September 8, 2023

The Value of Reading a Book

By: Peyton Holliday

With the rise of modern technology and the ability to search any known fact on the internet, reading a physical book seems to have become a thing of the past. Our lives are fast-paced and keep us running from one thing to another with few precious moments to sit down and breath.

Recently, I was thumbing through a book I was reading and realized I had read more in that book than any other book I was currently reading. Books are cracked open and then I get busy and forget to finish them. Guaranteed that some of them are plain boring and others are not what I thought they would be, but reading is still a wonderful way to escape.

I personally try to read a little bit each day out of a physical book for several reasons. I have found that when I read a physical book I learn more than when I read on the internet. The internet has distractions and there are always other links I could click while a physical book gathers my full attention. If there is an internet article I want to read and fully invest in, I print them out because I learn much better that way.

Another reason that I read a little each day is because reading refocuses my brain. When I am stressed or have a full list of things to do, it helps to sit down, pick up a book, and immerse myself into the story that is happening.

A personal rule of mine is to always be reading something that I can learn from. This does not mean I never read fiction, but I do try to read  memoirs, biographies, or historical books too. With memoirs, whether that is Dand Perino’s And the Good News Is or the Memoirs of the Crown Prince of Germany both of these books have lessons for me to learn from. Reading other people’s stories is inspiring and reminds me of why I try so hard to go after the things in front of me. I may never learn how other people accomplished incredible things if I never take the time to read them.

Books have a way into my life that the internet can never compete with. Through the flipping of pages, folding down left hand corners, and taking notes, I gain a perspective into the world of others. I may not have grown up in Wyoming, so reading about someone who did, gives me a new perspective. Reading is a way to learn about other cultures and people and ideas. If you’re reading a personal memoir then you get the deep inside story of a person that you could not otherwise gain unless you know this person personally. 

One of the biggest values that books give me outside of learning, refocusing my brain, and a new perspective is that I have the time to read and understand without the words being click bait. When you look at articles on the internet many times these are written in a way to just draw you in only to leave you confused as to why you clicked on the article in the first place. With a book, there is more room to expand ideas and present evidence in a way that a click bait internet article cannot. 

As a history major footnotes are sometimes more valuable than what can be read in the book itself. If you have never experienced the value of footnotes, I recommend you give it a try. Internet articles rarely footnote and leave you wondering where information came from. Books, on the other hand, are well footnoted and leave you a paper trail to go follow. If you read a line and see that footnote, go see where the footnote came from. The value of footnotes can not be understated. 

Books help to remind us of worlds gone by and open our eyes to see things that might have been overlooked when the events were happening. This fall as we go about our daily lives enjoying the leaves and pumpkin spice, be sure to pick up a good book to read. Take the time to see the value in the book you are holding, read through the footnotes, and take away lessons that have stood the test of time.