Everyone Should Read Books

Everyone should read books. There, I said it.  

“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don't have books, don't fuck them.”

-John Waters

This is the kind of attitude I can get behind. Unfortunately, as reading was something we were forced to do in school, I think many of us were put off by it or think of it as something we are graded on rather than something to enjoy. Imagine if we were forced to watch blockbuster films in school, or listen to platinum albums and write papers on them. Anything we have to do we are less likely to want to do. Well I'm taking a stand on behalf of all books everywhere and saying that our generation needs to learn to love literature again.

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Shakespeare not your bag? That's all right. There's no law saying you have to love or understand him. Of course it's important to try to comprehend one of the most famous writers of all time, but that's what your education is for. Plus, he's meant to be watched instead of read anyway, so it's a small wonder so many people have a hard time working their way through his plays. Were you forced to read and dissect books like Lord of the Flies and Wuthering Heights, or read plays and poems like Oedipus Rex and Dante's Divine Comedy? Did your teachers make you discuss things like symbolism and theme and what the color green really represents in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby?

While they are all incredible works of literature, they are very few people's idea of a “fun read.” Your teacher probably described them as “ground-breaking,” “pivotal,” or my favorite, “ahead of its time.” And you likely thought, “Well if this was ahead of its time a hundred years ago and I still can't understand it, then maybe I'll find a different hobby.”

Lovely readers, there is more to the world of books and literature than Aristotle and the Brontë sisters. Head off to your local Waterstones or Barnes & Noble and have a little browse. Curl up in the corner with some weird, dark-humored fantasy by Neil Gaiman. Have a laugh with a play by Michael Frayn. Read some sexy sly poetry by Dorothy Parker. Try, just try, to find a comma in one of Cormac McCarthy's novels.

You don't have to learn anything. No one is watching you to make sure you understand. Just crack open the pages and enjoy being sucked into someone else's world for a little while. Heck, you might enjoy it.