“I hate reading.”
“Why do you read so much?”
“Stop being a nerd and put the book down.”
“Ew, I would rather go out than read.”
As an English teacher and booknerd, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard variations of the above phrases. Students, friends, co-workers, and even strangers have criticized my hobby and passion.
It’s no secret that reading gets a bad name in our society. “Reader” has erroneously become synonymous with dork, anti-social, boring, and dull. Society imagines a life on loneliness, cats, and nerdy glasses. While some of these ideas may be slightly (or mostly) true, I am more than fine with the label of booknerd.
I’m proud to be one.
As an English teacher, my life is cluttered with books . . . classics, teen reads, romance, and everything in between. There are shelves overflowing both at school and at home. I am often seen with one or two books in hand. At home, I read at least one book a week just for fun.
Do I get criticized for it?
Do I care?
Not at all.
Being a booknerd is something I take pride in. Why?
1. Booknerds get to explore the world
I’ve seen the Civil War in Sierra Leone from the eyes of a child soldier. I’ve traveled to Auschwitz in a train car. I’ve fought in an arena for my life. I’ve been a woman of all ages, seen parts of the world I’ve never been to.
Books give us more than just a chance to pretend and imagine. They allow us to see life’s biggest questions from another point of view. Because of books, I think I’ve become more empathetic to those around me. I’ve been able to see life from so many places.
2. Booknerds are Never Lonely
I’ll admit it: I’m an anti-social introvert. I’m not the life of the party or the girl at the center of the crowd. I like to blend in. I like to spend time on my couch with Henry rather than go out.
A part of this comes from the fact that society is exhausting. There is constant judgement to deal with and the constant need to say the right thing.
Books give us the power to interact with others. . . sort of. I can get to know the characters in my books without the pressures you find in a real life interaction. Do books replace social interaction?
However, they can help us find ourselves in a way we can’t always do because of social pressures.
3. Booknerds have killer vocabulary skills.
Experts note that reading for pleasure as a child impacts your vocabulary later in life. However, it's never too late to jump in and expand your words! Check out this article about how reading, especially early in life, can impact your vocabulary.
4. Booknerds can count leggings as real clothes.
Who needs fancy, uncomfortable clothes or high heels? My night only requires leggings and slippers. My current obsession is Lularoe. Give me those leggings over a fancy going out outfit any day.
Reading seems like a lonely hobby, right? In truth, I've spent many nights alone buried in a book.
The thing is, though, I'm not alone.
Reading connects us to the world around us, to worlds beyond us, and to worlds within us. It helps us realize our journey as a human and that we aren't alone on that journey. Our thoughts and deepest secrets are the same as those around us. Sometimes we can only find this truth in a book.
As William Nicholson says, “We read to know we’re not alone.”
How about you? Are you proud to be a booknerd? Comment with reasons why being a booknerd rocks! Show some booknerd pride!
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