To all the books I’ve read before


Reading books for leisure is becoming a lost art among teens. Students should replace some of the time spent on their phones with time reading. Graphic by Theresa Lee

Theresa Lee, Opinions Editor

In elementary school, I visited the library every week. I would lick a chocolate peanut butter ice cream cone on my way there as I scanned the new list of books I would borrow. Once I arrived, I leisurely strolled through the long aisles, reaching on my tippy toes to grab the children’s books situated on the topmost shelf. Leafing through crisp pages, I paid more attention to the illustrations — splashes of subtle watercolors and soft charcoal pencils — than the small, printed words themselves. 

As I grew older, I began to pore over thicker novels, entering various realms and time periods alongside diverse characters, all from a comfortable chair. I soon became a character myself, transcending time and space and diving into lives and realities far more interesting than mine, glossed with literary magic and the thrill of adventure.

That pleasure has been strangled since. 

Due to homework assignments and extracurriculars, my trips to the library are now rare. I no longer read books unless they are assigned for homework, and when I do read, I can’t get past a page without over-analyzing every paragraph or reading in between the lines to identify prevalent themes and quotes to include in my next essay. In my spare time, my attention is stolen by the incessant buzz of messages and notifications on my phone, and the books on my shelf rest under a fine layer of dust from years of neglect. 

The pure pleasure of reading books is on the verge of extinction, and our potential to cultivate imagination, appreciation and wonder for beautifully written works is in danger. 

It’s time for us to save the art of reading, through which we connect with others near and far, transform the impossible to the possible and appreciate the literary talents of others. Especially now, during the pandemic, reading books is more important than ever, offering a temporary refuge to which we can escape and relate our lives to those of other characters.

Leisurely reading is becoming a lost art among teens as we make the “too much homework” excuse while constantly spending time on our phones. What used to be a pastime is now a nuisance — yet another addition to an unending list of tasks. But books can help us, if only we give them the chance.

The first step is to replace some of the time spent on your phone with time reading. Physical books are best, but download an e-book if you must. With technology becoming increasingly dominant in our lives, reading an e-book just isn’t the same as reading a physical book. 

So, if you ever have the time, pick up a book — a physical one. Don’t think about the significance of that quote on the bottom of the page, and keep your phone out of sight. 

Just read.

And to all the books I’ve read before, and all the others I have yet to read, I’m sorry. You have not been forgotten, and to you I would like to return.