By Colleen Wyrick
When we’re kids, we are all taught to read. We learn our words and letters and sounds, and reading becomes a fundamental part of our childhood growth and some of our fondest memories. Reading is essential to every subject and aspect of life, whether it’s for practical purposes or for enjoyment. So why then, are avid readers often told that what they love is a dying industry?
Becoming a writer is simply impractical. There won’t be hard cover books like that in a few years. Toss those pages to the side and pick up a tablet if you really want to read. The probability of you being a successful author is pretty darn low. Find a new hobby. Get a stable dream job. Readers are simply the minority in this world of technology.
No and no.
Words are written to be read. This article was written for the purpose of people reading it and coming out with new opinions and perhaps a new mindset. What people don’t understand is that we learn and change and grow every time we read a book.
You can tell how much a story means to someone by how worn the spine of their favorite book is. You can tell how much words and characters and new worlds mean to people in little, real, beautiful things you see everyday.
Huge conventions bring thousands of people together to meet authors and talk about books and meet other fans, yet you try to tell us that nobody truly cares? Take a walk around BookCon or Texas Teen Book Fest or Texas Book Fest and try to tell me that children and adults and everyone in between are there for nothing.
I bet you’ve seen at least 10 people in your life rocking their Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff pride in their clothes. And that’s not just because there’s movies and a fancy ride at Universal Studios. It’s because J.K. Rowling reached those people’s hearts and minds with her books so much that they were proud to show how much they meant to them. It’s because girls grew up knowing they could be smart and fierce, not one or the other.
On the streets or in school, you see people you label as “nerds” walking about with their noses stuck in books. No, they’re not reading that huge novel because they have no life or any other stereotypical insult like that. They’re reading that story because it means something to them. It means something to hold a new life in your hands. It means something to relate to characters and situations and to learn from them.
Sarah J Maas and her books taught me that love can be found anywhere, and that the fiercest, strongest people were often forged in hardships. Kendare Blake taught me that an older sister will always love her siblings. Roshani Chokshi taught me that the world is a dazzling and sparkling place, and to make wishes on stars. Stephanie Garber taught me that nothing is truly as it seems. Rick Riordan taught me humor and acceptance and a ridiculous amount of mythology. Leigh Bardugo taught me to care for those closest to me, and that everyone has a little heroism inside them. Marissa Meyer taught me that characters can have layers, stories can be rewritten, and that no two people are the same. Samantha Van Leer taught me that it’s okay to love any kind of story.
The list goes on and on, and this is just my personal experience. Can you imagine, all those people out there, noses stuck in books, learning all these fantastic things about life? Can you imagine all these people, finding a safe place, an escape, in reading? Can you imagine all these people meeting new friends and finding people as close as family because of their shared love for reading?
Words and books have power beyond what most people know. But for the fans, the readers of this world, who can look past screens and holograms and the click -click of technology, even for an hour or two a day, find meaning and magic in plain old paper.
Maybe books, writing, this article, means nothing to you, but it means something to someone, and that’s what matters.
It matters that you write if you want to. It matters that you dream and aspire to be an author, to inspire people like your idols inspired you. It matters that you stay up late reading, flipping through pages on the edge of your seat. It matters that you are proud in your passion or hobby. It matters that you read. Reading matters a great deal, and no one should push the benefits or meaning of books aside, because they are truly missing out.
We are readers, hear us roar!