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Destination: Wherever You Want

Classroom Corner Winner January 2010
by BCNewsletter
January 8, 2010
Reading a book is unlike any experience on Earth. With a book you can go into any setting, become any character, and imagine a plot taking place right in front of you. A vast set of genres allows the reader to pick what world they want to explore that day and immediately become intertwined in it. As a broad reader, I let myself dive many genres. This provides me with an appreciation of all styles. You, as the reader, can independently form the story in your mind the way no movie, conversation or play can. Technology may have changed the world of reading, but reading changes the world.

As soon as a novel is cracked open, a doorway into another world is created.
Even though another person wrote the story line, it is up to the reader to imagine what the author is portraying. An author’s colorful vocabulary and use of sensory imaging help to create that idea in your mind. A story has a specific plot, but you can imagine the characters and take your own opinion on how the story will end. You can imagine how every character thinks, feels the scenery of a good setting around them, and hear the way they speak exactly as you think they should.

With many genres and styles, writing can please every audience in the world. Once a reader knows their own comfort zone they can enjoy as many books as they can find, each taking them to a new place in a new time. Or you can become a eclectic reader, one day intrigued with counter-espionage of the United States enemies and another day learning about the life of a 20th century automotive assembly line employee. If fiction isn’t your game, then non-fiction can provide you with as much fact and information as your heart desires. Movie genres cover the same subjects, but there are considerably less numerous choices. A library has thousands of books, while the Blockbuster has four rows of DVD’s.

Movies and plays are alternate ways to try and enjoy a storyline, but unfortunately, it is often entirely up to the director how a story unfolds. I have seen good novels poorly recreated in the cinematic world. With a book, each reader may be his own director and producer, but your way of directing is different from the next novelist. Another constraint with films is their time limit. Directors play to the audience, and must consider that audience's attention span. Two hours is about that limit. No 1000 page novel can be properly expressed in two hours. This naturally ends up with parts cut. As is with the trend in attention span, it will only get smaller and smaller. Men and women used to spend hours and the opera or in a play. It is now two hours. Our modern, lazy world is finding less and less time to spend delving into the rich background behind books.

I can’t wait to be done with all of my school work and when the day is winding down to lay in bed with a new and exciting book that makes me think about a different life besides mine. Any book, can at any time take me to a alternate dimension. Cinemas try, but come up short. Reading is an independent act designed solely by you, the reader. This makes reading a unique experience, unlike anything on Earth.

This essay is the January winner for the BookCrossing Classroom Corner, a new semi-regular feature of our semi-regular Newsletter. For details how to enter the contest, please click here.

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