What kind of question is this? Teens these days...

If I were to be asked the question, "What can't you live with out?" my answer would be this: books. Okay, my laptop would tie with books, mainly because it's where all my writing is.

I love to read. I think by now, that's pretty obvious. Books are a huge part of my life, and I don't know what I'd do without them. Writing is an art. Crafting the perfect characters, creating an intriguing plot line, it all takes mad talent. I love finding stories that touch me, or stories that I'm trying to figure out what will happen just as much as the characters. I seek these stories out. Books make me laugh, books make me cry. I'm a nerd, and I know it. In fact, I've embraced it.

The problem is... I'm in the minority. If you asked the average teenager in my school what they couldn't live without, their answer would be "my cellphone" or "my iPod." So many people I know have such an aversion to reading, it's horrible.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten asked this: Why do you like to read?
Why do you breathe? Huh? :P

In fifth grade, I was reading the sixth Harry Potter book. I'd carry it around with me and read it on the bus ride to and from school. It never occurred to me that this could be considered "uncool."

Then I was in gym class with a friend. Another girl, one that's on my bus, comes up to us, but only addresses my friend and talks to her. After a couple exchanges my friends says, "Aren't you even going to acknowledge that Marisa is standing right here?"

The girl's response? "She reads. Big books. On the bus."

At that moment, I was so embarrassed. The way she said it was so snotty and just rude. I wasn't embarrassed enough to make me want to stop reading on the bus (I had to know what happened! I mean, it's Harry Potter we're talking about) but embarrassed enough to just walk away without a word. I wasn't (and still am not) the most confrontational person.

What should I have responded? "At least I can read."
It turned out the girl was in an extra help program for reading.
Go figure.

Another instance--a girl I've been dancing with for years.
I walked into dance one day with A Separate Peace, a book we were reading in class earlier this year. (I didn't like it.)

She looks at me. "You're not reading this for fun, are you?"
Me: "No, it's for school."
Her: "Good, because if you were, I'd have to kill you."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Her: "Well, who actually reads for fun?"
Me: "I do... all the time actually." -insert laugh- "I love to read. There are so many good books-"
She interrupts me. "How could you love reading. It's like... looking at words. On a page. So boring."

I didn't even dignify that with a response.

The question. Why? Why do so many kids hate reading? I think one of the problems are the books we're required to read in school. Some. of them. are so. boring. It's like pulling teeth to get through it. (Case in point. I'm reading Ethan Frome right now. -Rips hair out-)

The truth: if we read in school the kinds of books that people read on their own time, so many more people would love to read.

But since I highly doubt that will happen, don't hate on me because I love to read. Why can't I question you on anything? Why do you do track? Why would you willingly run on your own time? Why do you waste hours of your life watching overpriced athletes on television?

Oh, it's because you love it?



Paige said...

Aww, That girl is so mean and stupid! How can you hate reading? I don't understand it either. It's not just looking at words at a page, its like a movie in your head!

The quote my elementary school always gave us was "readers become leaders," and I think that is really true. That girl is going to miss out on a lot if she never reads.

and dont worry, nerds are cool :)

Paige said...

and guess what? That girl is really dumb to make fun of you because your book was number 1 on inkpop and everyone (including me) LOVED IT! So at least you have talent, and she doesnt.

Kristia S. said...

Ohhhh man you expressed my thoughts perfectly, girl! I have ran into people like that, and it really saddens/angers me why people don't read for fun! Reading gives the reader a break from reality and has them travel into a different life or situation. Reading is a beautiful thing to do, more people should be more involved, and realize what's in it for them!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know. People make fun of me all the time because I read. I tell them I'll be the one laughing when I've got the knowledge to take over the world.
That usually shuts them up.

Converse said...

I don't get why people make fun of people who love to read. Reading rocks!!! And without books my life would be completely over!! You would have to be one of my biggest role models just because you read big books, and you don't let anyone make fuun of you for it.