For The Love Of Reading, We Need To Take Time To Read For Pleasure

For The Love Of Reading, We Need To Take Time To Read For Pleasure

Time spent reading for pleasure is never time wasted.

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This past semester, I was in one of my favorite English classes that I've ever taken. This class was a survey course, ENGL 3820, History of English Literature: 18th Century to Present. It was on the last day of this class that I loved so much that one of the professors shared a statistic that shocked me.

According to a study he read recently, at the rate it is currently declining, pleasure reading in America will have all but disappeared by the 2050s.

I was honestly stunned when I heard it. How could that many people stop reading so quickly? How could so few people be reading for pleasure already that we're even this close to it becoming extinct?

I don't have an answer to my question, but I can say that we need to turn this statistic around. For the love of reading, for the love of art, we need to get more people picking up a book because they genuinely want to, not because someone assigned it to them. I don't have answers, just a real passion for the written word and its power.

For me, books have been friends in lonely times, adventures when I feel stuck, a comfortable home when I'm somewhere unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Books have the power to make us feel things, the power to stretch our imaginations and broaden our horizons all from your favorite little reading spot.

In one of the hardest times of my life, books were more of a solace than I ever realized they could be. The comfortable weight of a book between my hands is one that I will always love. The smell of paper, ink, and coffee is one that will forever make me stop and just think to myself "ahhhhh."

This is why I simply cannot understand how reading for pleasure, the genuine love for reading, could possible die out. How can people suddenly not care that entire worlds are waiting for them to discover? How could someone not be interested in solving a murder mystery, exploring a haunted house, traveling the world, recovering from emotional trauma, or even pure fantasy? The more I try to wrap my head around the concept, the more confused I become. With the whole wide world of books out there, how can there not be at least one that suits everyone?

Is it a culture problem? Are we too overstimulated by technology? Is it because there aren't as many characters on TV shows that love to read anymore? Is it because people are lazy? Or can they just not find what suits them? Maybe we could fix the issue by encouraging kids to read like we encourage them to go out for sports. Maybe better funding to libraries is the answer. Maybe we all just need to learn to take more intentional time to read. To be honest, I have no idea.

The two professors left us by saying that they were sending us out as readers to help change that statistic, to prove it wrong. I'm not saying that everyone needs to become a big reader, but I am saying that we need to protect reading as an institution, as an art form, as a free expression of imaginative thought. It might sound like a little issue, but, for me at least, it's got big meaning and I can't stand to see it disappear.

Cover Image Credit:

Lily Snodgrass

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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Heroes Of Our Time

Or, how I want to be a hero in the modern world.

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On March 8, it was International Women's Day, where people all over the world recognized the struggles of women around the world, along with the necessary progress necessary to achieve full equality in society. That day passed through my mind like any other day, but the idea of being celebrated for my achievements and helping others garner rights always stood out to me. And with the opportunities which I'm fortunate to have and those I've created, I could do something special.

Simultaneously, I also live in a world where the difference between a hero and a villain is obscured, if not completely dissolved. In our political climate, where at this point, even a certain action can be interpreted to many different ways, whomever is a hero is considered one who not only stands up for themselves, but also brings a strong victory to their side. And with the 2020 presidential campaigns along the way, I had the impression the Democratic Party candidates may shift further to the left, which is advantageous for my political position, but not necessarily for those who may oppose it.

When combined for my interests in literature, I see heroism as one shining moment, born out of the hero's journey. A person would receive their calling from a supernatural source or fate, and decide to take it. They would of course struggle to do what's right and achieve their destiny, but when they did, they would have spectacular glory and respect, no matter if its in life or death.

These influences shape how I want to become a hero — I want to emerge out of a humdrum life in university, take a stand with my writing, and eventually inspire people to do the same. But in books and movies, heroism is seemingly straightforward, showing none of the ordinary work a person has to take to achieve their high status, nor how they pushed through at what they're doing. As somebody who started lacking persistence and will recently, I question how I want to be heroic, when I have to learn how to survive as well.

Going into my 22 year, and further into graduation, I have to learn heroism isn't necessarily contained in one moment, like saving a life or motivating troops to go to war. It doesn't even have to be factional at times, defeating good over evil in some aspects. It has to be a commitment towards what one believes in, and the perseverance to see it through, no matter how difficult it is or how hot the spotlight burns on oneself. And wouldn't it be enough for now?

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