“Why would you want to do that?” “Boring” “You read? What a nerd” “I’m not reading the assigned book for homework, I have a life” “Are you reading? *laughter*” “Books are for nerds, what a waste of time”
Reading. The first book ever written was The Epic of Gilgamesh, it is a mythologized account of a historical figure, Gilgamesh, a ruler of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, believed to have been written in 2100 BC. The first mass published book was The Gutenberg Bible by Johannes Gutenberg printed in Europe in 1455. Writing started on basic Clay Tablets in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC (3000-2000 BC). Writing was then written upon papyrus by the Egyptians, bone and wood in East Asia, Wax Tablets by the Romans, Parchment in the 3rd century BC, and paper in China in 105 AD. Reading has been going on forever, from folk tale collections such as The Canterbury Tales in 1456 to classics written by Charles Dickens such as Great Expectations in 1861 to the modern-day big sellers like The Harry Potter Series from 1997 to 2007 that is still going strong now. So why is one of the oldest traditions in the world considered ‘Nerdy’?
The world has become so much more accepting in recent years, children, teenagers and adults are educated on topics such as substance abuse, racial crimes, the LGBT community and gender equality. People have grown up and learnt to respect others and what they do. So why is striving to be ‘cool’ in school a thing that is still a must? Reading in school, especially as a teenager, gets you automatically blacklisted from the ‘cool’ social group in the social hierarchy.
But why is this the case? Reading is a form of educating yourself, expanding your horizons, opening your mind to more information you never knew of and as a form of relaxation and fun for people, a means to escape the reality of life. A way to escape that stressful day at work, a way to run away from the mounting struggles of school, a way to leave life for a while and walk into someone elses. I cannot think of another activity that gives your brain such a work out, your brain takes you to another place that you can picture in such detail as if watching it play out before you. The best part? It’s a whole different experience for everyone, every person who reads a book will imagine the characters differently, the voices differently and the environment differently. Watching a film is in reality the same thing, you’re watching what one person visualised by reading a book, but if you were to read the book yourself you could end up watching a completely different movie play out.
Is it the idea of a physical book that makes it ‘nerdy’? Is it the thought of a bookstore? A library? But it is just paper with words written upon, another store in the shopping centre and a collection place of knowledge just like the internet is.
Are authors ‘nerds’ because they read and write? Of course not, because they make money and in your eyes that’s all that important. Those notes make the world go round. In my eyes authors are some of the most incredible people in the world, sure they can’t solve how long it will take a new space shuttle to reach space or how to operate on a patient. But what they do do is inspire people, teach people life lessons, constantly shock and stun people with twists and turns and bring people together over a common love.
So in truth are you mocking reading because you know those who read are smarter than you? More accepting and creative than you? More educated and have better analytical skills than you, therefore making them more employable than you? Can reduce stress faster and have better memory skills than you?
You should consider this next time you go to mock the readers out there.
Reading is relaxing. Reading is educational. Reading is fun.
And the saddest part? Only one of my friends truly knows how much I read, how passionate I have become about it. She is the only person who I can really trust to talk about books with, to share my findings with, to tell about the great Thriller I have recently read. And this is all because she is the only person I know who reads like I do. Passionate readers are either dying out or are too ashamed to come out and proclaim their hobby to their friends. People are too caught up in wanting to be ‘cool’ that they sacrifice the things they love.
I hope I have left you with some things to consider and some things to talk about with other people. I want reading to break away from the connotations of ‘nerdy’ and ‘uncool’ and just become another hobby loved by many who will be able to proclaim their enjoyment of it without worrying about backlash from people calling them ‘nerds’.
Reading is just Reading.
Some links to more interesting websites on reading:
I’d love to hear your opinion of this in the comments below.