially back in middle school, a lot of my classmates were confused.

To kill a mockingbird

“Reading is so boring. Why would you read?” they asked. After being asked this question over and over throughout the years, I’ve come up with a few steady answers.

First, as I said before, reading provides an escape. When I come home after a particularly hard day at school, I can take a quick vacation to the Green Gables, or solve a mystery with Holmes and Dr. Watson. Reading allows me to get sucked into another world, without even leaving my house.

the adventures of sherlock holmes

Second, you’re never alone when you have books. Particularly during the pandemic, I rarely saw other people, leading me to run to my favorite fictional characters. They made me laugh, smile and even cry as some authors have an amazing ability to make characters that truly feel like real people. Though I am well aware that books aren’t a substitute for actual friends, they do provide comfort when you can’t see people in real life.

Finally, reading gives you life experiences impossible in this world. The lives we can live in books constantly break the boundaries of reality. You can fly, study magic at an English boarding school or fight alongside Greek gods to fulfill a prophecy; the only thing that bounds you is your imagination.Because of all of these reasons, I highly suggest picking up a book today. Who knows? You may end up in the sleepy town of Maycomb looking for Boo Radley, or in a spaceship contributing to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” —CONTRIBUTED