Reading books has always been one of my favorite things to do, but more specifically, reading mystery/thriller books or dystopian books with a dash of romance. My ideal “reading setting” is in my bed at around 9:00 o’clock at night or 8:30 in the morning.
I love how words on a page act as quicksand, often pulling me into an inescapable state of reverence. I love falling in love with characters; connecting with a character to such an extent that when they meet their downfall, intense despair attaches itself to the depths of my soul, resulting in uncontrollable sobbing (my emotional frailty is off the charts :)). I love how easy it can be to leave this world behind and abandon my incessant uncertainties and heartache- abandon myself. To simply slide under the spell of a book and become a part of a whole new universe, experiencing not what Angel feels, but what June feels and what her environment is like, is a magical affair. The idea of submission to something is one that typically doesn’t appeal to me, but when I read a good book, I am completely willing to be subdued.
Before taking AP Language and Composition, I don’t think that I read books with quite as much carefulness and analysis that I do now. I could understand a book’s message but I didn’t look deep enough to, for example, see the methods and devices used by and author to accomplish the message and tone of the book.
However, even though I’ve read and annotated several pieces of literature for AP Language and Composition, and it should be a habit by now to “read between the lines”, I still feel forced. I feel like I can’t really enjoy a book if I’m looking for rhetorical devices, or some type of literary component. It doesn’t feel natural for me to read a book and actively note the author’s syntax or diction, or whether they are appealing to ethos, pathos or logos. I recognize that this is an important skill, which is why I want to become the kind of reader that doesn’t feel forced to acknowledge what an author is doing with their work, but rather, a reader that is able to enjoy reading and simultaneously take into account the components of an author’s style that make a book what it is.
In his essay, “How to Mark a Book”, Mortimer J. Adler addresses the importance of annotating, stating that the physical act of writing brings our reactions and questions to specific words and sentences before our minds and ingrains them better in our memories. I agree with this statement, however, the concept presents a challenge for Kindle/e-reader owners such as myself. You can make small notes on a Kindle, but it’s really not the same as annotating a book because you can’t see your notes side-by-side with the text and no one wants to annotate their e-book on separate sheets of paper (at least, I don’t). Does this mean that with the rise of the age of e-readers, annotating(and consequently, critical reading) is likely to diminish?
Additionally, Adler mentions that careful reading takes time, and even though this means that you may not get through a large amount of books efficiently, “A few friends are better than a thousand acquaintances”.
In short, I am a person who believes that reading is nothing short of magic.