A Guilford student’s reflections on the joy of reading


"Author James Patterson" by books_authors is marked with CC BY-ND 2.0.

James Patterson, author of the popular book series “Maximum Ride.”

Have you ever felt the adrenaline of skimming through wonderful descriptions in a story and wanting to read more?

I believe that books are the only way to understand the meaning of life.

I couldn’t read when I was younger, and my mom was frustrated, so she made me go to the public library every summer. My reading did get better, and when I turned 12, I discovered a passion for books. I would roam around through the middle school library looking for fiction stories, because at that time I hated reading nonfiction. I know I was a bit biased when I was little, but that was how I used to be. 

James Patterson has always been my favorite author. Some may be unfamiliar with him, but he writes incredible action and adventure stories, like “Maximum Ride,” “Witch and Wizard,” and “Kill Me if You Can.”

I know a lot of people my age don’t like to read, but I think they should at least try fiction if they don’t like nonfiction. For me, a fictional story is meaningful and allows readers to use their imagination, and a nonfiction story provides valuable information about historical events, the lives of others and more.

Even though fictional stories are not real, readers can learn lessons through them, by seeing and understanding what characters go through. Readers can learn that people change people, and that characters are influenced by what they see and can relate to. 

Nonfiction, on the other hand, shows us what politicians and other famous people have done and teaches us not to repeat the mistakes of others. For example, when reading a news article, I can reflect on something surprising that a politician has done and learn to make better choices.

Reading in general helps me learn from characters the same way I learn from friends and family. No matter what happens in the story, I learn to be a better version of myself from reading.  

I am not begging you to read if you absolutely hate it, but you should at least try to open a book and read that first page. Challenge yourself by reading the first chapter, or by finishing a book on your own.  You may learn things that you never knew before. 

During spring break, I started a book called “Certain Dark Things” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. So far, I have read five chapters, and the novel is about a vampire named Atl who meets a boy from the streets of Mexico City named Domingo. I know reading about vampires is weird, but I like it.  So far, I’ve learned that vampires are not that scary; Atl is judged for his appearance, but he is not evil.

I love the fact that a Mexican-Canadian woman wrote this incredibly detailed story in English. Surprisingly, I do not really read many cultural stories, but I am starting to, and  I think more people should try to read them as well. Overall, reading helps us learn about diverse cultures and to understand and learn from different characters. 

Guilford students can discover their own passion for reading by going to used bookstores like Edward McKay’s, which is close to downtown Greensboro, on Battleground Avenue. And while you can find an amazing selection of bargain books in McKay’s, you can also get a library card for free and visit any of the branch libraries in the Greensboro Public Library system. The Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch, which is the closest branch to Guilford, is just a four-minute drive away.