Once upon a time, a young maiden is tortured and forced to serve her Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters. Until one day her hard work pays off and she gets the opportunity of a lifetime and her life is changed forever. The tale of Cinderella has been around for thousands of years forever getting adaptations. For some this may shock you, but Walt Disney did not invent Cinderella. Greece actually created her, popularized by the Grimm Brothers a century later. I’m bringing this up because most of us were raised on these magical tales of princesses, knights, dragons, and countless others from books. These collections of pages filled with words that seemed like magic the way they explode into amazing universes. The magic is slowly disappearing. Books are slowly being forgotten, tossed to the wayside, and being replaced by the quick vivid swipes of color on our televisions. Which, as an aspiring author and self claimed bookworm, it is really devastating to see. Everyone should experience the closest thing to magic we have in this world and read. There’s nothing like it.
So we at least know that reading has been a thing since ancient Greece, when Cinderella was made, right? Cinderella was created in Greece in 600 BC. The earliest sighting of reading and writing was in 3400 BC, twenty-eight hundred years prior. We’ve been reading and writing for an extremely long time. While compact, easily printed, traversable books weren’t invented till 1450 AD, highly expensive and fragile scrolls and hand printed books had been around since 868 AD. Books and writing were humanity's way of entertainment, knowledge, and everything in between for Centuries. We are as far as we are due to all of those centuries of written words. Now, you may be saying that we have the Internet now, we don’t need physical books anymore; and you’re right to a point. Even with digital books, the percentage of people who read for fun has dropped significantly. It’s true that getting our entertainment from youtube, movies, music on demand, etc, has made it almost mind numbingly easy to entertain ourselves. But in a logical sense.. What happens when those sources go away.
Seriously. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if we get to a stage where we are in a full blown apocalypse, there is going to be no power, let alone internet. That’s just a fact. You are going to want a sweet escape from the absolute hellscape that is going down. Books are going to be that escape. Not to mention if we survive the apocalypse, we could write one hell of a story. But, on a less serious matter. Books do so many wonderful things. They challenge your mind in ways nothing else could. Let’s think about this for a second, in order to read our mind has to learn to put very strange shapes into letters, into words, into sentences, then figure out what those sentences are saying, and finally figuring out what the sentence means! Just think about how absolutely bonkers that is for a second. Our mind teaches itself. Insane! It doesn’t even stop there, the more we read, the more our mind understands. Getting off of our mind teaching itself, reading challenges your perspective. You are literally thrown into the mindset of a person. You hijack their body and become them! ‘Put yourself into their shoes’ comes to fruition. You get to hear their innermost thoughts, the demons that haunt them at night, see the world from their eyes. No other type of media can do that to the extent books do, they have tried, but it is nowhere close. In movies for example, you will sometimes hear what the character is thinking as they run through a forest being chased. But it’s strange, it feels like they are telling you, the audience, what they are thinking. Making it feel filtered, like why do we get to hear this thought but not another. Books are extremely personal as if they are saying ‘Come on in, make yourself feel at home.’ Whereas other media tells you to look through the window. It’s extremely interesting, and I don’t know about you, but I think a lot (maybe too much) about what it would be like to be in someone else’s body in the least creepy way. Books are the closest thing to being able to do that. As a part of that, you get to fully immerse yourself into a fantasy world, into a whole new reality. Your mind creates what the world looks like, what the characters look like, how that beautiful magical tree that twists toward the sun looks like. In doing so, everyone who reads the book sees the universe different, you create your own personal world. In other media like tv and movies, everything is laid out for you. Everyone sees the same thing, everything is set in stone. That magical tree that you just imagined, It’s short and purple with green spots all over it. That’s not what you hoped huh? It’s not what I hoped! That’s the magic of your own imagination mixed with a simple description in a book. Throwing yourself into someone else’s shoes isn’t even near the capacity of a book’s magic. Remember how I mentioned books being our sweet escape from the hellscape apocalypse? They are also an escape from our normal hellscape, whatever that might be for each person. Anxiety, bad day at work, fight with your significant other. When you open that book, you leave your reality and step into a new one… Narnia Style. All your surroundings seem to melt around you and it’s almost as if all outside noise just fades away. Leaving you there, in that new universe ready for that new adventure. Hanging out with all your friends, you never feel alone when there’s a book by you, the book is there for you. Again on top of all of these amazing things, books act as physical memories. Everytime you pick up a book you haven’t looked at for a while, you are flooded with nostalgia and you remember where you were in life when you read it the first time. I remember reading ‘Are You My Mother’ with my mom and grandma when I was a wee little toddler. Or how every time I see a newspaper, an image of my dad and I laying on his bed reading random words to teach me word recognition pops into my head.
Now I know most of you are sitting here being like “Okay Hannah we get it! You think books are great, but I don’t have time to sit down and read a book.” I get that! Trust me I do! Now while this won’t help us in the apocalypse, Audible or other auditory alternatives are amazing, I use them all the time. Before you come at me with your pitchforks saying this goes against my argument that the Internet is ruining the percentage of people reading. Completely avoiding books and just watching tv is different than using another method of enjoying the written words. Physical Books, Electronic Books, and Audiobooks are just different methods of consuming books. Just like DVD verses Digital Download. I use all these methods for books and movies! It’s just whatever is convenient. Audiobooks are great for when you are cleaning, driving, playing a game, relaxing in bed with your eyes closed, hell if you wanted to you could listen to a book while petting your cat. Whatever you want to do while audio listening! While other times being curled up with a physical book is just a nice time. I also know that some of you don’t read because books are boring/stupid, or even that you don’t want to because you are forced to in school. Again, I feel you, I quit reading for two years because school made me hate reading, and I would drag out a book that could take me hours and take months to finish it. The best way to make someone hate something is to force it upon them. But something I would like to remind everyone of is that: Everyone has different tastes. Not everyone enjoys medical shows, rap music, and nachos. The same principle goes for reading. You are not going to like every author, every character, every writing style, every genre. Even then, you can like an author, genre, whatever, and one book will be total and utter garbage, then another book could end up being your favorite book of all time. Of course with school, you have to read the book no matter what, but normally if you don’t like the book, you can quit reading it. The difference is at least giving the book a fair chance. For instance, for school, my friend and I had to read ‘Lord of The Flies’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. She likes Flies more, and thinks Mockingbird is boring. I’m the opposite, and that is fine, we both gave each book a chance. The other thing to mention is that hating reading inside of school and outside of school, are two different things. They are two different experiences. In school, you are expected to analyze every single little detail, question everything, basically beat it into the ground. Whereas out of school, you can just go on the adventure, you will catch on to the details you are supposed to but you don’t need to hyper analyse. So If you don’t like reading because of school then try reading a book outside of school that has no chance of being an assignment. “Han, It’s not because of school, or because I think books are dumb. I just can’t find a book that sounds good.” That’s a struggle everyone goes through. There are so many choices out there, making us feel like there are too many choices to look at. What has helped me find books is to ask others what their favorites are, and look into books similar to my favorite tv shows and movies. You know, maybe 9 out of 10 of the books your friends recommend to you won’t be your forte. That one book you didn’t mind could open up a whole new branch of books to explore. My two favorite book series came from trying out my mom’s collection of books. I actually found a new series from its tv show adaptation. I watched the show, loved it, heard it was a branch off from the book series. I bought the book series and read all 4 books in three days. It was really fun to compare how different the series were. This series was an extreme example because the story goes in two different directions from the very beginning. However, The Hunger Games for example, the books and movies tell the same story. But there’s things that are a big deal in the books that are not in the movies, and vice versa. I had a lot of fun calling out all the differences. So that’s another way to find books you might enjoy. From that point you could even look into similar stories, or authors similar to that book. Even better, check out the author’s other books. If you enjoyed one of their series, it’s likely you will enjoy their others. Now, I have saved my favorite reason people lean away from reading, because my brothers are very guilty of doing this. “I’ll wait for the movie.” Not all books get turned into movies my friends! “Well then, they must not be that good of a story then.” Adaptations do not equal masterpieces. There are plenty of fantastic novels that do not get converted to the big screen. My two favorite book series’ for example. Fantastic stories written by well known and beloved authors: Not adapted. Even though, if they do get put on the big screen, you will see me screaming my head off in excitement. Well also praying they don’t disgrace my beloved babies. Let’s be honest here, most adaptations bring dishonor to our families! Divergent is a great example. That series was dropped before the final movie because it was so bad. So we are just left with two and a half books worth of movies! Divergent is not the best example, but please do not assume the book is at equal quality to the adaptation. Movie adaptations get twisted and altered a lot when put through Hollywood directors.
As an inspiring author and self declared bookworm, It’s sad to see how many people put their noses up towards books who haven’t fully given them a chance. Books are a big part of most of our childhoods, hiding under blankets giggling over a story with family, getting immersed in a tale someone created from their imagination. Don’t let the closest thing to real life magic disappear. Join me and give books another chance, go back to our childhood, cozy up with a book, or that fancy Audiobook you just got, and go on a magical adventure.