By Rachel Schelling
Have you ever wanted to escape from this world into another? Have you ever wanted to solve mysteries, seek adventures, take on the bad guys? Reading is a way to do all these things and more. Each novel is its own reality, with its own rules and its own extraordinary aspect.
Reading has been around since the invention of cuneiform in ancient Mesopotamia, and possibly even earlier. The first book, The Tales of Genji by Lady Murasaki, marked a turning point that changed the world, as the number of books exponentially multiplied to the vast expanse we have today. If you find comfort, relaxation, joy, or any other reason you could possibly have for reading, there is a book out there for you. Besides all the genres from which to choose, we now have the choice between electronic books or real paper, ink and binding books.
What are people reading?
This is a difficult question, similar to asking what flavor of ice cream people are eating. There are simply too many choices, too many answers. Everyone has a different personality and therefore different book preferences. There are travelers who simply need short and sweet novels to get them through grueling plane rides. There is the avid crossword puzzle enthusiast who loves to solve a mystery. There is the stay at home mom who is passionate about historical fiction. Joy can be found in a plethora of places for any reader–that’s the beauty of reading.
Chappaqua Librarian Rebecca Rogan offered insight on today’s most popular genres: mystery is widely enjoyed, and is just one popular genre that is granted its own section in the Chappaqua Library. Certain age groups seem to gravitate towards particular genres, such as romance novels; mystery and science fiction can capture the imaginations of members of all generations. However, there are “renegades” in any group, age or otherwise, making it virtually impossible to pick just a few books to represent everyone’s choices.
To E-Read or Not to E-Read?
What we read on has become a 21st century choice. Besides our choices in novels, we can choose to read an electronic book or a paper book. E-readers are smaller, easier to carry and travel with, can hold thousands of books, and may offer more choices such as language, font size, and font type. However, many hard-core readers complain that e-readers lack a “real book” feel; reading simply isn’t the same when you press buttons instead of turning pages, and curling up with a Nook, iPad or Kindle doesn’t have the same feel as curling up with a paperback. It is also virtually impossible to share a beloved book with a friend.
Electronic readers, however, are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the younger generation and travelers. Some book lovers fear that electronic books may someday replace paper books. Ms. Rogan believes that online books won’t take away from real books, but will simply be an addition to the books already out there and the one that have yet to come. The most important thing is that people keep reading, in any and all forms.
Reading continues to be a huge part of our culture. No matter how many genres, forms and authors exist, there will always be a book for each and every person. So go, grab a book (or e-reader!), and prepare to get lost in a whole new and different world.
Rachel Schelling is now a sophomore at Horace Greeley High School.
The New York Times top fiction novels of 2010:
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
The New Yorker Stories, by Ann Beattie
Room, by Emma Donoghue
Selected Stories, by William Trevor
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan.
New York Times top nonfiction:
Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, by Jennifer Homans
Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee,
Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, by Stephen Sondheim
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson