Reading is Sexy

Even before I declared myself an English major and sentenced myself to a life-time’s worth of reading, I loved to read. I lived to read, actually. I always carried around a book in my backpack during middle and high school. To my dismay, as I grew up, it became “cool” to not like reading. Especially for womxn who were supposed to be interested in things far more captivating like the new Essie nail polish color or what we were going to wear to homecoming.

I was immersed in a culture that preached reading as “only for the nerds” or “for smart boys and their books about astrophysics.” Now coming to college, I find it sad when I run into people who haven’t read a book for fun in the last four to six years.

Let me clarify: reading can be academic, but it does not need to be. For my English classes, we read technical pieces on how to craft our writing, classical and honorable novels, short stories, and poems. But outside of class, I enjoy reading contemporary fiction and romance, poetry, the occasional nonfiction autobiography, and even business-related or data driven articles.

It does not matter what kind of literature you read, it is important that you just read.

Even if you read a cheesy romance novel or feel-good contemporary, that’s still reading. Every time you open a book, no matter the genre, you are learning something. You are stepping into someone else’s shoes and learning empathy. You run with them across the pages and learn from their mistakes. You learn how secrets can hide in plain sight, and you also learn that book hangovers are a real thing.

But, reading also teaches you a lot about yourself. It demonstrates your attention span, it forces your imagination to work itself endlessly by orchestrating a mental movie in your mind.

Without even realizing, you are expanding your vocabulary, and analyzing people, their decisions, symbols, and larger social constructs on a more intimate scale. It teaches you what you value, it shows you what kind of people you relate to, or not. Reading makes you realize there is a world beyond your own.

Reading is sexy. Repeat that with me. Reading is sexy. It is sexy to be well-read. It is sexy to be intelligent. It is sexy to quote Davis Sedaris and Virginia Woolf. It is sexy to constantly carry a purse large enough to fit a book in. Since the start of time and to the end of it, reading is sexy.