Reading should have higher value in our society

Connor Oswald, JagWire reporter

CNN recently published an article about how the retirement of the well-respected author Philip Roth, who won the National Humanities Medal in 2010, went by with hardly a murmur from any of us.

I’ll admit that without the CNN article, I, a self-proclaimed bookworm, wouldn’t have heard about Roth either. But that’s exactly the point.

Our society doesn’t place enough value on reading. Generally it’s an activity left to a few select crowds such as the library lurkers and the literature lovers, people whose passion for books is thought of as unusual. However, books are made to be read by not just a few people, they’re meant to be spread around and be seen by all of us.

You see, books are different from other media in that they not only tell us the story of another person, they put us in that person’s shoes. All books, from drama- riddled teen romances to the student-loathed required reading, tell us about another person’s life. In essence, books make us more open-minded. They teach us lessons that we couldn’t learn anywhere else.

These lessons about life don’t just come from classic novels like “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck or “The Animal Farm” by George Orwell, but also from books that could be read for entertainment; J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series teaches about the value of having friendship and bravery and John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” tells us how to value choices we have in life.

So when you want to open your eyes to completely new worlds, ideas and ways of thinking, pick up a book. You might even find yourself having fun. Who knows?

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