OPINION: I judged a book by its cover and you should too

I used to hate reading, but now I love it so much that I became an English major. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

I hated reading as a kid. 

I hated it so much that I cried when my mom made me read for 30 minutes one afternoon in fifth grade. 

As a senior English major standing here today, I can vouch that I no longer cry when I have to read. I actually love it. 

I love reading for its immersive experience – the ability to expand my perspective and challenge to make me critically think.

But what changed?

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I hated being told to read books in school. But one day during sophomore year in high school, I was walking through the book section at Walmart. I noticed a dramatic cover with a crown that read “The Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard. Something about the cover was intriguing to me at that moment.

I judged the book by its cover, and it was one of the best decisions I made. 

The book is a dystopian fantasy romance novel, a breath of fresh air compared to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that I was forced to read weeks earlier. 

Reading “The Red Queen” made me realize that reading doesn’t have to be dry and boring. The new world with funny characters working through teenage difficulty made me see that reading can actually be fun. 

After reading that fantasy book, I craved more books that gave me an immersive experience. Next, I devoured “The Selection” series by Kiera Cas and “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. 

I eventually grew my reading ability to read classics like “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde and “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, books that are known to be intimidating and full of philosophical themes. 

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I realized that reading allowed me to tap into old worlds and people, expanding my knowledge and perspective.

I could go back in time and learn about the ancient Greeks in “The Odyssey” by Homer or learn about the challenges of being an Afghan immigrant in “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini or even learn about the difficulties of navigating young adult life in “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. 

In life, we can get so caught up in our own opinions and perspectives that we shut down any other viewpoints and deem them “wrong.” We see the world how we see it, and it can limit our ability to grow, learn and understand. 

Reading helps you to see different perspectives, strengthening your own by changing or making your opinion stronger. 

And on a college campus full of different cultures and opinions, reading allows you to get a better understanding of the people that sit next to you in class by opening your perspective. 

In a society that is so politically polarized with lies or “fake news,” thinking critically is an important skill to have – one that scrolling on social media can’t teach you. 

Editor’s note: This is the third article in a “Here’s why” series on things opinion editor Abigail Nichols has done that she believes readers should do too.