Why reading should be everyone’s New Year’s Resolution
Reading has always been a big part of my life. My earliest memories include my mother reading me The Chronicles of Narnia and my childhood Christmas and birthday wish lists always looked more like bibliographies than the average listicle of a child who’d swallowed the latest Argos catalogue. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Bratz dolls as much as the next girl, but they just didn’t compare to the pure joy of the new instalment in the Rainbow Magic series.
This wasn’t just a childhood hobby, my love of reading continued well into my teenage years. From the standard young-adult dystopian novels to classics to cheesy chick lit, if it was a book, I’d devour it.
Many scientific studies have drawn a clear link between reading and academic success…
Broadening my vocabulary, fine-tuning my punctuation and grammar, and widening my knowledge of so many different topics, being an avid reader had an immensely positive impact on my academic work throughout school, especially in subjects such as English and History, at which I always excelled due to their writing-heavy nature.
And this isn’t just my belief, many scientific studies have drawn a clear link between reading and academic success, with readers proven to have a better level of literacy, as well as larger memory capacities and imaginations than non-readers. A Fortune Magazine journalist recently summed this up nicely with the comment: “Some people will lie, cheat, steal and back-stab to get ahead…and to think, all they have to do is read”.
Reading a book allows you to escape worries by immersing yourself in different worlds and by stepping into the shoes of different people…
Reading doesn’t just assist with the academic side of life, I’ve always found that it also helps with any stress or pressure that life can bring. Reading a book allows you to escape worries by immersing yourself in different worlds and by stepping into the shoes of different people in a way that film or television never will. Unlike watching a story unfold on a screen, when you read a book, you feel as though you’re experiencing the story yourself and there is no purer form of escapism; it’s hard to stress about the nitty-gritty of referencing when you’re competing in The Hunger Games and who can stress about exams when they’re experiencing the romantic woes of Bridget Jones?
However, since starting at Warwick last October, the rate at which I read has not just decreased, it has flatlined. Whilst I always found time to read throughout secondary school, even in hectic exam periods, the task of squeezing in a chapter or two seems an impossible task in university, where juggling academic work, society responsibilities, and a social life is already tricky enough as it is. For some library-lurking literature students, degree work revolves around all the reading that they are prescribed, but for me this has never been the case.
Books possess a unique type of magic, from escapism to inspiration and from comfort to laughter…
I study Modern Languages with Linguistics, a very literature-light degree, which is part of the reason I chose it, much to my English teacher’s disgust, because I didn’t want to spend my university years dissecting books so much that I could no longer enjoy them. However, this doesn’t mean that books did not have an influence on my choice, they definitely did. The thought of being able to read books in three languages seemed straight out of a dream and I can’t deny that my choice to begin learning German from scratch at Warwick was inspired by my undying love for The Book Thief.
After returning home for the Christmas holiday and taking full advantage of my parents’ heating and jam-packed cupboards by curling up with a book and enough sweet snacks to make Bruce Bogtrotter wince, I began feeling regretful of all the book-less months that I’d let slip by and started to contemplate how I could allow my life to become so bleakly barren on the book front. It was the first time I’d read a book since the summer, and I was in my element. Intoxicated by Cassandra Clare’s word-wizardry and too many Sainsbury’s mint thins, I decided that I must make time for reading.
I believe that books possess a unique type of magic, from escapism to inspiration and from comfort to laughter, these paper treasures enhance life enormously and have shaped my childhood and adolescence. They have been the most faithful and unwavering companions, which is why I am making it my 2018 resolution to stop neglecting them. In the words of John Green: “Books are the ultimate dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back”. I hope that he’s right.
John Green is right. I spent many many years neglecting the wall of books in our spare bedroom. There was always something more important and urgent. In my defence, being a teacher, having 2 children & trying to stop my garden resembling a jungle didn’t help. When I returned to books 4 years ago they welcomed me with open arms & poured me a glass of Prosecco. I am currently reading my 185th book & my garden looks just fine my children are grown & teaching is a thing of the past.