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Reading offers more than an eye strain
Posted on September 23, 2005

Nicole Knight
Arts Editor

Working at Nordstrum, studying the stars, surviving massive retail sales and staring at ancient artwork were all included in my “fun-filled” summer this year. However, one task looming over my head like the hot sun consumed all my time.

And as the school year begins, I imagine many of ULV’s students are beginning to feel the eyestrain as well. Endless reading had devoured every spare moment of my summer bliss.

When I was working on my tan, I was reading. When I went on vacation to San Diego, I was reading.

During my breaks between summer school classes, I was reading. I even saw sentences in my sleep that is how much literature overtook my brain.

Although come to think of it, the majority of this so-called punishment was administered by myself. It was my choice to take on two summer classes and complete my required reading for my Italy trip. On top of this craziness, I also read for pleasure.

Most people shiver and sneer at the thought of reading actually providing an enjoyable experience.
My upbringing left me no choice, but to fully enjoy reading and to reap all its benefits. My parents encouraged me to read at a very young age and my teachers provided rewards for the students with the highest tally of books read.

What I don’t understand is why it seems that I am the only “dork” who reads for pleasure anymore? I read people’s profiles (under the infamous myspace.com of course, which is another column in itself) and under the category of “books” I see phrases like “what’s a book” and “nah.”

With the cruelty of school-age children, I can imagine how adults develop a fear of reading. Every class had one; the kid who couldn’t spit out a sentence to save their life. Such embarrassing childhood memories would scar anyone.

Our world has become completely obsessed with the visual medium. The result of this phenomenon: laziness. I will be the first to admit that I have fallen into this evil. However, I will give laziness the credit of offering numb relaxation. The specific laziness I am referring to is the loss of imagination.

Reading allows the imagination to run wild as our brains absorb the words. We are free to create our own worlds and visualize our own characters. Books take us places in our minds, where the television takes us places through our eyes.

I also found that when I read, I am a better conversationalist and writer. My choice of words and phrases are more colorful and descriptive, and I become an interesting storyteller.

If you try reading the book before you go see the movie, I almost guarantee you will like the book better. Even the movies cannot go where the imagination can.

I understand the difficulty of even wanting to read an interesting book after piles of required reading. And with how hectic my life has been already this semester, I completely understand the minimal hours in the day to read what you want. And after tackling stale academic work, people need a chance to be numb and not think.

However, when the academia is finished, try waking up your imagination to entertain your brain.
I believe people will find the benefits of this lost art to be greater than what meets the eye.

Nicole Knight, a junior journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at nknight@ulv.edu.