You don’t have to read the book. [On The Contrary]

Happy Book Week! Here’s why you don’t have to read books anymore. I’m kidding, but only a little. Like many people who choose to write things for the Internet that exceed 140 characters, books are and have always been an important part of my life. Books are the ultimate comfort form of entertainment, because they not only pass the time better than any other diversion, they give the sense of enriching it as well. Of course movies and television can be enriching and informative, but there was never a deliberate campaign aimed at young children that offered free personal pan pizzas for watching more T.V. (Thank you Book It!) Throughout my early childhood, our school always pressured us to read, which was really no pressure at all, since I loved to read. I was a little annoyed when they were pushing for Beverly Cleary while I was much more interested in Tolkien, but somehow we got by. Then in high school we seemed to hit the brick wall that was standardized testing. My high school didn’t read. We weren’t often assigned books, and those we were assigned were always short and usually more suggested than actually explored (I don’t ever remember discussing anything longer than a short story other than for extra credit). What time did we have to read novels when my rural Western Pennsylvanian school district was busy trying to cut costs and get more funding by forcing us to take standardized tests constantly? (This irks me more in retrospect and was a reason that I was against Dubbya’s “No Child Left Behind” before it was cool to be against it.) Besides, we were mostly being counseled to go technical and trade schools anyway. In desperate hope to force myself to have...