Books: The Forgotten Media


When was the last time you read a book? A whole book, from cover to cover. How was that feeling of folding over that last page, taking in that breath, and slamming the back cover shut? For me, it is always my favorite part about reading a book. The tactile feel of a book, the smell of the pages, and the crispness of the text always bring me back. Classical literature, dystopian futures, barbaric displays of human survival, moral dilemmas, interpersonal relationships, internal dialogue, literary techniques mixed with artistic style and suave, artistic changes in font and emphasis, page breaks, space between paragraphs that force the reader to reflect, that last page. Everything about books and reading is an experience like no other that simply cannot be replicated through cinema, sound, or a screen. My journey into reading has given me a huge appreciation for literature and I would like to tell you about it today.

November, 2019. My father is a huge Stephen King fan and always talked to me about his books, and I was always interested in the small, little snippets of context he would give me about them. I decided to pick up a hard-back copy of The Shining by Stephen King from my school library around early November. Even to this day, it is my favorite book of all time. It’s a big one, too, at around 700 pages for the copy I read and others 500 pages. For the first book I would ever read on my own, it was a tall order but an enjoyable one nonetheless. The internal dialogue of Jack Torrance’s character, the mystery of the Overlook Hotel, and the nail-biting scenes full of suspense and terror kept me reading until I eventually slammed down that back cover and breathed a huge sigh of satisfaction with a big smile on my face, knowing that this would be my first step into reading books for fun.

The next (roughly) ten books I read were all Stephen King books. I didn’t write down the names of them, so I constantly forget which ones exactly I have read, but if it is mentioned in passing, I will remember that I read it. Reading a book is something you can never forget. After The Shining, I read Doctor Sleep, Misery, the first Dark Tower, The Mist, the second Dark Tower, Carrie, Thinner, Gerald’s Game, Lisey’s Story, and the third Dark Tower. This was all in the span of the first three months of 2020, the most books I’ve ever read in my life knocked out in around 10 weeks. Then quarantine hit while I was in the middle of reading King’s 900 page book about JFK’s assassination: 11/22/63. I was so alone and miserable that I didn’t even have the willpower to read anymore and stopped for a month or two. I finally ended up finishing 11/22/63 but didn’t enjoy it as much as I would’ve if I had just read through the entire book in a few sittings. Slowly but surely, I started to branch out of just Stephen King.

After reading his 600 page book The Outsider, I read George Orwell’s books 1984 and Animal Farm since my brother wouldn’t shut up about how good they were. To his defense, they were incredible. After THAT, I read The Green Mile, another Stephen King classic, and then completely started reading other classics. Recently, I just finished reading a few books, such as The Outsiders and The Lord of the Flies. Currently, I am reading Fahrenheit 451 and am thoroughly enjoying myself.

Overall, books are unlike any other medium in that they can express emotion, portray characters, and lay the foundation for a setting with just words alone. This leaves the reader to construct their own version of reality in their own heads, making the experience that much more personal. For me, Paul Sheldon is held captive in a boxy room with his bed facing the east wall, as well as the window on the east wall. He is held there by lunatic Annie Wilkes, who looks like a big, fat lady who is very neat and orderly with a devilish look in her eyes. That book’s setting, being Misery, is entirely different from any other person’s layout of the main room, it is an entirely unique experience. I implore you, even if you hate reading, give it a shot sometime. If you told me 2 years ago that, by now, I would’ve read over 30 books in a little over a year and a quarter, I would have called you crazy, but look at me now.