Book nerd suffers without constant literature exposure

Kendall Carroll

When you’re in elementary and middle school, there’s plenty of time to read all about fictional worlds and characters. Once you get to high school, that all goes out the window. Between classes, homework, all the clubs the school strongly encourages you to join and extracurricular activities both in and out of school, there’s no time to enjoy these other worlds created for our enjoyment. As someone who loves to read, only having time to read once a week, for at most 45 minutes during ISR is soul-crushing.

I learned how to find time in class to read, though. I finish my geometry test early? You’ll see me eagerly reading, even if phones are allowed. We’re given time to do homework at the end of class? I’m finishing the latest Rick Riordan novel. This plan is great but usually only allows about 10 minutes of complete immersion. And one of the most painful things is when I’m in the most exciting part of a book and, for whatever reason, I’m forced to stop reading.

Suddenly, my entire world crashes down around me as the book slowly closes. I can’t think for a while about the real world because I’m too busy thinking about what is happening in the book! Then having to wait for minutes or hours before getting to read again is just torturous; my mind is split between the real world and whatever fictional land I’ve chosen to let consume my every thought. There’s no division between fantasy and reality.

And even if I’ve managed to read during every single given opportunity, it still takes a whole lot longer to finish a book than it normally would. And if it takes a book nerd longer than a week to finish a book, then they begin to run into one of the worst possible things in the world of fiction: spoilers. If I don’t finish my new book quickly and make the mistake of logging into social media, I’m gonna end up running into extreme details about who dies, who moved away, who ended up in love with whom and who “had a blast” in the epic finale.

Finding time to read in class usually does work out well. But other times I’m reading the terrible details of my favorite character’s death in a small room with 30 other teenagers, while heaps of feelings are piling up, and there’s nothing to do with them. And I know I can’t be the only one who suffers from this, but when a beautiful person in some amazing world is gone, successfully proving some mathematical theorem or labeling the parts of an animal cell gets slightly more difficult and feels irrelevant.

The main issue is still that there’s just not enough time in the day to read. If reading for fun is such a big thing we’re supposed to do, why aren’t we given time to do it? I desperately wish school allowed at least a little time to enjoy the literature offered. There’s just not enough time in the day to read the books, read about the books, talk about the books, get an acceptable amount of sleep, finish all 27 hours of homework, study for six tests, cure cancer, discover time travel, learn eight languages and do all the other stuff us teenagers are expected to do. Sadly, however, there doesn’t seem to be much of a way to fix this issue, so I’ll just stick to reading in the summer, over winter break and in the measly time given during the school year. Who needs a social life anyway?