This I Believe

Alexandra - Seattle, Washington
Entered on January 30, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in good books. I believe in the power a book holds – the power to make people believe, and to educate us. I believe in books as a form of relaxation, of simply taking a break. I believe books are a form of stress relief, if only temporarily. I believe good books are an escape route, an exit off the busy highway of life.

I am not exactly sure how or when my belief came to be. I have always been a voracious reader, and learned to read around the age of four. Since then, reading has become a way of life for me.

Books can make me “think of things I never thunk before. And then [I’ll] sit, and think some more,” as the Scarecrow in the “Wizard of Oz” says; or they can bring up a new perspective to an old problem. The words to a song in the Disney movie “Aladdin” sum this up well, “A new fantastic point of view.” They can make me think about anything, from politics, to the answer to that math problem, or even reflecting on my own life.

In sixth grade, I started middle school, and was formally introduced to the concept of stress. The level of homework was at least doubled, and the level of difficulty taken up a notch. This may have been when the use of books as an antidote to stress really took off for me. This is when I began to read to relax, instead of reading when I was relaxed.

A really good book takes me to another world, another time. I can travel the world in a day, or chose to go back a century or two. It makes me think, and believe. Again, I quote “Aladdin”, “A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew.” In this new world, books, stories, novels, magazines, whatever I’m reading, can make me believe in things I never thought were real. Things such as magic and wizards, vampires or other fantasy creatures, even something as important as believing in myself.

The tricky part comes in defining a good book. Books don’t have to be old or a classic to be good. In fact, there are many wonderful books that were just published last year! While books that educate me or make me think are great, there comes a time when I want a light read, something easy to take my mind off of the honking cars on the busy highway of life. Something to make the insults my younger sister hurtles at me fade away into the background. I believe that that book is a good book too. I believe that a “good book” has few requirements, and I believe that any book that anyone enjoys is a good book. I believe books can be used as an escape route, and that they can teach us things that no person will ever be able to teach us. I believe in the power of books.