By: Nina Franco
Reading. Have you ever heard that word? Book-is that something new too? The truth of the matter is, college-aged students, we, have stopped reading. “What are you talking about?” you may say, “I just read a fifty-page case study on obesity for my Psych class.” However, I am sure you aren’t too excited about those books your professor asks you to read a chapter out of, or the texts you have to take long notes on face it, you have stopped reading “for fun”.
When was the last time you walked the aisles of a library actually looking for a book and not for an open computer, or just were bored and thought, “Hey! Maybe I should read instead, of pulling out my iPhone and stalking people on social media for an hour”? You probably cannot even remember, and you are not alone: “A recent summary of studies cited by Common Sense Media indicates that American teen-agers are less likely to read “for fun” at seventeen than at thirteen” (Denby). We just can’t focus for longer than ten minutes, proved by a study done by BBC World News. You may have noticed that, when you were thirteen you could indulge yourself in the Harry Potter series for hours yet, today, you find yourself not even being able to finish a People magazine article. Moreover, reading has become less of a hobby and more of a chore much like, cleaning your room or completing homework.
Teenagers need to step it up and give Netflix a break for their own well-being. Trust me, I’m all for a little Law and Order: SVU or The Office, but leave some time to just step away from the ever present media in your daily life and switch to an old-school novel. No, I’m not saying to go search your great uncle’s study and pull out a musty, old copy of Les Misérables and devote your Friday evening to reading it. Get out and find something you are interested in.
Reading just fifteen minutes a day is proven to reduce your stress levels, stimulate your mind, expand your vocabulary, improve your memory, and simply, increase your knowledge. Furthermore, what do you love? For me, it’s eighties movies. From Dirty Dancing to Back to the Future, and everything in between, I am an expert. To get back into the reading scene after struggling with focus and concentration for a while, I stuck with eighties movies, and went on to read not just the books movies were based on like, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, but rather more in depth choices; for instance, I read an autobiography of Rob Lowe, an original “brat-pack” member called, Stories I Only Tell My Friends ($10.36, amazon.com). After falling in love with the autobiography, I picked up more, learning I loved a specific genre of novels. I tried two other autobiographies, Binge ($5.82, amazon.com), written by the hilarious YouTuber, Tyler Oakley, and The Freedom Writers Diary ($9.57, amazon.com), featuring true accounts of the lives of impoverished L.A. high school students, and their incredible teacher, Erin Gruwell. Most currently, I have fell back in love with 80s movies again, and am in the midst of reading, Last Night at The Viper Room ($16.76, amazon.com), a biography of River Phoenix, another 80s actor who starred in the movie, Stand By Me.
I challenge you to devote just fifteen minutes a day to reading something “for fun” to start. Pick a novel out that interests you and your friends and read it together so you can discuss, or snoop around King Library reading the synopsis of books till you find one that really catches your eye. Most importantly, start with what you love. Maybe you’re a political science major. Give Madeline Albright’s autobiography a shot. Or maybe you love romantic movies, try out a Nicholas Sparks novel, whatever works for you. The wise Dr. Seuss once said, “The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”