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Reading – A Novel Idea

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Arkansas chapter.

How do you like to spend your free time? Maybe you enjoy going for a run or playing a video game. Or maybe you prefer to spend time binge-watching your favorite television show on Netflix (there is no shame!) while procrastinating instead of writing your psychology paper. In this day and age, there are many activities available so that our tech-savvy generation does not get bored. While there are many society-approved pastimes, one pastime that is often overlooked is hunkering down to read a good book. 

Now, there are a few reasons why reading is not really the go-to hobby nowadays. Most people are too busy to even think about slowing down long enough to get in a good read. People are always running around from one place to another with places to go and people to see. Depending on the type of crowd you run with, reading could be considered “geeky” or “uncool”. Apparently some consider it a bad thing to be imaginative and willing to experience new things through the eyes of another. Both of these are very popular and very sad excuses for not reading, but the next reason may just be the saddest of them all. 

Some non-readers claim that they simply do not enjoy reading. I remember being truly shocked by the response of a new acquaintance back in the fall when I asked her what kind of books she liked to read. She laughed and said reading was boring and she didn’t know why anyone would want to waste time that way. I became curious when I heard this and asked if she was required to read anything in high school. This question led to an interesting discovery about her attitude toward reading. She proceeded to tell me about all of the “old, stuffy, and boring” books her English teachers had made her classes read. 

It made me start to wonder if THIS could be why some people just do not enjoy reading. All through their first twelve years of schooling, the teachers had assigned books to the classes that went with their lesson plans but that didn’t really spark the interest of the students. This is especially true for younger classes and high school literature classes. Both are opposite ends of the student’s education, but both are also times when the student is being told what to read, whether they enjoy it or not. On top of that, the student is put under even more pressure to understand and endure a book that may bore them to tears all because their instructor has threatened them with a bad grade if they are not able to regurgitate the story’s plot in exact details. And sometimes, the books assigned are difficult to understand. This is especially true if something like Hamlet is assigned and the student has no background in Shakespearean linguistics. 

Sure, there were most likely times where the teacher let the students choose the book they read for an assignment. But by the time the students reach middle school and high school, they are so busy with their chosen extra curricular activities that finding books that truly interest them is the last thing on their mind. Then these same students graduate and only remember all of the “old, stuffy, and boring” books their teachers made them read if they didn’t want to flunk high school English. This, along with the other two popular excuses mentioned above, can indirectly put them off reading at all, even for enjoyment. 

So when the student is all grown up and has some time to spare, will they get lost in a good book for hours? Or will they get lost in the nearest electronic device? Neither option is bad. We just need to remember that balance is a good thing. 

Madison Covington is a Northwest Arkansas native and a junior at the University of Arkansas. She is studying Communications with a minor in Political Science. She loves to read books (about EVERYTHING!), watch movies, and write about stuff! Her favorite animal is a penguin and has been since year four. She believes that no matter what your dream is, you should do whatever it takes to reach it and to not give up until you're there.  "You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way." - Jennifer J Freeman