When a teacher tells you that your summer reading homework is to read a list of books, what is your first reaction? Do you grumble and groan? Do you procrastinate until the last moment possible? Stop and think how terrible the world would be without books. We should feel grateful we even have books at all, yet all I hear about books is negativity. Why has reading become such a hated activity?
Movies are commonly replacing books. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies just as much as anyone. It’s an amazing thing to see a book come to life on a screen. Unfortunately, more often than not, people ignore the books and look to the film adaptations of the story.
I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and a serious advocate for reading books before watching the movies. So it pains me to hear the responses of my peers when I ask them if they have read the Harry Potter books. The most common answer is, “I haven’t read any of the books, but I’ve seen the movies.” Unfortunately, the movies don’t provide the depth the books do. All the knowledge they have about the series is from the movies. If you think that should be enough, think again. They only know the plots to a certain degree. They think they know everything about the series, but there is so much more. Watching a movie is like scuba diving. But, instead of diving downward, you only skim the surface of the water. When you are reading a book, you dive deep into the water and discover a vibrant coral reef below. In other words, much of the book is lost when they are made into movies. Books are condensed and shortened to fit into our busy lives.
Beyond movies, a second form of technology that is causing us to avoid books is social media, which is enthralling us with the drama of the world. Media gives us all kinds of information that keeps us updated on the issues of celebrities and other significant figures. It is distracting us from the knowledge that will lead us to solve the problems that plague society. Books teach us lessons that we take for granted more often than not. If books were gone from the face of the Earth, where would we be? Scientific geniuses like Einstein and Isaac Newton would not have the information to spark the inspiration that led to so many life-altering discoveries. If books helped those incredible people to have these realizations, think what they could do for everyone. We need to give books a chance. Let’s set aside the media and learn the true ways of the world.
People complain that they have no time to sit down and read, but what they don’t realize is that their time is being swallowed up by electronics. People love the speediness of modern technology and how everything we need is right at our fingertips. When everything becomes so accessible, we become greedier for the next best thing. In our eyes, books are the slowest entertainment imaginable. Our impatience keeps us away from books and we need to overcome this obstacle. It’s not that we don’t have time for books, books are not being given the time they deserve.
Books are being ignored for reasons that are completely insignificant. Books have held their ground for thousands of years yet we are fascinated by only the latest technology. By looking to books we do not lose anything, we gain. We will experience worlds that go as far as our imagination will take them, we will obtain knowledge, we will learn lessons, but most importantly, I want people to come to love books just as I do. Let’s bring books back.
Zoe Iobst is a student at Bangor High School. She produced this piece as part of the 2017 Raise Your Voice Workshop in Orono sponsored by Maine Public and the Maine Writing Project.
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