I wish I loved reading as much as I did when I was younger.
When I was younger, I was able to read a book a week- a skill deemed impressive back then. Now, I can't even imagine trying to read at that pace. I just simply do not have the time, nor mind space for that. It truly sucks! Reading is what made me fall in love with the English language. Reading is what made me want to aspire to be some sort of writer myself. When I was younger, I was able to read despite a noisy background. I was able to read in the car. Now I easily get distracted by a peep of a whisper, and I sometimes get motion sickness just from looking at my phone in the car! What happened?
Pleasure reading is a lot different from assigned reading. Teachers, listen up! Students prefer pleasure reading more than assigned reading. Because we choose the material, we choose the pace and we choose whether or not everything is a symbol or metaphor. I guiltily enjoy looking for themes and motifs on my own. To me, they are clues for a bigger message the author is trying to push through. However, most students don't enjoy nor complete assigned reading because teachers push their views and lesson plans on the material. Its like their view is correct; their interpretation is the better one. That stifles the student's imagination and thought process. Then again, when doesn't the American education system do that?
I could tell you the plot of a book I read in fifth grade much easier than the plot of another I had to read in my freshman year of college. It's because I enjoyed that book. I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and settings. I enjoyed the dialogue and story arch. The material teachers assign to us can be dense, dry and outdated. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte. But not everyone does. And the fact that students will get penalized if they cannot connect and fall in love with the story is absurd.
Now I result to appreciating movies and TV shows. Although interesting and entertaining, especially with gems such as Queen of the South and Channel Zero, the director is still pushing their direction onto the audience. The director pushes their vision of characters and their mannerisms. No shame to Sam Claflin, but the book version of Finnick Odair still has my heart. No offense to Jennifer Lawrence, but I could not stand the book version of Katniss Everdeen. This manifestation of appreciating storyline and characters is watered down compared to my appreciating of reading a book. Because when I read a book, I imagine the story in my head. My imagination is different than another reader's imagination, and when we get into dialogue, we share our visions of the book, of the characters and plot twists. It's an amazing and magical experience.
Pleasure reading is becoming a lost art among this generation. But the adults can't blame us for it. We were raised to sacrifice our luxuries to work hard. Pleasure reading was an easy luxury to get rid of in order to make time for studying, and for working at some menial job. We were taught that pleasure reading gets in the way. And when we do have the time, some of us may not have the resources to abundant books. And some of us are conditioned to not read since we have faster means to devout our attention to. It's heartbreaking really. We are losing the appreciation of worn out texts from the amount of times we bent the spine. We are losing the appreciation of rereading a chapter because we couldn't believe that a major character died, or that the enemy was finally revealed.
Pleasure reading needs to come back in a revival style movement. If not, the future of books and print may die off sooner than we think.