Why is reading so important?
In my opinion, the importance of reading lies in the various perspectives readers are exposed to with every book they pick up. Authors and characters can come from any background and have any variety of experiences, and all the important characters are those that teach you something or give you something to aspire to. As I mentioned in an earlier post that introduced our newest blogger, Leo, the different voices, or perspectives, in literature and in the discussion that surrounds it are what makes reading such a valuable hobby and experience.
Reading, while solitary in the action of it in most cases, is not a solitary experience. Reading should be a social experience that brings people together. It should create empathy and understanding. It should generate discussions and nourish relationships.
My goal for Strung out on Books for 2017 is to include as many voices and perspectives on the blog as possible. Whether that involves welcoming guest posts, regular contributors, or new full-time bloggers, you’re bound to see some new people and content on SooB in the upcoming months!
To kick things off, I asked a few of my friends to share their thoughts on reading as a hobby, as well as their opinions on some books and series that we’ve mutually read.
When did you first become interested in reading? What’s one of the first books/series you can remember really sticking with you in some significant way?
LEO: I went through a few phases. When I was much younger, I loved it more than anything, and then as I got older, I slowly began reading less and less. I would only read if it was required by a teacher/professor. I recently (within the last year) got back into the habit of reading for pleasure. One of the first series’ I remember sticking with me is the Magic Tree House series. It gave my child self an outlet into new worlds, and all I wanted was to live the lives of the main characters.
CAYLIN: I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger but in high school I started to love it. I loved the Let the Sky Fall series by Shannon Messenger and the After series by Anna Todd. I would go to our school’s library during our lunch hour and pick out whichever book I wanted to read next. I would read them in between classes and during free time and I really got into how the stories distracted me from what was really going on- in a good way. Reading made me feel better, and I always looked forward to it, whether they were novels or short fanfiction stories- I loved getting away.
LILY: I read the Twilight series in 6th grade and I think that is what really got me into reading. I read one book in like 5th grade about a girl who could fly or shrink or something and I really liked it but I cannot figure out the name of it.
KELVIN: I first became interested in reading in middle school. One of the first series I can remember really enjoying was the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. I really like the science fiction and action aspects of it. I also just thought that teenagers with wings sounded pretty cool to be honest.
What are your reading habits like? When/where do you read? How long do you typically read in one sitting?
LEO: I tend to read whenever and wherever I like to, if I’m not too busy. However, my typical reading spot will always be my bed. It’s my favorite spot. If I’m home, and I don’t have to be somewhere other than my room in that moment, then I’ll be on my bed reading. The length of a reading session depends on the book. If I’m really interested in the book, I could read for hours. I usually try not to go over 4/5 hours, because I know that I have life responsibilities to attend to.
CAYLIN: My reading habits are pretty good. During the school year they could be better, but in my defense I would bring reading material with me everywhere I went just in case I had some free time. I enjoy reading in bed with blankets and a snack or maybe a hot cup of tea. When I read, I try to read for a while, but my reading times can vary from 20 minutes to few hours, usually. Whenever I finish one book I’m usually pretty excited and speedy about getting onto the next one.
LILY: I read in the bathtub or in my bed. If I really like the book I just read until I get hungry or feel like I need to do something else. If I don’t like the book, then it takes me forever to get through a page.
KELVIN: I typically only read on the way home from my university on the weekends or on my way back since I have an hour-long train ride. I also like to read in between two of my classes on Wednesdays in the library on my university’s campus.
Do you think reading is important? If yes or no, why?
LEO: Absolutely! Reading is one of the best things to spend time doing! Not only is it super interesting if you’re reading an amazing book, but it’s also good for your brain. 😉
CAYLIN: I think reading is extremely important. It’s wonderful to be able to read and understand someone else’s words and getting to experience new stories and life scenarios. Analyzing and reading situations are great in developing cognitive skills, too.
LILY: I do I think it is important for learning new words and being able to write. But it is also great for the imagination and it is fun.
KELVIN: I absolutely think reading is extremely important. Reading is an amazing way to learn and to entertain oneself and to see different situations from the perspective of others. It’s a great way to discover something new that you like or to learn about something new that you’ve never heard of. It’s also a great way to connect with other people. Me and my girlfriend Jessica, one of the writers on this blog, use reading as a way to stay connected since we live over 600 miles away from each other.
Mini-reviews of All the Bright Places!
LEO: Amazing. Absolutely amazing. This book is actually so good. I can’t even handle how well this story is. I loved the relationship between the two main characters, especially how they met (which started it all). This book is just a whirlpool of emotions. It definitely gets pretty dark at times. And with those dark moments, you empathize with the characters so much more, and that isn’t a bad thing. It may be sad, but it adds so much more to the characters, which makes you love them so much more. It truly is amazing. I’m so glad I was able to read this novel. And again, this book is truly amazing.
CAYLIN: This book was so enjoyable to read. The personalities of the two main characters were very interesting and sad, and I loved reading about them come together to help each other out. It was such a good, heartbreaking story. Jennifer Niven is a very creative and talented writer.
LILY: I do not want to read it because it is sad and I do not like sad endings. Even if they are bittersweet.
KELVIN: All the Bright Places is a young adult novel about an unlikely pair of teens from Indiana who both almost end up throwing themselves off the top of their high school’s bell tower. The novel follows Theodore Finch and Violet Markey and their relationship from both of their perspectives as they wander Indiana to complete a school project together. Along the way, we learn more about why they both were on top of the bell tower. I personally have not finished the book yet but I am very excited to read more of it because I am enjoying it a lot. I highly recommend it to anyone who might be considering reading it.
Mini-reviews of the Lunar Chronicles!
LEO: I have not read this series, and I don’t know if I ever will. All I know is that the main characters are variations of fairy tale characters, which is part of the reason that I haven’t read it. I like the fairy tales the way they are. For some reason it bothers me that one of the main characters is a cyborg-esque person. However, most of my friends say it’s great and constantly recommend it to me. It’s not out of the running yet. There is a small chance that I’ll get to it, maybe…
CAYLIN: This is one of my favorite series of all time. Although it’s considered sci-fi young adult fiction, it really has everything in it. Romance, action, excitement, mystery. I loved all of the characters personalities and reading about how the story all came together towards the end. These books are incredible. The twist on fairytales was new to me, and although that wasn’t my favorite aspect of it, the author made it very creative and enjoyable.
LILY: I loved this series! The first book Cinder was harder to get through just because the beginning was kind of boring. I mean I feel like all the beginnings of series tend to be boring. After you get through the beginning though it is such a fun read. There are so many couples to ship, and I did not really hate any of the characters. I mean of course I hated the villain but I did not hate the good guys. I also wanted to know more about afterwards, and there are books out there that tell you the more and the before. I have not read them but I should. This series just makes you happy that is how I can describe it.
KELVIN: The Lunar Chronicles is a series of books that are retellings of classic fairy tales in a future where cyborgs, space ship pilots and many others exist. It has aspects of fantasy and science fiction. Although I personally have not read the series, I am interested in the idea of it and would like to read it in the future.
Mini-reviews of The Perks of Being a Wallflower!
LEO: Quite possibly one of my favorite books ever. Unbelievably great! I absolutely adore this novel. The characters are quite relatable, and the plotline is so splendid. It also has quite dark moments, which I apparently really enjoy reading, and even watching (the movie was also really good). I could rave about this book forever. It is literally one of the best stories I have read, and I tend to like a lot of things. I am also pretty bad at picking favorites, because I’m a very indecisive person. However, I can say that even though I don’t typically like re-reading books, I would make an exception for this one.
CAYLIN: I haven’t read this yet but I am very excited to! Both of my friends have recommended it to me a million times and said that it’s one of their favorite books. I saw the movie and I liked it, but for some reason I never got around to reading the book. I look forward to picking it up soon!
LILY: This book made me cry and cringe. I liked this book I just mean moments in the book made me cringe. I also would get annoyed with people in this book. The way Charlie thinks and reacts can be funny but also depressing. I also felt like no one really saw Charlie, as in nobody knew how he actually was feeling. Ha-ha hence the wallflower. I did not think Sam even really saw Charlie even if she was the love of his life. I liked this book but I do not think I can say that I loved it.
KELVIN: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great book told through the perspective of letters written from a boy names Charlie about his experiences in high school with friends, relationships, love, loss, his personal struggles with his emotions and thoughts, and many other interesting aspects of teenage life. It’s a fantastic read and it is not a long book at all. Although it’s short, it doesn’t fail to convey a powerful message and interesting story.
Mini-reviews of Let’s Get Lost!
LEO: I can’t say I know much about this novel, as I haven’t read it nor heard anything about it. From the (very) short summary goodreads gives, I don’t think I really want to give it a shot. It doesn’t seem like it would be interesting enough. That isn’t to say that it’s a boring book. It does seem like a romance novel, which I tend to love. Okay now I’m indifferent. I have plenty of other books to read, but who knows? I might end up reading it one day.
CAYLIN: I haven’t read this either, but I heard good things about it! I love road trips and I love books about road trips. What more could I say?
LILY: I very much enjoyed this book. It is a book that takes you on a bunch of different stories for different people and how they all connect to this one girl. There was some point of views that were boring to read but I would say most of them were good. The reason I read it quickly though was to find out if she ended up with Hudson. I needed to know this. *Spoiler Alert* she does and it made me very happy. Great book with a lot of touching stories. Although the author wrote another book that I was not too fond of. I forgive him though because he wrote this book.
KELVIN: Let’s Get Lost is the story of a girl named Leila who runs into 4 people as she is travelling and changes their lives forever as she tries to find what she is looking for. What that is exactly? I have no idea because I’ve never read the book. However, I am interested to find out how she changed those people’s lives and what exactly it is she is looking for.
Mini-reviews of the Hunger Games series!
LEO: For a while, this was my favorite series. I had watched the first movie, and decided that I needed to read the books because I couldn’t wait for Catching Fire to be in theatres. I found the series quite entertaining. This series is what made me realize my love for dystopian worlds. It wasn’t always the most interesting. I can’t really remember most of what happened in the books, Catching Fire or Mockingjay. That’s why the movies are so helpful. The series does include an awkward, but nice, romance that definitely kept me hooked. I was definitely Team Peta. There was a slight moment where I was Team Gale, but that was just because of the first movie. The plot twist in the final book almost made me throw my book. It was so upsetting. Other than that, the series is just really good.
CAYLIN: I read the Hunger Games series pretty quickly. It broke my heart, but I loved reading it. It amazed me how much Katniss went through and continued to be so strong. The detail in these books are very fine, and the story was told very well. I couldn’t relate to Katniss that much, but I did admire her and was pretty impressed with her as a character. The idea of the story is pretty morbid, but I enjoyed all three of the books.
LILY: I loved the first book of this series. The rest of them not so much. I tried to like them and I did read them but I am a happy ending, everything goes right type of girl. These books are not like that. I mean she ends up with the guy I wanted her to end up with, but so many people die and I just feel like she is sad. Of course, in reality this is what would have happened, blah blah blah. I DO NOT CARE! I want everything to be perfect at the end it is a book not real life so it does not need to be realistic. I liked the first book but I did not like the series.
KELVIN: The Hunger Games is a book, and a series, that takes place in the future. In this future, there are no wars or conflicts. However, world is divided into 12 districts, each of which is unique from the rest. Every year, a girl and a boy are selected from each district at random and all of them are brought together to fight to the death for the entertainment of others. The story follows Katniss Everdeen and her fight to survive after taking the place of her younger sister. It is a great read for anyone interested in action or suspense in the books, or anyone looking to read the basis of the popular Hunger Games movies.
Mini-reviews of the Divergent series!
LEO: The Divergent series is, in my opinion, a not-as-good Hunger Games. It’s always put up against The Hunger Games for their similarities. I don’t that they’re THAT similar. I do see the resemblance, but I still see it as its own work. In comparison to The Hunger Games, it pales. It’s just not as good. However, as a standalone series, it’s not that bad. If I think of as its own thing, then it does have redeeming qualities. I thought the love story was adorable, while the plot was interesting. I didn’t exactly like the ending, but I think it’s a given that you don’t have to like every aspect of a book, even when it is good and interesting. I had many feels during the course of reading this series. All types of emotions were felt: anger, sadness, happiness (although not enough). I do think this series is good read, but it’s not the best series out there.
CAYLIN: I loved Divergent, but I have yet to finish this series! I got about halfway through Insurgent and didn’t really care for it, so this series and I have been on a complicated hiatus. Insurgent just didn’t have me as hooked as Divergent did, but I’m going to try to get back to it soon.
LILY: I read the first book and majority of the time I was bored so I did not read the rest of them. I am glad I did not because I know how it ends and I would have been soooooooo upset. As you can tell from the review above I prefer happy endings.
KELVIN: The Divergent series follows the story of a girl named Tris living in post-apocalyptic, dystopian Chicago as she tries to hide her true nature out of fear of being killed if anyone finds out. Although I have never read this series either I have been interested in reading it for a while now. The books have aspects of science fiction which I am interested in. I look forward to possibly reading the series in the future.
What is your favorite aspect of reading? Do you think reading can change/has changed you as a person? If so, in what ways? If no, explain.
LEO: My favorite aspect of reading is getting sucked into a new world where anything can happen. I can sit/lay down for hours and not even be aware that time is passing because I’m so invested in what I’m reading. It’s a pretty awesome feeling! I want to say that reading has changed me as a person, but I honestly don’t even know if it has. I don’t pay attention to certain aspects of myself as I should. I feel like I’m the same person I’ve always been, but then again, I remember reading certain novels that have made me seen a situation in a new light. So maybe it has changed me after all…
CAYLIN: My favorite aspect of reading is how everybody reads one novel differently. Everyone can have their own visuals and opinions. Reading is so passionate and creative and has definitely changed me as a person. It has allowed me to widen my perspectives on life by reading other people’s thoughts and ideas. It’s a wonderful way to unwind and get away if real life isn’t going so great. Also, who can resist a good story?
LILY: My favorite aspect of reading is being able to create what they describe in my head. I also only read books that involve romance because I like shipping people. Also, one of the best feelings is when your people that you ship get together. I mean it probably has changed me. It is pretty easy to predict what will happen in a book after reading so many similar ones, but I read them anyways. It is also a great way to start a conversation with someone if you have both read the same book and that is nice. Reading is just great and I have always enjoyed it and always will enjoy it.
KELVIN: My favorite aspect of reading is how personal it is for everybody that reads a story. Many people can read the same exact story and interpret it in so many different ways. I also love the way that reading connects people and brings people together. I believe that reading has absolutely changed me as a person. I believe that since I started reading again and since I started reading books I genuinely enjoy, I have found myself looking at the world and experiencing life in way I never have before. Reading has helped me understand what it is like to live lives different than my own and shown me perspectives on things I never would have known otherwise.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Feel free to answer any of the questions in this post yourself down in the comments! ♥
If you’re interested in guest posting/contributing to Strung out on Books, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! ♥♥