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Books can bring readers into another world

Books can bring readers into another world

Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:03 am
By: By Casey Curlin

Books can bring readers into another world | Casey Curlin, Just A Thought
A couple of weeks ago, I was at Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah, when I saw a huge banner advertising a bookstore going-out-of-business sale. I practically skipped into the store, delighted at the prospect of unbelievably affordable books. As I joyfully immersed myself in shopping for knowledge, I couldn’t help but laugh about how differently I felt about books compared to many classmates I had grown up with in grade school and high school. I have always been an avid reader. When I was a child I read everything I could get my hands on — Laura Ingalls, “Anne of Green Gables,” and every Bobbsey Twin, Boxcar Children and Baby Sitters Club book in existence. I even occasionally had my nose buried in a novel during recess. But I was one of few children who ever had a book in their hands. In today’s time of TV, Internet and video game worship, reading takes the back burner. I often argued in favor of books with my friends, but those were short debates. The only comeback they had was, “I hate reading.” I can understand such an ignorance-based opinion coming from an 11-year-old, but even now that I’m 20, I still hear the “I hate reading” coming from people my own age, which deeply saddens me — as it should anyone who is remotely concerned about the quality of educational advancement in our country (because China is stomping us in this race). And I think we all know a few people whom it couldn’t hurt to gain a little intelligence. I conclude that, too often, people associate reading with chores. We grow up in school with our required reading assignments, few of which are on a topic of great interest. Reading becomes a hassle for those unfamiliar with the vast, exciting world of books. Children would much rather spend an evening immersed in cartoons and Xbox™ than in a story where the characters become your friends and you’re put right in the middle of the events unfolding throughout the pages, simply because they don’t have the ability or experience needed to associate reading with enjoyment. So many people never register the fact that reading for pleasure doesn’t mean you sit and immerse yourself with the writings of Euclid (and if you do, I am seriously impressed). There is a book to correspond with any interest of any person in the world. For every TV show and movie, there is a book to equal its topic, mood and genre. I loathe hearing people say, “Why read the book when you can watch the movie?” and if you have ever read a book before watching the movie, then you know why. Comparing movies based on books with the original book is like comparing Elvis impersonators with Elvis — one might be flashy and physically alive, but he still can’t touch the greatness of the original. A movie can only show you a small glimpse of everything that happens in a book because it has just an hour and a half time slot and includes only the events on the surface. Books take you behind the plot. Books take you into the characters’ minds. You know why they are somber or outgoing characters. You know why they have those great fighting skills. You know what attracts one character to another. You know what happened to the bad guy that made him bad. You learn everything that a movie passes over and leaves a huge information gap. Parents, show your children the world of books at a young age. Don’t let them grow up hating stories and knowledge. Anti-readers, give it a try. Think of a type of TV show or movie you like and check out some books like it. You won’t just be watching the events, you will be experiencing them. And those that lack intelligence (or rather to people who know those that lack intelligence and will make them read this, because as we know such people just don’t read for the fun of it), first find out what intelligence actually is, and work on gaining it by picking up a book … and actually reading it. ——— Casey Curlin, a Fulton native, is a communications major at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Published in The Messenger 8.15.08

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