If you have free time, experience the euphoria a good book can bring

As a child, I was the epitome of a bookworm; you would never find me without a book. I’d even keep book lights with me so I could finish a novel before my class’s weekly library trip. However, growing up came with lots of responsibilities, most of which took away from my free time. I found myself struggling to balance school, homework, and my personal life. This left no room to read any of the books I had checked out at the library. 

Nothing can compare to the sadness I felt when I realized that I had stopped reading a book or two a week. It was painful when I found that I couldn’t even get through a chapter, let alone a whole novel, in one night, because it felt too much like schoolwork. Despite the fact that I could recall every single character or plot that has built the foundation of who I am today, I had lost my passion for reading. It had become a chore.

This mindset lasted throughout most of my high school career. I can recall bonding with many of my fellow rebellious teens over our contempt of the library and the nerds who spent their lunches there. It wasn’t until my junior year, when we studied books that I enjoyed, that I realized how stupid I had been to give reading up. Even though I only had a little bit of free time or none at all, I had missed delving deep into fictional worlds and falling in love with characters that were perfectly imperfect. 

It is important for everyone to read, even if it’s just a little bit, because books are written to be shared and discussed. Books, short stories, and poems are all written to give the reader something, be it hope, familiarity, or just a bit of happiness. 

These are some books that I have enjoyed and thought I would share with you all:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a story told by protagonist Jacob Jankowsi from when he was both a young adult and an elderly man. He comes to work for a circus in the early 1930s as a veterinarian, but finds that there is a lot more to the circus than he thought. The book details the relationships he forms as well as the love he finds, and tells his life story with such intense emotion that I found myself brought to tears at the end of the book. I would recommend reading it if you enjoy books that give you reason to reflect on your own circumstances and search for connections with impassioned characters.

If you like stories that will keep you on edge until the very last page, this book is for you. Told from the point of view of Jacob Moore, a crime journalist, The Alienist discusses the development of criminology and the role it plays in catching a serial child murderer. This novel is historical fiction, but there is so much graphic, painstaking detail that it almost feels like the reader is experiencing the thrill of solving a real murder mystery in 1800’s New York first hand. 

Hideaway, by Dean Koontz, is a thriller that depicts the life of Hatch Harrison, who dies and comes back to life. He finds himself connected to an evil presence after being brought back, and he and the entity begin to share visions. This puts his family in danger, and it is up to Harrison to save them. This book is the kind of book that makes time pass quickly. It is fast paced yet drawn out, and is perfect for filling up any free time you may have.

The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater is more lighthearted than all of the previous books on this list; it is written for a more teenage audience and it deals with themes of friendship, loyalty, and fate versus free will in a way that keeps the reader on their toes. The main character, Blue Sargent, comes from a family of psychics who all predict that she will kill her first love. One day, when she gets pulled into a quest by a bunch of local rich boys, she learns that there is a lot to be discovered about her hometown, Henrietta. If you like mystery with a hint of romance and familial side plots, this series is one that is sure to hold your interest.

This reporter graduated in 2020.
Senior Nikita Prasad, opinions columnist for the Hatchet, is in her first year of journalism. She grew up in Fremont and is very passionate about her opinions. In her free time, Prasad enjoys cooking and baking. She plans to pursue culinary arts in the future by opening a bakery in Aix-en-Provence, France.

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