I read a variety of books this quarter. I started and finished a lot of series, the Mortal Instrument Series, the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and the Maze Runner series, etc. I read a lot of fantasy, suspense, and adventure-type books this quarter. I also read a lot of historical fiction, especially books set in Tudor England and the Renaissance period throughout Europe. I did a lot of re-reading this quarter. I also tried reading some classic books, such as Gone With the Wind. I especially liked the Mortal Instrument Series, because the mix of fantasy and reality was really well put together, the characters were well developed and the plot really folded the reader into the story and had them sympathize with the characters. I didn’t really like reading the classics, but I haven’t finished any of them yet.
Personally, I usually like the books I choose for my self rather than the ones a teacher chooses for me. I know which kinds of books I like to read and which ones I probably won’t enjoy, whereas in school, a teacher has to follow a curriculum, and the books they choose might not be ones that I can relate to as well as books I would pick for myself. However, sometimes it introduces a book that I might not have heard about before, or a genre I haven’t read very much of. I don’t really like reading books for school, mostly because you have to read at a set pace, and a lot of times the books a teacher chooses for us to read as a class are books I’ve already read on my own.
I think a big part of reading is knowing yourself as a reader – knowing what books you enjoy or don’t enjoy. It’s hard to finish a book you’re not interested in; the reason we finish books is because we want to know how it ends, and if you’re not interested in the book, you probably don’t care about how it ends. The books I read this quarter were ones that I’m really glad I picked up, and couldn’t put down when I did.
I’ve learned a lot through my readings. Most books have a deeper, profound theme behind their settings, plot, and characters. I once read that, “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Once you read something, you can’t unread it. I think a big part of growing as a reader and improving reading comprehension is being able to find and understand the theme of a book.
To grow as a reader, I’ve been planning to read some older books this quarter. I really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, so I want to read some other books by her, as well as the Bronte sisters and Charles Dickens. I’m also planning to read The Awakening, The Great Gatsby, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. I also want to find some more good series to read. I’m not sure what else I’ll read this quarter, because I don’t really do a lot of conscious planning on what I read.
I think the hardest part of reading for me is having patience, especially in suspenseful novels. Often times, I want to know how the climax resolves so much that without realizing it, I actually skim through some parts. I don’t actually skip parts, but I’m not reading as carefully as I probably should be, and some of the important aspects, like foreshadowing, don’t register. I think the part of reading that I’ve never really struggled with is finishing a book once I’ve started it.
I know what genres I enjoy reading (actually, there isn’t a particular genre that comes to mind that I don’t mind reading), and by reading the front flap or back cover of a book, I usually know if I’m going to like or dislike a book. I’m sure I must have put down a book before finishing it before, but I can’t actually remember doing it. Usually, I don’t have the problem of not wanting to finish a book. Even if I don’t enjoy a book, I don’t put it down, because I keep telling myself that it’ll get better, and most times, it does. If it doesn’t, I can’t know until I’m done anyway.
I feel that a “good” book is a book that affects you emotionally. All of my favorite books have made me laugh or cry. I can actually clearly remember the first book that made me cry (Charlotte’s Web, in second grade). I think that for many people, a bad book is a book that they can’t relate to. Personally, as a general rule, I don’t like books with everyday plots (such as a book centered around a high school conflict), books with only a single conflict, and books with a flat main character.
I think that at some point or the other, we have all read something on a computer or some other technical device. Providing that we all began with the top left word and proceeded, sweeping the page from left to right, down line by line until we reach the bottom right word, I think that, yes, it is considered reading. In many cases, using technology in our reading is cheaper and more convenient. I actually like physically holding a book to read it as opposed to say, reading on a Kindle, but it’s completely a personal preference and really has nothing to do with the reading process or the end result.