How reading more helps with more than your vocabulary

Picking up a good book could potentially change your life

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018

Photo by Alyssa Anderson

A collection of some of Anderson’s favorite reads, all which come highly recommended.

Books are my life, I’m not even exaggerating. One of my favorite parts of the day is sitting down to devour a good book. In fact, I owe a vast majority of my successes in life to my voracious reading habit.

As a kid, I was never really that into school. I had a hard time paying attention, spending more of my time exploring my imagination rather than engaging in my schoolwork. Not much could hold my attention, until I picked up my first book.

I was around six years old when I stumbled across a copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” I immediately fell in love. I had finally found something that could hold my attention, all while allowing me to expand my imagination.

Harry Potter was my gateway drug to hard literature. I became addicted to reading and, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I ended up reading the Harry Potter series at least 15 times through. Eventually, my addiction progressed and I began reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. I was hooked.

From Kurt Vonnegut to Khaled Hosseini, I began going through several books a month. I started reading because I loved it, but my love for literature eventually became much more than a way to pass time.

Reading made me more engaged in school and eager to learn. I began excelling at vocabulary tests and receiving high scores in AP English classes. Overall, I became a better student.

One day, I found the book that would ultimately change my life. I was a junior in high school with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. That is, until I picked up “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay.

“Sarah’s Key” tells the story of a journalist who uses her skills to delve deeper into history and discover the mysteries of the past. After finishing this novel in approximately two days, I had an epiphany. I realized I wanted to become a journalist.

If I had not read “Sarah’s Key,” I don’t know how long it would have taken me to find my direction in life. It may sound lame, and probably pretty nerdy, but I wholeheartedly believe this book and my love for literature have changed my life completely. I would not be who I am today if I had not begun reading.

I think it goes without saying that I encourage every single one of you to pick up a book. Whether it be a cheesy romance novel or a biography of Isaac Newton, find something that interests you and read about it.

“The most moving (and enduring) books you collect are those that become a mirror,” Himay Zepeda said in a Huffington Post article. “This mirror is placed in front of you when you read something that has you nodding along and thinking, yes, that is how it is. You just found a part of yourself.”

A book is much more than a collection of words on paper. A book is a tool that allows people to learn about the world around them, magnify their mind and even discover things about themselves. Reading is a wonderful tool, and everyone should take advantage of it.

Pick up a book once in awhile; you never know what you might find.