October 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Reading Into It


“High school life is too busy to read whatever I want to read.”  This is what people told me when I asked if they find any time to read a book while in the hectic throes of high school.  For many, English class presents more than enough reading material, and after slogging through a night’s assignment of, say, Beowulf, or Walden, there is little remaining time or energy to pick up another book of one’s own volition.  Reading for fun appears to be a rare pursuit at GSA.  Finding time to do anything outside the shadow of high school is a challenge (the last time I went to a movie with friends was…), and finishing a book takes an extra amount of weekend-sacrificing stick-to-it-iveness. The only books high school students read are the ones they’re tested on. The simple pleasure of reading has been all but snatched away.  Story of my life.

Despite the adversity, however, some find a way: “Sometimes I read for fun to procrastinate from my homework,” said one student.  Books of essays, newspaper articles, short stories, or plays are some shorter, more easily digestible reading options.  I am a victim of starting huge books, like Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby, and then giving up by chapter three due to lack of focus.  Sometimes I wish I were brave enough to swim against the current, like the rebel reader who told me, “I ditch the books I’m supposed to read for English and read what I want…”

So why read?  I say that to creatively output you have to creatively input, and books are the food of the mind.  Eating your way through a book is a unique satisfaction.  My life is less stressful when I’m in the middle of a good story.  So whether it’s War and Peace or The Hunger Games, I say, don’t let school stop you from reading your own thing.  I’m reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling right now, and it’s comforting to know that, not only will I never be tested on it, I don’t even have to take notes.

Nolan’s Approved Book List:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

On Writing by Stephen King

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga) by Hayao Miyazaki

The Farnsworth Invention (play) by Aaron Sorkin


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