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I have no shelf control: Thoughts of an avid reader

By in Opinions

When I was younger, my mom stressed the importance of reading and taught me to do so at an early age. She instilled in me a love of reading that hasn’t left.

While books like Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit just don’t do it for me anymore, my love of reading has never died. I’ve moved up to books like Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman and Paul Lukacs’ Inventing Wine, but my love of reading has only grown stronger.

Reading is not only for leisure — it’s also a great way to stay informed. I’m usually on my phone in class reading the news. I don’t just read articles from one site. I get my information from a plethora of sources like the StarPhoenix, CTV News, Vox, BBC News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The New York Times, and of course, the Sheaf.

In fact, I’m the only person my age I know who subscribes to The New York Times. Visiting a news website isn’t really that common for 21-year-olds, after all. The news on these sites helps me stay informed and aware of the world around me.

Reading is a great way to learn about topics to which you might never have otherwise been exposed. I found American politics interesting after reading the news regularly. The government in the United States is a mess right now, and I wanted to learn more about it.

While one can read and digest information from devices, good old-fashioned books work, too. I’m terrible for getting my hands on books and never reading them — I’m a book hoarder. There’s even a Japanese term to describe someone like me — “tsundoku,” which refers to someone who acquires books and never quite gets around to reading them. I’m so guilty of being far behind on my reading list that I just finished some books that I got 10 years ago.

This penchant for hoarding books has led me to have hundreds of diverse titles in my bedroom! I can’t even get rid of any of them because they all spark joy for me — Marie Kondo would not be happy. Of course, having that many books hasn’t stopped me from wanting more. I currently have over 100 books on my wish list. I will have material to read for years to come, especially if I keep adding to my reading list.

Books are a great — and cheap! — way to be entertained. While the time needed to read a book depends on the reader as well as the topic and length of a book, reading a 300-page book usually takes upwards of three hours. Compared to the money you’d spend going out, a book is a cheap investment that can entertain you over and over again.

My love of reading is what brought me to volunteer at the Sheaf three years ago. I became quite good at proofreading thanks to the many hours spent poring over books, and I found it to be something that I enjoyed. Copy editing was the perfect fit for me, and I’ve been volunteering ever since.

Reading can enhance your writing skills by strengthening your vocabulary and subconsciously improving your grammar. At some point in your academic career, you’ll be slamming your head into a table because you have a paper to write and you need all the marks you can get. Why not dazzle your professor with your luxurious lexicon to boost your grade?

Overall, reading is a great use of your time because it can keep you informed, teach you new things, help you become a better writer and give you hours of entertainment. The next time you have a spare minute, why don’t you relax with a nice book or stay in the loop by reading a couple of news articles? You’ll thank yourself for taking the time to do so.

Matthew J.S. Taylor

Graphic: Shawna Langer

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