The Value of the Written: What’s in between the book covers. (SO#16)

There were many reasons why I never completely enjoyed History class. I am a major fan of stories, and yet, I could never seem to plant my feet firmly into the subject. When I would read timelines, it would just become a barrage of information to cram into the already shaky attic of my mind, and I soon became sick of times and dates. It was like trying to eat a stadium’s worth of Jello, and then regurgitating it onto a test paper. That’s what history felt like in my head, but perhaps I was just thinking of it wrong.

    If you ask a common high school student about their English class, most of them will tell you they ended up hating the classics because they were boring blah blah blah. This is another example of coming onto a matter with a wrong approach of thinking. However, unfortunate high school students will never appreciate those titles now, because school never gave them the chance to find and love it on their own. Each book is like a recipe in a cooking class, except, instead of making and appreciating the delicious cake or bread the recipe creates, they try to pick out clusters from the flour or sugar, and try to derive meaning from them. I’ve heard too many teachers come up with farfetched ideas on what the novel is trying to say, and suddenly, I have to know these ridiculous ideas for a test.

    You see what happens to good things in classrooms? Sometimes I wish the world were just simple and sweet, that things didn’t have millions of onion layers to peel and cry over. However, life is just that, a bunch of layers to pierce through.

    It’s not all too bad if you have the right tools.

    Now, I’m out of stuffy high school, and I’ve finally gotten to think about it a little bit. History isn’t as bad to me now because I try to think of it the way I like to think about it: a story. One of the most sad of tales, to my opinion, in a lot of history is the story of the book, its rise and fall.

    To think of it, Twilight is nothing like Shakespeare, although, it might show today’s society’s obsession with vampires, but it certainly is no love tale to actually look up to. Shakespeare is not all that much better in terms of role models, but you can feel the culture in every word, the poetic sound of the plays, and, since Shakespeare was no original, you can see where his works came from. Back then, people weren’t too busy partying or something of the sort, and crazy geniuses could create beautiful, cultural works. Now, probably most geniuses are taking some sort of med, or pill to make the ouchies fly away. I know Tennyson would have probably taken some serious depression meds during the creation of his poem “In Memoriam A.H.H.”. That is to say, our culture really isn’t all that cultural anymore.

Books are running out of style, Borders is dead, and Barnes and Noble isn’t doing so hot either.

Popular music all sound the same, so we can remix it and people can jump to it… great, is this what my grandkids will know me for? Some drunken, party mobster?

Thank God there are still books and movies though. Call me escapist all you want, but actually, reading is good for you. I’ll give you ten quick reasons why:

  1. You’ll kill the Your Grammar Sucks videos.
    1. The reason this video series actually works is because people online are so haphazard on spelling and grammar on the Internet. You’re painting yourself as an idiot on a place that everyone can see, and hard to erase. Connecting any dots?
  2. You’ll regain faith in humanity
    1. I certainly did. If a writer can make up a good guy from their guts, that means a good guy has to be out there somewhere.
  3. Escapism is actually good for you.
    1. Well, not entirely, but reading is proven to lower stress. Just allowing yourself to immerse in a book means what’s going around you disappears. Goodbye anger issues for the next five pages…
  4. Get a job.
    1. I’ve heard employers like people who can flaunt how smart they are, and how better to prove yourself a smart-ass (I decree I may use only one bad word per post, sorry. :P) than to throw around big words like parsimonious or callipygian? (Don’t look up those words.)
  5. You could make some (imaginary) friends.
    1. If you’re someone who sucks at making conversation, what other than to find some book-junkies like you to connect with? Then you can gush on your Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray with a bunch of other people and give the books the fan-service it deserves.
  6. Your English Teacher might actually start to like you.
    1. Reading means you might actually learn to write, meaning all of those bad essay grades can finally at least come up to average! Then you can make friends with your teacher while you feign interest in the book you’re reading in class.
  7. It could prove you have a heart.
    1. When you get that character crush, you know you have feelings again. You are not some heartless nerd, you’re a man or woman who loves a (fictional) character.
  8. You can become a know-it-all punk.
    1. You might learn how to answer some trivia from what you learn in books. Impress all your friends with snippets of random information!
  9. Your brain can come out of the closet.
    1. Reading, hard core or couch potato style, actually helps with the blood flow up in the attic, meaning reading could be the essential vitamin of the day for your brain!
  10. You can stab a few stereotypes in their butt.
    1. We are inevitably affected by culture, but when you see that fictional character of a different race or culture become stupendously awesome, then everyone of that race can be the brother/sister of that character.

Even if the culture of reading may be falling apart, it’s still important to go pick up a volume, or at least buy an e-reader. I know it’s difficult to pick up the book you despised back in the old high school, but seeing it from that non-school angle might help restore your love of reading. At least do it for your brain!

See you this Wednesday, on a review of one of the Sherlock Holmes books!


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