I’m Bringing Reading Back

**Warning: Spoilers below**

In fifth grade I went to Hogwarts (not the fake one in Universal Studios made for muggles, but the real one) with my friends Harry, Ron and Hermione.

In high school I went to all of Gatsby’s extravagant parties, lived in the South side of Chicago with the Youngers, floated down the Mississippi river with Jim and Huckleberry Finn and witnessed first hand both Bella and Edward’s and Romeo and Juliet’s epic love stories.

I’ve been many places, met multitudes of different people and have experienced things you couldn’t even imagine over my 19 years. Some of these I didn’t like or didn’t connect with and some changed my life forever, but there is no denying that they all took me on an adventure – allowing me to escape from reality.

You may be asking yourself “how?” The answer is simple: read a book.

A few of many escapes to choose from. (Raegan Whiteside)

Don’t get me wrong, I know we can’t escape every problem we run into and every responsibility we face, but sometimes we need to slip away from the world that keeps disappointing us.

Yes, there is fighting and pain that we still experience in books, however, when reading, even though you enter another world, you know it isn’t real. On the same note, whether there is or isn’t a happy ending, it’s okay because it’s just fiction. Happy endings are rare in our world so, through reading, we finally get to experience the triumph one feels when they actually win and resolve a conflict — a feeling I can get used to.  

Voldemort was bound to be defeated by the goodness of Harry Potter, but the United States didn’t have the same “happy ending” when the presidential election was concerned.

Katniss lived happily ever after with Peeta and their children, whereas now divorce rates are high, so how can we ever be sure that this vision is truly ideal?

Even the Divergent trilogy has a happy ending, despite Tris’s unfair death (don’t even get me started on that), because while the city of Chicago used to be divided into factions, by the end of the series segregation is eliminated. Our world, on the other hand, can’t figure out how to treat everyone equally even though we have centuries of horrible history to learn from.

The perfect reading location. (Raegan Whiteside)

I lied before, reading is more than just an escape. It’s a way to motivate and inspire us. Even further, to teach us to stand up for what we believe in and be true to who we are, like our favorite protagonists — Tris, Katniss, Harry, Scout Finch, Hester, Celie, Esther, and countless others — demonstrate to us so courageously.

Maybe it’s strange that I’m telling you to look down when you’ve been told your whole life to keep your chin up and eyes forward, but sometimes you can find the best inspiration in the palms of your hands. Forget reality and the world that sometimes (most times) is too much to handle, sit down with a book and travel to another world – find motivation, and just be.

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