Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why Should You Read?



I don't think I would have gotten into my current college if I hadn't been a bookworm. I realise that is a big statement. Let me explain myself: When I turned twelve my family moved to the Czech Republic. I didn't speak the language at all, but on the second day of our move I was enrolled in the local public school. For a year I couldn't understand anything. I sat in school for hours and hours not "learning" any content. Yes, I was implicitly learning the language and the culture, but it didn't always feel like learning, because it was so gradual. I turned to reading as a way to exercise my mind. I read so much that my fifth grade teacher was worried I was spending so much time reading that I was neglecting human contact. Because I wasn't challenged academically I challenged myself to read difficult books. 

I read through Dune, Les Miserables, Fahrenheit 451, Great Expectations and Jane Eyre. I read Wuthering Heights, Vanity Fair, Portrait of a Lady and A Passage to India. I read all 13 of the Series of Unfortunate Events, all 3 of the Emily of New Moon trilogy and all 7 Harry Potter books. I read the Twilight series in a Czech translation, but skimmed the last two, which were baggy and long-winded. I read whatever I could find in our family's English language library.

Through my books I kept growing my skill in my mother language. By the time I had to take the SATs I got a very good score in the reading and writing sections. That is the reason I say that I think reading got me into my college. I got a horrendous Maths score, but I like to think that my reading and writing made up for it.

One of the main reasons I read so many challenging books in middle school was pride. I wasn't able to show off intellectually in classes, because, for the first couple of years my language skills were very limited. The other kids didn't think of me as very intelligent. So by reading these books I felt like I could cling to some shreds of dignity. I could think to myself, "If you knew what all I have read, then you wouldn't think I was so stupid." I am not entirely proud of this sentiment, but that was truly how I felt.

In conclusion you can read for any reason. If you are like me then you begin reading in order to feel close to and comforted by a culture that is very far away. Maybe you read to impress other people. Maybe you read so that you can feel like your brain is alive and not rotting. Whatever the reason: Keep on!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I get to be one of the few people who remembers your middle-school years first-hand! Teehee. As I've said often before, I'm so glad I had you by my side during those years. I also totally remember you reading your books and teaching me new words (did you know you were the first person who taught me the word "denim"? Hahaha).