Dear Badger, 

When did you last read a book? How many books have you read this year? Have you ever borrowed a novel from the library? If you don’t read, you’re simply letting your brain slowly turn to a mushy blob only capable of analysing the meaning of a like-fishing Facebook status. If you don’t read, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures: to break away from your consciousness and lose yourself in a story.

To further sell the idea of reading to you, it also: improves your memory, improves analytical skills, improves focus and relives stress. For various reasons, reading has been stigmatised in everyday life. ‘It’s boring’ or ‘I have no time’ or ‘I’d rather watch TV’. None of these are good enough reasons to not read.

If you find it boring, you’re experience of reading has probably been limited to the books you were forced to read in school. The hazy GCSE English lessons on ‘Of Mice and Men’ or ‘1984’. Schools always make reading boring, because you’re being forced to read what they define as good books. So pick up a book which you want to read. If you find I boring, put it down and go find another one. Branch out. Reading is at it’s greatest when you can’t wait to pick the book up again. Remember that time you read Harry Potter in a weekend?

If you see reading as laborious, or think watching TV is easier, then read around your TV tastes. If you’re a House of Cards addict, go for a breakneck paced Lee Child. If you’re a fan of Girls, go for Jay McInerney’s Story of my Life. Like weird YouTube videos? Read Audition by Ryu Murakami, it’s seriously twisted. American Horror Story? Literally any Stephen King book.

Don’t let the lit snobs of the world influence what you read. They’re the kind of w**kers who drudge through something turgid as hell just so they can put it on their bookshelf. If you love Jodi Picoult, Sophie Kinsella, or Nicholas Sparks (don’t shoot me) because you love the stories, then you’re doing a better job than the snob.

You have no time? Really? When I saw you in eating lunch in the library, you seemed very engrossed in playing on your phone. Or when you were on the train, you were tapping through someone’s Instagram photo’s of their morning porridge. Christ alive, read instead. There’s your time; even if it’s just for ten minutes, you can get through six pages. I read whenever I have free time, I carry a book with me wherever I go, because I refuse to be bored.

Make it fun; buy a Kindle. Don’t listen to the doomsayers rhetoric of ‘this is gonna kill the book’ put you off. The book or the kindle is just the package; what matters is the story. Leafing through a book on a summer’s day is a fine thing, a kindle is just as good. Everybody used to love reading as a kid, and that’s why it’s so important to keep it up in adulthood. If you want to escape from your parents demands to get the f**k on with your life, go read a book instead.

Louis Patel 

Categories: Opinion

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