The world of literature holds an undying beauty

In a world filled with technology, the importance of books is indispensable


Despite the emergence of online literature, bookstores remain steadfast.

Adam Coil, Staff Writer

If your childhood in any way resembled mine, you probably spent countless nights in your room reading your favorite book series far past your bedtime, repeatedly saying “one more chapter” to yourself as your eyelids grew heavier by the minute. I remember fondly the first time I cracked open a “Percy Jackson” book my sister handed down to me — which became an obsession that captivated me throughout elementary school — and I remember the hollow feeling that engulfed me when I finished the last chapter of “The Hunger Games”.

Even if you were not a pre-teen novel aficionado like me, you likely have a warm, vivid memory of a cherished book tucked away deep in your memory bank. What about that time you cried while reading Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”, or all of the laughs you shared with Greg and Rowley through “Diary of A Wimpy Kid”? The right book is unparalleled in its ability to connect with some of the most fundamental aspects of our being.

When you find a book that truly resonates with you, you embark on an odyssey that is inherently transformative and revelatory. Spending time with a novel and giving it permission to pervade your life is a gratifying experience because you find yourself in a somewhat proprietary position as you make those words real.

For most, there was a time in life when reading was the main source of entertainment when friends were not around and there was no work to be done.  After all, watching the people on CNN and Fox News tells us that America was still in a recession was not that exciting. But then, things changed.

Maybe you got that iPod Touch for Christmas, your older brother convinced your parents to buy an Xbox 360, or your family finally invested in a new TV — one on which Disney Channel and Cartoon Network could air uninterrupted by the weight of adult life.

Whatever the case may be, you were no longer immersing yourself in the fantastic worlds you imagined in your mind, but instead, found yourself in other people’s dreams via the screen in your hands or on the wall.

It has likely been about a decade or so since you closed your last “Harry Potter” book, but good stories transcend paper and ink. While the physical novel is in steady decline across all demographics in every part of the country, people are still reading. E-readers, audiobooks, short stories, weekly newsletters and pedestrian reading such as skimming emails or texting are not going anywhere any time soon.

We have the ability to read, we just do not seem compelled to sit down and make an event of it anymore. Perhaps you took a few too many English classes that put you to sleep, or maybe you believe you simply do not have the time to read. Whatever the case may be, more and more people are under the false impression they cannot or should not read.

The truth is, reading can be fun, and you do not have to devote your entire self to a book to get through it.

Spending a little bit of time with a book every day, especially before bed, is a great way to get back into the habit of reading. The pastime is all about finding out what kind of writing appeals to you, and an easy way to get a better sense of your style is to read a lot of short stories. The short story is the quintessential form of modern literature — it is brief, captivating and packs a punch. Some of my favorite short stories that made me fall back in love with reading are “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, “Harrison Bergeron”, “Eveline”, “The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday’s Women” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”. I recommend buying a collection of short stories from various authors and researching those whose short stories stand out to you.

You do not have to effortlessly leaf your way through classics to be a reader, you just have to find out what kind of reading you enjoy and give yourself the opportunity to digest it.

Retraining your brain to enjoy reading can be a frustrating process, but the sense of fulfillment and growth you feel after completing that one book that seemed so daunting 400 pages ago is one unique to literature. Film, television and other artistic pursuits are in no way inferior to the novel, but when was the last time that you felt your heartbeat quicken as you raced from page to page to discover the fate of those characters who became an irrevocable part of your world in a matter of days?