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  • Essay on Reading Books

The habit of Reading Books is considered to be one of the most elite habits of all. Books are the means to store precious information either in a textual or pictorial manner. A book is such a wonderful and magnificent object that it takes a whole different amount of passion and discipline to construct a book and the same passion to study and sink that knowledge within. Here are a few sample essays on reading books.

100 Words Essay on Reading Books

200 words essay on reading books, 500 words essay on reading books.

Essay on Reading Books

Reading books is an incredible experience that can transport you to different worlds, introduce you to new ideas and cultures, and broaden your understanding of the world. It's a form of escape from the daily routine, and a way to engage with characters, stories and events that would not be possible in real life. Whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction, books have the power to challenge, inspire, and entertain. With the turn of each page, you gain new knowledge, develop empathy, and engage in introspection. Reading books is a lifelong journey of discovery and growth that can enrich your life in countless ways.

Reading books is an activity that has been enjoyed by people of all ages and cultures for centuries. This pastime offers numerous benefits, both for individuals and society as a whole.

One of the most significant benefits of reading books is the improvement of one's cognitive skills . By reading, we engage our brains, and the more we read, the more we exercise our cognitive abilities, including our ability to concentrate, comprehend, and retain information. This leads to enhanced problem-solving skills, better memory and a greater ability to understand complex concepts.

Another benefit of reading books is the expansion of one's knowledge and understanding of the world. Through reading, we have the opportunity to gain insights into different cultures, time periods, and ways of life. This can broaden our perspectives and help us become more informed and understanding citizens of the world. In addition, books can challenge our beliefs and assumptions, providing opportunities for personal growth and intellectual development.

Reading books is also a great form of entertainment . Whether we are reading a mystery, a romance, or a science-fiction novel, books can provide hours of escape and enjoyment. They allow us to immerse ourselves in different worlds, meet new characters, and experience new emotions. This form of entertainment provides a welcome break from the stresses of daily life and can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

The habit of reading books is not just a hobby but a complete lifestyle . The way it brings development in one’s character and personality from within is just magical. The importance of reading is to give people the ability to self-study but has numerous other benefits. When you read, you explore your true prospect of thinking. You get the venture of how the same lines could deliver a brand new set of thoughts and pictures in your mind just with a little change in the emotions. This is the kind of self-exploration reading provides.

Having a diverse set of knowledge can be of great help as it removes the bar of limited knowledge . Every social group has a different set of interests and by consuming all of that in yourself, you allow yourself to become a part of any group easily. A person who consumes more knowledge is considered the wisest. Your ideas are what draws people to you, wanting them to listen more and makes you one of the interesting people they interact with.

Reading is the most important means of human-to-human communication and getting to know different cultures, leading to the development and maturation of human language abilities, and is the source of development and mature human personality. Reading is very important to increase self-confidence, develop and strengthen character by acquiring a wealth of information and experience that a person needs in all areas of life, and to become an educated person. Not everyone in their lives gets the gift of knowledge and the ability to comprehend what they are looking at. Not everyone is privileged enough to be able to widen their knowledge without the help of someone else.

Reading is an art, and to have this art is equal to having the greatest weapon in your hand. No one can steal your ability to read once you learn it. You become free to consume knowledge about any topic you like.

Significance of Reading

Reading leads to the expansion of human thinking and intellectual capacities and strengthens your spirit. Every genre teaches something whether it is fictional or non-fictional. When fiction teaches you to imagine, self-help teaches you how to live life to the fullest. Reading is not limited to books only, you can read wherever you want, whatever you want and whenever you want and it all will be worth it. Knowledge is never known to be a curse and what is not a curse, is always beneficial.

My Reading Experience

The kind of books that got me into reading are self-help books. They inspired me in a way no other genre could. The writer Mark Manson is the greatest of all time to me. If you'll just search for self-help books over the internet then among the best sellers, two of the books would be his. The kind of discipline they brought into my life transformed me into a completely different person. These kinds of books give us an opportunity to dive deep into ourselves and learn about our true potential which is what happened to me and brought me into writing.

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  • Importance Of Reading Essay

Importance of Reading Essay

500+ words essay on reading.

Reading is a key to learning. It’s a skill that everyone should develop in their life. The ability to read enables us to discover new facts and opens the door to a new world of ideas, stories and opportunities. We can gather ample information and use it in the right direction to perform various tasks in our life. The habit of reading also increases our knowledge and makes us more intellectual and sensible. With the help of this essay on the Importance of Reading, we will help you know the benefits of reading and its various advantages in our life. Students must go through this essay in detail, as it will help them to create their own essay based on this topic.

Importance of Reading

Reading is one of the best hobbies that one can have. It’s fun to read different types of books. By reading the books, we get to know the people of different areas around the world, different cultures, traditions and much more. There is so much to explore by reading different books. They are the abundance of knowledge and are best friends of human beings. We get to know about every field and area by reading books related to it. There are various types of books available in the market, such as science and technology books, fictitious books, cultural books, historical events and wars related books etc. Also, there are many magazines and novels which people can read anytime and anywhere while travelling to utilise their time effectively.

Benefits of Reading for Students

Reading plays an important role in academics and has an impactful influence on learning. Researchers have highlighted the value of developing reading skills and the benefits of reading to children at an early age. Children who cannot read well at the end of primary school are less likely to succeed in secondary school and, in adulthood, are likely to earn less than their peers. Therefore, the focus is given to encouraging students to develop reading habits.

Reading is an indispensable skill. It is fundamentally interrelated to the process of education and to students achieving educational success. Reading helps students to learn how to use language to make sense of words. It improves their vocabulary, information-processing skills and comprehension. Discussions generated by reading in the classroom can be used to encourage students to construct meanings and connect ideas and experiences across texts. They can use their knowledge to clear their doubts and understand the topic in a better way. The development of good reading habits and skills improves students’ ability to write.

In today’s world of the modern age and digital era, people can easily access resources online for reading. The online books and availability of ebooks in the form of pdf have made reading much easier. So, everyone should build this habit of reading and devote at least 30 minutes daily. If someone is a beginner, then they can start reading the books based on the area of their interest. By doing so, they will gradually build up a habit of reading and start enjoying it.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Importance of Reading Essay

What is the importance of reading.

1. Improves general knowledge 2. Expands attention span/vocabulary 3. Helps in focusing better 4. Enhances language proficiency

What is the power of reading?

1. Develop inference 2. Improves comprehension skills 3. Cohesive learning 4. Broadens knowledge of various topics

How can reading change a student’s life?

1. Empathy towards others 2. Acquisition of qualities like kindness, courtesy

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Can Reading Make You Happier?

By Ceridwen Dovey

An abstract illustration of a young woman reading a book with flowers all around her.

Several years ago, I was given as a gift a remote session with a bibliotherapist at the London headquarters of the School of Life, which offers innovative courses to help people deal with the daily emotional challenges of existence. I have to admit that at first I didn’t really like the idea of being given a reading “prescription.” I’ve generally preferred to mimic Virginia Woolf’s passionate commitment to serendipity in my personal reading discoveries, delighting not only in the books themselves but in the randomly meaningful nature of how I came upon them (on the bus after a breakup, in a backpackers’ hostel in Damascus, or in the dark library stacks at graduate school, while browsing instead of studying). I’ve long been wary of the peculiar evangelism of certain readers: You must read this, they say, thrusting a book into your hands with a beatific gleam in their eyes, with no allowance for the fact that books mean different things to people—or different things to the same person—at various points in our lives. I loved John Updike’s stories about the Maples in my twenties, for example, and hate them in my thirties, and I’m not even exactly sure why.

But the session was a gift, and I found myself unexpectedly enjoying the initial questionnaire about my reading habits that the bibliotherapist, Ella Berthoud, sent me. Nobody had ever asked me these questions before, even though reading fiction is and always has been essential to my life. I love to gorge on books over long breaks—I’ll pack more books than clothes, I told Berthoud. I confided my dirty little secret, which is that I don’t like buying or owning books, and always prefer to get them from the library (which, as I am a writer, does not bring me very good book-sales karma). In response to the question “What is preoccupying you at the moment?,” I was surprised by what I wanted to confess: I am worried about having no spiritual resources to shore myself up against the inevitable future grief of losing somebody I love, I wrote. I’m not religious, and I don’t particularly want to be, but I’d like to read more about other people’s reflections on coming to some sort of early, weird form of faith in a “higher being” as an emotional survival tactic. Simply answering the questions made me feel better, lighter.

We had some satisfying back-and-forths over e-mail, with Berthoud digging deeper, asking about my family’s history and my fear of grief, and when she sent the final reading prescription it was filled with gems, none of which I’d previously read. Among the recommendations was “The Guide,” by R. K. Narayan. Berthoud wrote that it was “a lovely story about a man who starts his working life as a tourist guide at a train station in Malgudi, India, but then goes through many other occupations before finding his unexpected destiny as a spiritual guide.” She had picked it because she hoped it might leave me feeling “strangely enlightened.” Another was “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” by José Saramago: “Saramago doesn’t reveal his own spiritual stance here but portrays a vivid and compelling version of the story we know so well.” “Henderson the Rain King,” by Saul Bellow, and “Siddhartha,” by Hermann Hesse, were among other prescribed works of fiction, and she included some nonfiction, too, such as “The Case for God,” by Karen Armstrong, and “Sum,” by the neuroscientist David Eagleman, a “short and wonderful book about possible afterlives.”

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essay book reading

I worked my way through the books on the list over the next couple of years, at my own pace—interspersed with my own “discoveries”—and while I am fortunate enough to have my ability to withstand terrible grief untested, thus far, some of the insights I gleaned from these books helped me through something entirely different, when, over several months, I endured acute physical pain. The insights themselves are still nebulous, as learning gained through reading fiction often is—but therein lies its power. In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself. As Woolf, the most fervent of readers, wrote, a book “splits us into two parts as we read,” for “the state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego,” while promising “perpetual union” with another mind.

Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect. The first use of the term is usually dated to a jaunty 1916 article in The Atlantic Monthly , “A Literary Clinic.” In it, the author describes stumbling upon a “bibliopathic institute” run by an acquaintance, Bagster, in the basement of his church, from where he dispenses reading recommendations with healing value. “Bibliotherapy is…a new science,” Bagster explains. “A book may be a stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.” To a middle-aged client with “opinions partially ossified,” Bagster gives the following prescription: “You must read more novels. Not pleasant stories that make you forget yourself. They must be searching, drastic, stinging, relentless novels.” (George Bernard Shaw is at the top of the list.) Bagster is finally called away to deal with a patient who has “taken an overdose of war literature,” leaving the author to think about the books that “put new life into us and then set the life pulse strong but slow.”

Today, bibliotherapy takes many different forms, from literature courses run for prison inmates to reading circles for elderly people suffering from dementia. Sometimes it can simply mean one-on-one or group sessions for “lapsed” readers who want to find their way back to an enjoyment of books. Berthoud and her longtime friend and fellow bibliotherapist Susan Elderkin mostly practice “affective” bibliotherapy, advocating the restorative power of reading fiction. The two met at Cambridge University as undergraduates, more than twenty years ago, and bonded immediately over the shared contents of their bookshelves, in particular Italo Calvino’s novel “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller,” which is itself about the nature of reading. As their friendship developed, they began prescribing novels to cure each other’s ailments, such as a broken heart or career uncertainty. “When Suse was having a crisis about her profession—she wanted to be a writer, but was wondering if she could cope with the inevitable rejection—I gave her Don Marquis’s ‘Archy and Mehitabel’ poems,” Berthoud told me. “If Archy the cockroach could be so dedicated to his art as to jump on the typewriter keys in order to write his free-verse poems every night in the New York offices of the Evening Sun, then surely she should be prepared to suffer for her art, too.” Years later, Elderkin gave Berthoud,who wanted to figure out how to balance being a painter and a mother, Patrick Gale’s novel “Notes from an Exhibition,” about a successful but troubled female artist.

They kept recommending novels to each other, and to friends and family, for many years, and, in 2007, when the philosopher Alain de Botton, a fellow Cambridge classmate, was thinking about starting the School of Life, they pitched to him the idea of running a bibliotherapy clinic. “As far as we knew, nobody was doing it in that form at the time,” Berthoud said. “Bibliotherapy, if it existed at all, tended to be based within a more medical context, with an emphasis on self-help books. But we were dedicated to fiction as the ultimate cure because it gives readers a transformational experience.”

Berthoud and Elderkin trace the method of bibliotherapy all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, “who inscribed above the entrance to a library in Thebes that this was a ‘healing place for the soul.’ ” The practice came into its own at the end of the nineteenth century, when Sigmund Freud began using literature during psychoanalysis sessions. After the First World War, traumatized soldiers returning home from the front were often prescribed a course of reading. “Librarians in the States were given training on how to give books to WWI vets, and there’s a nice story about Jane Austen’s novels being used for bibliotherapeutic purposes at the same time in the U.K.,” Elderkin says. Later in the century, bibliotherapy was used in varying ways in hospitals and libraries, and has more recently been taken up by psychologists, social and aged-care workers, and doctors as a viable mode of therapy.

There is now a network of bibliotherapists selected and trained by Berthoud and Elderkin, and affiliated with the School of Life, working around the world, from New York to Melbourne. The most common ailments people tend to bring to them are the life-juncture transitions, Berthoud says: being stuck in a rut in your career, feeling depressed in your relationship, or suffering bereavement. The bibliotherapists see a lot of retirees, too, who know that they have twenty years of reading ahead of them but perhaps have only previously read crime thrillers, and want to find something new to sustain them. Many seek help adjusting to becoming a parent. “I had a client in New York, a man who was having his first child, and was worried about being responsible for another tiny being,” Berthoud says. “I recommended ‘Room Temperature,’ by Nicholson Baker, which is about a man feeding his baby a bottle and having these meditative thoughts about being a father. And of course 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' because Atticus Finch is the ideal father in literature.”

Berthoud and Elderkin are also the authors of “The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies,” which is written in the style of a medical dictionary and matches ailments (“failure, feeling like a”) with suggested reading cures (“The History of Mr. Polly,” by H. G. Wells). First released in the U.K. in 2013, it is now being published in eighteen countries, and, in an interesting twist, the contract allows for a local editor and reading specialist to adapt up to twenty-five per cent of the ailments and reading recommendations to fit each particular country’s readership and include more native writers. The new, adapted ailments are culturally revealing. In the Dutch edition, one of the adapted ailments is “having too high an opinion of your own child”; in the Indian edition, “public urination” and “cricket, obsession with” are included; the Italians introduced “impotence,” “fear of motorways,” and “desire to embalm”; and the Germans added “hating the world” and “hating parties.” Berthoud and Elderkin are now working on a children’s-literature version, “A Spoonful of Stories,” due out in 2016.

For all avid readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others, but exactly why and how is now becoming clearer, thanks to new research on reading’s effects on the brain. Since the discovery, in the mid-nineties, of “mirror neurons”—neurons that fire in our brains both when we perform an action ourselves and when we see an action performed by someone else—the neuroscience of empathy has become clearer. A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology , based on analysis of fMRI brain scans of participants, showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves. We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.

Other studies published in 2006 and 2009 showed something similar—that people who read a lot of fiction tend to be better at empathizing with others (even after the researchers had accounted for the potential bias that people with greater empathetic tendencies may prefer to read novels). And, in 2013, an influential study published in Science found that reading literary fiction (rather than popular fiction or literary nonfiction) improved participants’ results on tests that measured social perception and empathy, which are crucial to “theory of mind”: the ability to guess with accuracy what another human being might be thinking or feeling, a skill humans only start to develop around the age of four.

Keith Oatley, a novelist and emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, has for many years run a research group interested in the psychology of fiction. “We have started to show how identification with fictional characters occurs, how literary art can improve social abilities, how it can move us emotionally, and can prompt changes of selfhood,” he wrote in his 2011 book, “Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction.” “Fiction is a kind of simulation, one that runs not on computers but on minds: a simulation of selves in their interactions with others in the social world…based in experience, and involving being able to think of possible futures.” This idea echoes a long-held belief among both writers and readers that books are the best kinds of friends; they give us a chance to rehearse for interactions with others in the world, without doing any lasting damage. In his 1905 essay “On Reading,” Marcel Proust puts it nicely: “With books there is no forced sociability. If we pass the evening with those friends—books—it’s because we really want to. When we leave them, we do so with regret and, when we have left them, there are none of those thoughts that spoil friendship: ‘What did they think of us?’—‘Did we make a mistake and say something tactless?’—‘Did they like us?’—nor is there the anxiety of being forgotten because of displacement by someone else.”

George Eliot, who is rumored to have overcome her grief at losing her life partner through a program of guided reading with a young man who went on to become her husband, believed that “art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.” But not everybody agrees with this characterization of fiction reading as having the ability to make us behave better in real life. In her 2007 book, “Empathy and the Novel,” Suzanne Keen takes issue with this “empathy-altruism hypothesis,” and is skeptical about whether empathetic connections made while reading fiction really translate into altruistic, prosocial behavior in the world. She also points out how hard it is to really prove such a hypothesis. “Books can’t make change by themselves—and not everyone feels certain that they ought to,” Keen writes. “As any bookworm knows, readers can also seem antisocial and indolent. Novel reading is not a team sport.” Instead, she urges, we should enjoy what fiction does give us, which is a release from the moral obligation to feel something for invented characters—as you would for a real, live human being in pain or suffering—which paradoxically means readers sometimes “respond with greater empathy to an unreal situation and characters because of the protective fictionality.” And she wholeheartedly supports the personal health benefits of an immersive experience like reading, which “allows a refreshing escape from ordinary, everyday pressures.”

So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”

One of Berthoud’s clients described to me how the group and individual sessions she has had with Berthoud have helped her cope with the fallout from a series of calamities, including losing her husband, the end of a five-year engagement, and a heart attack. “I felt my life was without purpose,” she says. “I felt a failure as a woman.” Among the books Berthoud initially prescribed was John Irving’s novel “The Hotel New Hampshire.” “He was a favorite writer of my husband, [whom] I had felt unable to attempt for sentimental reasons.” She was “astounded and very moved” to see it on the list, and though she had avoided reading her husband’s books up until then, she found reading it to be “a very rewarding emotional experience, both in the literature itself and ridding myself of demons.” She also greatly appreciated Berthoud guiding her to Tom Robbins’s novel “Jitterbug Perfume,” which was “a real learning curve for me about prejudice and experimentation.”

One of the ailments listed in “The Novel Cure” is “overwhelmed by the number of books in the world,” and it’s one I suffer from frequently. Elderkin says this is one of the most common woes of modern readers, and that it remains a major motivation for her and Berthoud’s work as bibliotherapists. “We feel that though more books are being published than ever before, people are in fact selecting from a smaller and smaller pool. Look at the reading lists of most book clubs, and you’ll see all the same books, the ones that have been shouted about in the press. If you actually calculate how many books you read in a year—and how many that means you’re likely to read before you die—you’ll start to realize that you need to be highly selective in order to make the most of your reading time.” And the best way to do that? See a bibliotherapist, as soon as you can, and take them up on their invitation, to borrow some lines from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus”: "Come, and take choice of all my library/And so beguile thy sorrow…"

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Middlemarch and Me

By Rebecca Mead

Video: Writer’s Block

By The New Yorker

Can You Read a Book in a Quarter of an Hour?

By Anthony Lane

Zendaya’s “Challengers” Tennis Whisperer

By Zach Helfand

How Reading Makes Us More Human

A debate has erupted over whether reading fiction makes human beings more moral. But what if its real value consists in something even more fundamental?


A battle over books has erupted recently on the pages of The New York Times and Time. The opening salvo was Gregory Currie's essay , "Does Great Literature Make Us Better?" which asserts that the widely held belief that reading makes us more moral has little support. In response , Annie Murphy Paul weighed in with "Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer." Her argument is that "deep reading," the kind of reading great literature requires, is a distinctive cognitive activity that contributes to our ability to empathize with others; it therefore can, in fact, makes us "smarter and nicer," among other things. Yet these essays aren't so much coming to different conclusions as considering different questions.

Ideas Report 2013

To advance her thesis, Paul cites studies by Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, and Keith Oatley, a professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto. Taken together, their findings suggest that those "who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective." It's the kind of thing writer Joyce Carol Oates is talking about when she says, "Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul."

Oatley and Mar's conclusions are supported, Paul argues, by recent studies in neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science. This research shows that "deep reading -- slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity -- is a distinctive experience," a kind of reading that differs in kind and quality from "the mere decoding of words" that constitutes a good deal of what passes for reading today, particularly for too many of our students in too many of our schools (as I have previously written about here ).

Paul concludes her essay with a reference to the literary critic Frank Kermode, who famously distinguishes between "carnal reading" -- characterized by the hurried, utilitarian information processing that constitutes the bulk of our daily reading diet -- and "spiritual reading," reading done with focused attention for pleasure, reflection, analysis, and growth. It is in this distinction that we find the real difference between the warring factions in what might be a chicken-or-egg scenario: Does great literature make people better, or are good people drawn to reading great literature?

Currie is asking whether reading great literature makes readers more moral  -- a topic taken up by Aristotle in Poetics (which makes an ethical apology for literature) . Currie cites as counter-evidence the well-read, highly cultured Nazis. The problem with this (aside from falling into the trap of Godwin's Law ) is that the Nazis were, in fact, acting in strict conformity to the dictates of a moral code, albeit the perverse code of the Third Reich. But Paul examines the connection of great literature not to our moral selves, but to our spiritual selves.

What good literature can do and does do -- far greater than any importation of morality -- is touch the human soul.

Reading is one of the few distinctively human activities that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. As many scholars have noted, and Paul too mentions in her piece, reading, unlike spoken language, does not come naturally to human beings. It must be taught. Because it goes beyond mere biology, there is something profoundly spiritual -- however one understands that word -- about the human ability, and impulse, to read. In fact, even the various senses in which we use the word captures this: to "read" means not only to decipher a given and learned set of symbols in a mechanistic way, but it also suggests that very human act of finding meaning, of "interpreting" in the sense of "reading" a person or situation. To read in this sense might be considered one of the most spiritual of all human activities.

It is "spiritual reading" -- not merely decoding -- that unleashes the power that good literature has to reach into our souls and, in so doing, draw and connect us to others. This is why the way we read can be even more important than what we read. In fact, reading good literature won't make a reader a better person any more than sitting in a church, synagogue or mosque will. But reading good books well just might.

It did for me. As I relayed in my literary and spiritual memoir , the books I have read over a lifetime have shaped my worldview, my beliefs, and my life as much as anything else. From Great Expectations I learned the power the stories we tell ourselves have to do either harm and good, to ourselves and to others; from Death of a Salesman I learned the dangers of a corrupt version of the American Dream; from Madame Bovary, I learned to embrace the real world rather than escaping into flights of fancy; from Gulliver's Travels I learned the profound limitations of my own finite perspective; and from Jane Eyre I learned how to be myself. These weren't mere intellectual or moral lessons, although they certainly may have begun as such. Rather, the stories from these books and so many others became part of my life story and then, gradually, part of my very soul.

As Eugene H. Peterson explains in Eat this Book , "Reading is an immense gift, but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul -- eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight." Peterson describes this ancient art of lectio divina, or spiritual reading, as "reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes ... love and wisdom." More than the books themselves, it is the skills and the desire to read in this way which comprise the essential gift we must give our students and ourselves. But this won't happen by way of nature or by accident.

Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research and author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain ,  has studied "deep reading" in the context of the science of the brain. She describes the fragility of the brain's ability to read with the kind of sustained attention that allows literature to wield its shaping power over us:

The act of going beyond the text to analyze, infer and think new thoughts is the product of years of formation. It takes time, both in milliseconds and years, and effort to learn to read with deep, expanding comprehension and to execute all these processes as an adult expert reader. ... Because we literally and physiologically can read in multiple ways, how we read--and what we absorb from our reading -- will be influenced by both the content of our reading and the medium we use.

The power of "spiritual reading" is its ability to transcend the immediacy of the material, the moment, or even the moral choice at hand. This isn't the sort of phenomenon that lends itself to the quantifiable data Currie seeks, although Paul demonstrates is possible, to measure. Even so, such reading doesn't make us better so much as it makes us human .

essay book reading

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📖Essay on Importance of Reading: Samples in 100, 150, and 250 Words

essay book reading

  • Updated on  
  • Apr 26, 2024

Essay on Importance of Education

Language learning requires four skills i.e. Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. It is an important part that eventually builds up the communication skills of a person. Reading will help in attaining knowledge of variable fields. It enhances the intellect of a person. Reading helps students to enhance their language fluency. Students must adopt the habit of reading good books. Reading books can also improve the writing skills. If you are a school student and searching for a good sample essay on the importance of reading then, you landed at the right place. Here in this blog, we have covered some sample essays on the importance of reading!

Table of Contents

  • 1 Essay on the Importance of Reading in 100 Words
  • 2 Essay on Importance of Reading 150 Words
  • 3 Essay on Importance of Reading 250 Words
  • 4 Short Essay on Importance of Reading

Essay on the Importance of Reading in 100 Words

The English language is considered the global language because it is the most widely spoken language worldwide. Reading is one of the important parts of acquiring complete knowledge of any language. Reading helps in maintaining a good vocabulary that is helpful for every field, whether in school, interviews , competitive exams , or jobs. 

Students must inculcate the habit of reading from a young age. Making a habit of reading good books will eventually convert into an addiction over time and you will surely explore a whole new world of information.

Being exposed to different topics through reading can help you look at the wider perspective of life. You will eventually discover a creative side of yours while developing the habit of reading.

Also Read: Essay on Gaganyaan

Essay on Importance of Reading 150 Words

Reading is considered an important aspect that contributes to the development of the overall personality of any person. If a person wants to do good at a professional level then he/she must practice reading.

There are various advantages of reading. It is not only a source of entertainment but also opens up the creative ability of any person. Reading helps in self-improvement, enhances communication skills, and reduces stress. It is one of the sources of pleasure and also enhances the analytical skills. 

Here are some of the best books to study that may help you enhance your reading skills:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling .
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee .
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri .
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Great Gatsby

A person with good reading skills would be able to communicate with more confidence and shine brighter at the professional level. Reading is a mental exercise, as it can provide you with the best experience because while reading fiction, or non-fiction you use your imagination without any restrictions thereby exploring a whole new world on your own. So, Just Enjoy Reading!

Also Read: Communication Skills to Succeed at Work

Essay on Importance of Reading 250 Words

Reading is a language skill necessary to present yourself in front of others because without being a good reader, it’s difficult to be a good communicator. Reading books should be practised regularly. Books are considered a human’s best friend.

It is right to say that knowledge can’t be stolen. Reading enhances the knowledge of a person. There are numerous benefits of reading.

I love reading books and one of my all-time favorite authors is William Shakespeare. His work “As You Like It” is my favourite book. By reading that book I came across many new words. It enabled me to add many words to my vocabulary that I can use in my life.

Apart from this, there are many other benefits of reading books such as reading can help you write in a certain way that can impress the reader. It also enhances communication skills and serves as a source of entertainment . 

Schools conduct various competitions which directly or indirectly involve reading. Some such competitions include debate, essay writing competitions, elocution, new reading in assembly, etc. All such activities require active reading because without reading a person might not be able to speak on a specific topic.

All such activities are conducted to polish the language skills of students from the very beginning so that they can do good at a professional level.

In conclusion, in a world of technological advancement, you are more likely to get easy access to online reading material available on the internet. So, you must not miss this opportunity and devote some time to reading different kinds of books. 

Also Read: SAT Reading Tips

Short Essay on Importance of Reading

Find a sample of a short essay on importance of reading below:

Also Read: Essay on Social Issues

Reading is a good habit; It helps to improve communication skills; Good books whether fiction or non-fiction widen your imagination skills; You can experience a whole new world while reading; It helps you establish your professional personality; Reading skills help you interact with other people at a personal and professional level; Improves vocabulary; Reading novels is considered a great source of entertainment; It helps you acquire excessive knowledge of different fields; Reading is motivational and a great mental exercise.

Reading is important to build the overall personality of a person. It establishes a sense of professionalism and improves the vocabulary. Adapting a habit of reading books will help in expanding your knowledge and creativity.

Here are some of the best books for students to read: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; The Alchemist, The 5 AM Club, Rich Dad Poor Dad, etc.

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Hi, I am Kajal, a pharmacy graduate, currently pursuing management and is an experienced content writer. I have 2-years of writing experience in Ed-tech (digital marketing) company. I am passionate towards writing blogs and am on the path of discovering true potential professionally in the field of content marketing. I am engaged in writing creative content for students which is simple yet creative and engaging and leaves an impact on the reader's mind.

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Friday essay: Alice Pung — how reading changed my life

essay book reading

Author (non-fiction, fiction, young adult), The University of Melbourne

Disclosure statement

Alice Pung does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Melbourne provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.

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Having survived starvation and been spared execution, my father arrived in this new country, vassal-eyed and sunken-cheeked. I was born less than a month later and he named me Alice because he thought Australia was a Wonderland. Maybe he had vague literary aspirations for me, like most parents have vague infinite dreams for their babies, so small, so bewildered, so egoless. I arrived safe after so many babies had died under the regime created by a man who named himself deliberately after ruthless ambition — Political Potential, or Pol Pot for short.

“There was a tree,” my father told me when I was a teenager, “and this tree was where Pol Pot’s army, the Khmer Rouge, killed babies and toddlers. They would grab the infant by their ankles and swing them against the trunk and smash them again and again until they were dead.”

When I was an adult, I found out that there was not just the one tree. There were many such trees from which no cradle hung.

essay book reading

But as a child, growing up in Australia, the oldest of four, I knew the words to comfort crying babies. They’d been taught to me by my schoolteachers, with rhyme but without reason: when the bough breaks the cradle will fall and down will come baby, cradle and all. A gentle song to rock my sisters to sleep. If my mother understood the words I was singing, she’d yell at me.

My mother was always hollering at me about one thing or another. After the age of eight, I was never left in peace. She repeatedly told me that babies had really soft skulls, that there was even a hole in their heads that hadn’t yet closed. When I looked at my baby sister, I could see something pulsing on the top of her scalp, beneath the skin. Never drop a baby, they warned me, or your life will be over. They spoke in warnings and commands, like Old Testament sages. They’d seen babies dropped dead. Their language was literal, not literary, but it did the trick.

We could not complain that we were dying of boredom because they’d seen death close-up, and it was definitely not caused by a lack of Lego. We could not say that we were starving because at one malarial point in his life, my father thought that if he breathed inwards he could feel his backbone through his stomach. We could never be hungry or bored in our concrete house in Braybrook, behind a carpet factory that spewed out noxious methane smells that sent us to school reeking like whoopee-cushions.

Melbourne suburb photographed from above

But in this scatological suburb, I was indeed often bored shitless. Imagine this — you go outside and hoons in cobbled-together Holdens wind down their windows and tell you to Go Back Home, Chinks. So you walk home and inside, it’s supposed to be like home. But it’s not a home you know.

It’s a home your parents know, where the older siblings look after the younger ones and your mum works in an airless dark shed at the back making jewellery, and you think it’s called outworking because although she’s at home she’s always out working. Just like her mum in Phnom Penh and her mum’s mum in Phnom Penh and every other poor mum in the history of your family lineage.

“What are you doing here? Stop bothering me,” your mum would tell you. Or when she was desperate, she’d be cajoling: “Take your siblings out. Go for a walk. If you give me just one more hour, I’ll be done.” Her face would be blackened, her fingers cut. She’d have her helmet on, with the visor. She looked like a coal miner.

Back in Cambodia, the eldest siblings looked after the bevy of little ones, all the children roaming around the Central Market, en masse. Here, in these Melbourne suburbs they’d call it a marauding Asian gang, I bet. I preferred to stay at home. I had plenty to keep me occupied there. Our school library let me borrow books, but I can’t even remember the names of the librarians now. They didn’t like some of the kids because sometimes we stole books.

Girl uses stands on a stack of books

My best friend Lydia read a book about Helen Keller that so moved her, so expanded her 10-year-old sense of the world that she nicked it and stroked the one-line sample of Braille print on the last page until all the raised dots were flat. I nicked books too, books on needlecraft and making soft toys. Sometimes one of my aunts would come by and give us a garbage bag filled with fleecy fabric offcuts from her job sewing tracksuits in her own back shed.

Being a practical kid who bugged her parents at every opportunity possible for new toys, I wanted to have reference manuals on how to make them. I didn’t nick story books or novels because to me, those were like films I often only wanted to experience once.

One day, my baby sister rolled herself off the bed when I was supposed to be watching her. She was three months old. I had just turned nine. My mother ran into the house and railed at me like a dybbuk, “You’re dead! You’re dead!” She scooped my sister out of my hands. “What were you doing? You were meant to watch her!”

“She was asleep,” I sobbed, “I was reading a book.”

Girl reads a book in bed

While my mother was working to support us in the dark back shed, I had been in the sunlit bedroom, staring for hours and hours on end at little rectangles, only stopping occasionally to make myself some Nescafé coffee with sweetened condensed milk. If this wasn’t the high life, then what was? Those books were not making me any smarter, she might have thought. Or even said, because it was something she was always telling me, because she couldn’t read or write herself. The government had closed down her Chinese school when she was in grade one, as the very first step of ethnic cleansing in Cambodia.

My mother called up my father and roared over the phone for him to come home immediately because I’d let my sister roll off the bed and she might be brain-damaged. “If she’s brain-damaged, you’re going to be dead,” my father said to me, before they both left for the hospital with my sister.

I hated my parents at that moment, but I hated myself more. I also hated the Baby-Sitters Club, all of those 12-year-old girls for whom looking after small children was just an endless series of sleepovers and car-washes and ice-cream parties and they even always got praised and paid for it. The only people I did not hate were my siblings. They were blameless.

Three girls sit on the grass

This fucking reading , I thought, because this is how I thought back then, punctuated by profanity, because this is how I wrote back then in diaries I made at school of folded paper stapled together with colourful cardboard covers that I’d then take home and fill in with pages and pages of familial injustice. Sometimes the pen dug in so aggressively underlining a word of rage that I’d make a cut through the paper five pages deep. And this is how the kids talked at school, and also some of their parents who picked them up from school. But then I also realised, reading’s the only fucking good thing I have going for me .

It showed me parents who were not only reasonable, but indulgent. They were meant to be friends with their kids. They were meant to foster their creativity and enterprise. They hosted parties and baked cupcakes and laughed when their children messed up the house, and sat them down and explained things to them carefully with great verbal displays of affection. But only if the kids were like Kristy or Stacey or Dawn in the Baby-Sitters Club.

Read more: Friday essay: need a sitter? Revisiting girlhood, feminism and diversity in The Baby-Sitters Club

If they were anything like me, then they didn’t talk very much. We were refugees in school textbooks, there for edification, to induce guilt and gratitude. The presence of third-world people like us in a book immediately stripped that book of any reading-for-pleasure aspirations. We were hard work. We were Objects not Subjects. Or if subjects, subjects of charity and not agents of charity. Always takers, never givers. No wonder people resented us.

essay book reading

Hell, even I resented us! “Girls are more responsible,” my mother always told me. When my aunties dumped their children, my little cousins, with me, they’d always say, “Alice is so good. We trust her.” What’s one or two or three more when you already have so many in the house? they reasoned.

I imagined if some prying interloper had called the cops on my parents when I was young, seeing our makeshift crèche with no adult supervision around. “If you tell the government what I do,” my mother always warned me when I was a child, “they’ll take me away and lock me up and your brother and sisters will be distributed to your aunts and uncles or be put in foster homes.”

What she did — her 14-hour days in the back shed, working with potassium cyanide and other noxious chemicals to produce the jewellery for stores that would then pay her only a couple of dollars per ring or pendant — she thought was a crime. She got paid cash in hand, so she never paid any taxes. She just didn’t understand that she wasn’t the criminal; she was the one being exploited.

My mother began work at 13 in a plastic-bag factory, after her school was closed down. When all the men were at war, the factories were filled with women and children. One afternoon, she told me, she accidentally sliced open a chunk of her leg with the plastic-bag-cutting machine. She had to stay home for the next two weeks. She spent those two weeks worrying whether she’d be replaced by another little girl. In her whole working life, spanning over half a century, my mother has never signed an employment contract because she can’t write or read.

Woman rides a bicycle through Phnom Penh

“People can rip me off so easily,” she would often lament, “that’s why I have to have my wits about me at all times.” She’d always count out the exact change when she went grocery shopping even though it mortified me as a kid, and drove those behind her in line nuts. “If they overcharge me and you’re not here, how can I explain anything to them?” she’d ask, “I don’t speak English.”

She’d memorise landmarks when driving, because she couldn’t read street signs. During elections, she would put a “1” next to the candidate who looked the most attractive in their photo. And she’d ask me to read the label on her prescription medicines.

“Tell me carefully,” she’d instruct, “too much or too little and you could kill me.” The power over life and death, I thought, not really a responsibility I wanted at eight. But power over life and death is supposed to be what great works of art are about. Sometimes, there’s not a huge chasm between being literate and being literary. They are not opposite ends of a continuum.

Sure, I enjoyed the classics, especially that line in Great Expectations when Pip determines that he will return a gentleman and deliver “gallons of condescension”. But the depictions of working children, children treated as economic units of labour, as instruments for ulterior adult ends – this was nothing new to me.

Girls in backpacks walking

Looking after children is hard work. No one cares when things go right, it is the natural course of the universe. But everyone swarms in when things go wrong. A whole swat team, sometimes consisting of your own extended family members, ready to whack at you like a revolting bug if harm should befall your minor charges. The sad reality is that when you slap a monetary value onto these services, people sit up.

They pay attention. They first splutter about how outrageous it is. Then slowly they accept it. You hope that one day no children will be left at home, minding other children while their parents work, because all working parents will be able to access good, affordable childcare.

Often when people rail, think of the children! they are not really thinking of the children. Otherwise, they would listen to the children, not condemn the parents for situations beyond their control — illiteracy, minimum wages, poverty.

Jeanette Winterson wrote about art’s ability to coax us away from the mechanical and towards the miraculous. It involves just seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. To understand that an eight-year-old can and will take responsibility and care of themselves when left to their own devices requires imaginative empathy, not judgement.

essay book reading

Reading showed me what the world could be. My life told me what the world was. It was not Jane Eyre or Lizzie Bennet or even Nancy Drew that opened my life to the possibility of a better existence. It was Ann M. Martin and her Baby-Sitters Club. That children should get paid was a crazy idea, that they should get paid for babysitting even more audacious.

That a handful of pre-teen girls could start a small business from Claudia’s home — beautiful artistic Asian Claudia Kishi with her own fixed phone line — and that they could muster all the neighbourhood children under their care and largesse was revolutionary to me.

In my life, the miraculous does not involve magic. There is nothing that makes the state of childhood particularly magical. There is a lot that is frightening, brutal and cruel about every stage of life. After all, I know that a single tree can harbour a cradle or a grave. But to be able to do what my hardworking, wonderful mother never could — time-travel, mind-read, even never to mistake dish detergent for shampoo because the pictures of fruit on the bottle are similar — this is a gift I will never take for granted.

This is an extract from The Gifts of Reading: Essays on the Joys of Reading, Giving and Receiving Books curated by Jennie Orchard, with all royalties to be donated to Room to Read (RRP $32.99, Hachette Australia), available now.

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The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

Essay type Skills tested Example prompt
Has the rise of the internet had a positive or negative impact on education?
Explain how the invention of the printing press changed European society in the 15th century.
Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
Describe an object that has sentimental value for you.

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

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Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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The Benefits of Reading Books

This essay will discuss the numerous benefits of reading books, including mental stimulation, stress reduction, knowledge acquisition, and vocabulary expansion. It will explore how reading enhances empathy, improves memory, and contributes to overall mental health. The piece will also touch on the benefits of different genres and reading habits. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Learning.

How it works

Keeping your mind clear requires brain training. Without a load, any organ is subject to degradation. The best brain trainer is reading. Reading is an intellectual meal for the brain, a vitamin that activates mental activity. Increasing your intellectual level is the key to a successful career and life in general.Useful reading (reading good books) broadens a person’s horizons, enriches his inner world, makes him smarter and has a positive effect on memory.

Reading books increases a person’s vocabulary, contributes to the development of clearer and clearer thinking, which allows you to formulate and express thoughts more clearly.

Everyone can be convinced of this by their own example. One has only to thoughtfully read some classical work. Anyone who previously “could not connect two words” will notice how it has become easier with the help of speech to express their own thoughts, to express themselves and choose the right words, will notice that parasitic words disappear from the vocabulary.

Reading serious works makes us constantly think about what kind of thought the author wanted to express, and this makes our convolutions move faster.

Reading books is also useful in that it develops logical thinking. Don’t believe me? And you read something from the classics of the detective genre, for example “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” – the well-known work of Arthur Conan Doyle. I assure you, after reading, in any situation you will think faster, your mind will become sharper, your observation will improve and you will understand that reading is useful and beneficial.

Why is reading books useful for people in a depressed mood? If you have dark thoughts or something worries you, the book will help to cheer you up and overcome sadness. The works, the authors of which have wit and subtle humor, will help you, albeit for a while, to forget about everything that worries you. Take, for example, one of O. Henry’s short stories, which are famous for their humor and unexpected outcomes.

It is also useful to read books because they have a significant impact on our moral guidelines and on our spiritual development. After reading this or that classic work, sometimes people begin to change for the better.

In addition, reading can slow down human aging. Scientist R. Wilson investigated the brain of deceased centenarians. People who loved to read and write reduced the risk of developing senile dementia by 32% compared to others. Reading can also be supported by the arguments of scientists who have found that reading helps the human body to stay young longer. Ursula Lenz of the Federal Association of Organizations for the Elderly (BAGSO) says, “For older people, reading books is beneficial for several reasons. First, the ability to translate words into mental forms and images has a positive effect on cognitive functions. Secondly, reading helps you concentrate. Therefore, reading books can be considered a universal way, to keep a lively mind even in old age.”

Many believe that it is useful for a student to read only scientific and educational literature. Far from it. Works of art have a tremendous impact on the development of the brain, it is not for nothing that schoolchildren necessarily study the classics.

Reading can improve the “theory of mind” – the ability to perceive their own and other people’s experiences. This allows you to determine the state of the psyche of other people in order to explain and predict their actions. The level of empathy rises. There is an expansion of executive functions, which is expressed in the ability to analyze several points of view at the same time and switch attention between them.


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Essays About Books: Top 5 Examples and Writing Prompts

Books open portals to new worlds and display new knowledge inspired from the old to the new. Here are some published essays about books and prompts you can use.

Books are a way for the past to teach the present and preserve the present for the future. Books come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, technology has improved the way books can be accessed with eBooks and audiobooks that are more accessible and hassle-free to use. 

No matter what genre, a book aids its readers in gaining valuable knowledge, improving vocabulary, and many more. Following are 5 essays with books as their subject:


1. Why Are Books So Important in Our Life by Ankita Yadav

2. essay on books for students by kanak mishra, 3. listening to books by maggie gram, 4. short essay on books and reading by sastry, 5. long essay on books by ram, 1. do we still need libraries, 2. the names an author gives to their characters, 3. do you read or write, 4. your favorite book, 5. books and inspirations, 6. the book cover, 7. paper books vs. digital copies, 8. why read the book you hate, 9. the book is better than the movie.

“Books are the best companions in our life. They never leave us alone and are like our best friends.”

For Yadav, a book is someone’s best friend, guide, all-time teacher, and keeper of various information. The essay talks about how reading a physical book is better than watching movies or using modern technologies for entertainment and learning purposes. The author also believes that autobiography books of great people inspire students and motivate them to work hard to achieve their goals in life.

“Though the technology has so much changed that we can take information about anything through internet… importance of books has not decreased…”

The writer describes books as the best option for self-learners. They don’t only note an issue, topic, or story but also put effort and emotions into their writing. Next, she discusses the types of books and their subcategories. Finally, she gives tips about finding a good book to read.

“The possibility of reading while also doing something else produces one of the stranger phenomenological characteristics of audio book reading: you can have a whole set of unrelated and real (if only partially attended) experiences while simultaneously experiencing a book.”

Gram’s primary focus in this essay is audiobooks, discussing their history and how audiobooks started. She also mentions how audiobooks help blind people who find it challenging to read braille books. The author also compares physical books and audiobooks to help the reader choose better for a long drive, house cleaning, or simply doing anything other than reading. 

“Books are standing counsellors and preachers, always at hand and always neutral.”

Sastry considers novels the best option when one is tired and looking for healthy recreational activity. Still, the author didn’t forget the fact that reading history, science, religion, and other more “serious” books can also bring gratification to their readers. Books offer unlimited benefits if well used, but not when abused, and as the writer said, “no book can be good if studied negligently.”

“Books are important because they provide a few things that are key to an open and intelligent society.”

The essay is best to be read by students from classes 7 to 10, as it gives the simplest explanation of why it is vital to read a book during their spare time or extended holidays. Ram says people get inspired and receive life lessons by reading books. Reading classic and newer books with lots of words of wisdom and new ideas are better than wasting time and learning nothing.

Are you looking for writing applications to help you improve your essay? See the seven best essay writing apps to use.

Top 10 Writing Prompts on Essays About Books

Writing essays about books can be easy as many subtopics exist. However, it can also be challenging to pick a specific subcategory. To help you narrow it down, here are ten easy writing prompts that you can use.

Essays About Books: Do We Still Need Libraries?

Libraries help many people – from bibliophiles to job seekers and students. They offer free access to books, newspapers, and computers. But with modern devices making it easier to get information, are libraries still needed? Use this prompt to discuss the importance of libraries and the consequences if all of them close down.

Some authors like to give their characters very unusual names, such as “America Singer” from the book The Selection by Keira Cass. Do you think characters having strange names take away the reader’s attention to the plot? Does it make the book more interesting or odd? Suppose you are writing a story; how do you name the characters and why?

They say writers need readers and vice versa, but which role do you find more challenging? Is writing harder than finding the best book, story, and poetry to read? 

Use this prompt to describe their roles and explain how readers and writers hold each other up.

Essays About Books: Your Favorite Book

There is always a unique book that one will never forget. What is your favorite book of all time, and why? Write an essay about why you consider that book your favorite. You can also persuade others to try to read it. 

If you have more than one preference, describe them and tell the readers why you can’t choose between your favorite books. Check out these essays about literature .

Authors inspiring their readers to try something new by reading their book are not always intentional but usually happens. Have you ever experienced wanting to move to a new place or change career paths after reading something? 

Use this prompt to share your experience and opinion on readers who make significant life changes because books and characters influence them in a story.

Have you ever gone to a book shop to find a book recommended to you but didn’t buy or read it because of the cover? They said never judge a book by its cover. In this prompt, you can.

Share what you think the book is all about based on its cover. Then, make a follow-up writing if you were right or wrong after reading the book’s contents.

Studies confirmed more benefits to reading physical books than digital books, such as retaining information longer if read from a printed copy. Are you more of a traditional or modern reader? Use this prompt to explain your answer and briefly discuss the pros and cons of each type of book in your opinion.

Are you ever tasked to read a book you don’t like? Share your experience and tell the reader if you finished the book, learned anything from it, and what it feels like to force yourself to read a book you hate. You can also add if you come to like it in the end.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is undisputedly one of the most popular books turned into movies. However, avid readers consider books better than movies because they can echo the main protagonist’s thoughts.

Do you have a favorite book adapted into a film? Did you like it? Write about what makes the movie version better or underwhelming. You can also include why movies are more limited than books. 

Do you still feel like there is something wrong with your essay? Here is a guide about grammar and punctuation to help you.

If you still need help, our guide to grammar and syntax explains more.

essay book reading

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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Short Essay on Benefits of Reading

Essay on Benefits of Reading (1300 Words)

Reading helps our minds grow in ways that we can’t be taught in school or at home. No one is born with an innate love of reading, but everyone has the capacity for literacy, reading, and writing.

Essay on Benefits of Reading

1 – what is reading.

For most people, it’s hard to imagine life without reading. However, not everyone can read. Around 15% of the world’s population has some form of learning disability that prevents them from being able to read. This means that they cannot interpret words and sentences on paper or digital screens.

2 – Importance of reading

The first thing to know about reading is that it’s not something that you should force your students to do. Reading should be something you engage them in, not something you force them to do.

Let them enjoy reading for what it is — something enjoyable and entertaining at the same time. Engaging students will help them get more out of reading and will set the stage for future academic success.

It’s important to read. It’s not some new-fangled, modern idea that everyone is championing, but rather a human instinct that has been with us since the beginning of time. Books are more than just storytellers — they offer understanding and insight into different cultures, languages, ages, genders, classes, ideologies.

3 – The benefits of reading

Reading is the best way to learn new things, broaden your knowledge, and find inspiration. It also stimulates your brain.

Reading can help you keep your mind sharp and be in control of it. Reading in different genres helps you develop different skills in different ways.

Reading helps people to become better thinkers and is the key to unlocking people’s minds.

4 – How to develop reading habit

Binge on your favorite authors. Choose a genre that you’re interested in and read everything written by that author. Then find another author and binge on their books as well. Go back to the beginning of that author’s series and read all of the books in that series.

Read also: How to avoid distractions while reading?

5 – Tips for Better Reading

Here are some tips for better reading:-

6 – How to read more

Read also: Reading skills (types and strategies)

7 – Conclusion

Reading is something that everyone should do, so be sure to give it a try. There is no other form of education or experience that will give you more life knowledge than reading.

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  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White : A timeless classic that provides practical guidance on grammar, style, and composition.
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser : Learn how to craft compelling essays with clarity and precision.
  • They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein : Master the art of engaging with academic sources and constructing persuasive arguments.
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott : Gain insights on the creative process and overcome writer’s block.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg : Unleash your creativity and develop a daily writing practice to refine your skills.

Explore these essential books to enhance your essay writing abilities and stand out as a confident and articulate writer. Happy reading and happy writing!

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Find your favorite authors and study their essays to learn how they captivate readers with their words. Whether you’re a novice writer or seasoned professional, exploring the works of top writers can help enhance your own writing skills and ignite your creativity.

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Enhance Your Skills

Are you looking to take your essay writing skills to the next level? Our selection of the best books for essay writing will help you enhance your writing techniques and improve your overall writing proficiency. Whether you are a student looking to boost your academic performance or a professional seeking to refine your communication skills, these books offer valuable insights and practical tips to help you become a more effective writer.

Develop Your Style: Discover how to develop a unique writing style that reflects your personality and engages your readers. Learn how to effectively use language, tone, and structure to make your writing stand out.

Master Essay Structures: Explore different essay structures and formats to enhance the organization and clarity of your writing. From persuasive essays to analytical pieces, these books provide guidelines to help you structure your arguments effectively.

Refine Your Research Skills: Improve your research skills and learn how to gather, analyze, and incorporate evidence into your essays. Enhance the credibility and depth of your writing by conducting thorough research and citing reputable sources.

Invest in your writing skills today with the best books for essay writing and see a significant improvement in your writing proficiency!

Master Your Techniques

Master Your Techniques

Enhance your essay writing skills with the best books curated just for you. Learn how to craft compelling introductions, develop strong arguments, and conclude with impact. These books will provide you with the tools and techniques you need to take your writing to the next level.

Explore different styles and approaches to essay writing, from analytical to persuasive, and discover how to adapt your voice to different audiences. With practical tips and exercises, these books will help you refine your writing process and express your ideas with clarity and confidence.

Whether you are a student looking to improve your academic writing or a professional seeking to enhance your communication skills, these recommended books will guide you on your journey to mastering the art of essay writing. Purchase your copy today and embark on a transformative learning experience!

Deep Dive into Essay Writing

Essay writing is an essential skill that can greatly enhance your academic and professional success. By mastering the art of essay writing, you can effectively communicate your ideas, opinions, and arguments in a clear and concise manner.

Here are some key tips to help you excel in essay writing:

Start by brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, and organizing your thoughts before you begin writing. This will help you stay focused and ensure that your essay flows logically.
Your thesis statement should clearly express the main point or argument of your essay. It sets the tone for the rest of your writing and guides your reader on what to expect.
Support your ideas with evidence from credible sources. This will strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.
Ensure that your essay is well-organized and easy to follow. Use clear and concise language, logical transitions, and proper paragraph structure.
Review your essay for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Make sure your ideas are well-developed and coherent. Consider seeking feedback from peers or instructors for further improvement.

By implementing these strategies and practicing regularly, you can enhance your essay writing skills and become a more effective communicator. Explore the best books for essay writing to further refine your techniques and unlock your full potential.

Unlock Your Creativity

Unlock Your Creativity

Unleash your imagination and expand your creative horizons with the best books for essay writing. Dive into a world of inspiration and learn how to express your thoughts and ideas in new and innovative ways.

Discover the power of storytelling and the art of persuasion as you explore the depths of your creativity. With the guidance of expert writers and teachers, you will develop your unique voice and style that will set you apart from the rest.

  • Explore different writing techniques to enhance your essays
  • Learn how to structure your ideas effectively
  • Find inspiration in classic and contemporary works
  • Master the art of critical thinking and analysis

Whether you are a student looking to improve your academic writing or a professional seeking to enhance your communication skills, these books will help you unlock your creativity and become a more confident and persuasive writer.

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Essay on Advantages of Reading Books

Students are often asked to write an essay on Advantages of Reading Books in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Advantages of Reading Books


Reading books is a great habit with many benefits. It helps in improving knowledge, enhancing imagination, and building vocabulary.

Knowledge Enhancement

Imagination boost.

Reading fiction can transport you to different worlds, enhancing your imagination and creativity.

Vocabulary Building

Regular reading exposes you to new words, helping in improving your vocabulary and language skills.

250 Words Essay on Advantages of Reading Books

Reading books is a timeless activity that holds numerous benefits. In a world where digital distractions abound, books provide an enriching escape that nourishes the mind and soul.

Cognitive Development

Reading books regularly can significantly enhance cognitive abilities. It fosters concentration, improves vocabulary, and stimulates critical thinking. By presenting diverse perspectives and complex narratives, books challenge readers to analyze and interpret information, thereby honing their reasoning skills.

Emotional Intelligence

Books are a window to the human experience. They expose readers to a variety of emotions, situations, and personalities, fostering empathy and emotional intelligence. By identifying with characters and their struggles, readers can better understand and navigate their own emotions.

Knowledge Acquisition

Books are a treasure trove of knowledge. They offer insights into a plethora of subjects, from science and history to philosophy and arts. This knowledge not only enhances one’s understanding of the world but also encourages informed discussions and debates.

Stress Reduction

Reading is a form of escapism that can significantly reduce stress. Immersing oneself in a compelling narrative can distract from daily pressures, providing relaxation and mental tranquility.

500 Words Essay on Advantages of Reading Books

Reading books is a timeless activity that has been a part of human culture for centuries. Despite the advent of technology and digital media, the significance of reading books remains undiminished. This essay aims to shed light on the numerous advantages that reading books offers, particularly for college students.

Enhancement of Cognitive Abilities

Reading is much more than just a leisure activity. It is a cognitive exercise that strengthens the brain’s functions. Reading complex narratives and academic texts requires concentration, comprehension, and memory, all of which enhance cognitive abilities. According to a study by the American Academy of Neurology, engaging the brain in activities like reading can slow cognitive decline by 32%.

Boosting Emotional Intelligence

Books provide a window into the lives, experiences, and emotions of different characters. As readers navigate through these narratives, they develop empathy and understanding for diverse perspectives. This process enhances emotional intelligence, which is crucial for interpersonal relationships and effective communication.

Knowledge Acquisition and Skill Development

Stress reduction and mental health.

Immersing oneself in a good book can be a great stress reliever. It provides an escape from reality, allowing readers to explore different worlds and experiences. According to a study by the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Furthermore, reading has been linked to improved mental health, with regular readers showing lower levels of depressive symptoms.

Improving Focus and Discipline

In conclusion, reading books offers a multitude of benefits, from enhancing cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence to facilitating knowledge acquisition and skill development. It also contributes to stress reduction and improved mental health, while fostering focus and discipline. While digital media and technology have their place in learning, the value of reading books should not be underestimated. For college students, reading can be a powerful tool for personal and academic growth.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

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essay book reading

How Should One Read a Book?

Read as if one were writing it.

A painting of a woman reading at a table.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Young Girl Reading , c. 1868. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

At this late hour of the world’s history, books are to be found in almost every room of the house—in the nursery, in the drawing room, in the dining room, in the kitchen. But in some houses they have become such a company that they have to be accommodated with a room of their own—a reading room, a library, a study. Let us imagine that we are now in such a room; that it is a sunny room, with windows opening on a garden, so that we can hear the trees rustling, the gardener talking, the donkey braying, the old women gossiping at the pump—and all the ordinary processes of life pursuing the casual irregular way which they have pursued these many hundreds of years. As casually, as persistently, books have been coming together on the shelves. Novels, poems, histories, memoirs, dictionaries, maps, directories; black letter books and brand new books; books in French and Greek and Latin; of all shapes and sizes and values, bought for purposes of research, bought to amuse a railway journey, bought by miscellaneous beings, of one temperament and another, serious and frivolous, men of action and men of letters.

Now, one may well ask oneself, strolling into such a room as this, how am I to read these books? What is the right way to set about it? They are so many and so various. My appetite is so fitful and so capricious. What am I to do to get the utmost possible pleasure out of them? And is it pleasure, or profit, or what is it that I should seek? I will lay before you some of the thoughts that have come to me on such an occasion as this. But you will notice the note of interrogation at the end of my title. One may think about reading as much as one chooses, but no one is going to lay down laws about it. Here in this room, if nowhere else, we breathe the air of freedom. Here simple and learned, man and woman are alike. For though reading seems so simple—a mere matter of knowing the alphabet—it is indeed so difficult that it is doubtful whether anybody knows anything about it. Paris is the capital of France; King John signed the Magna Charta; those are facts; those can be taught; but how are we to teach people so to read “Paradise Lost” as to see that it is a great poem, or “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” so as to see that it is a good novel? How are we to learn the art of reading for ourselves? Without attempting to lay down laws upon a subject that has not been legalized, I will make a few suggestions, which may serve to show you how not to read, or to stimulate you to think out better methods of your own.

And directly we begin to ask how should one read a book we are faced by the fact that books differ; there are poems, novels, biographies on the book shelf there; each differs from the other as a tiger differs from a tortoise, a tortoise from an elephant. Our attitude must always be changing, it is clear. From different books we must ask different qualities. Simple as this sounds, people are always behaving as if all books were of the same species—as if there were only tortoises or nothing but tigers. It makes them furious to find a novelist bringing Queen Victoria to the throne six months before her time; they will praise a poet enthusiastically for teaching them that a violet has four petals and a daisy almost invariably ten. You will save a great deal of time and temper better kept for worthier objects if you will try to make out before you begin to read what qualities you expect of a novelist, what of a poet, what of a biographer. The tortoise is bald and shiny; the tiger has a thick coat of yellow fur. So books too differ: one has its fur, the other has its baldness.

To be able to read books without reading them, to skip and saunter, to suspend judgment, to lounge and loaf down the alleys and bye-streets of letters is the best way of rejuvenating one’s own creative power.

Yes; but for all that the problem is not so simple in a library as at the Zoölogical Gardens. Books have a great deal in common; they are always overflowing their boundaries; they are always breeding new species from unexpected matches among themselves. It is difficult to know how to approach them, to which species each belongs. But if we remember, as we turn to the bookcase, that each of these books was written by a pen which, consciously or unconsciously, tried to trace out a design, avoiding this, accepting that, adventuring the other; if we try to follow the writer in his experiment from the first word to the last, without imposing our design upon him, then we shall have a good chance of getting hold of the right end of the string.

To read a book well, one should read it as if one were writing it. Begin not by sitting on the bench among the judges but by standing in the dock with the criminal. Be his fellow worker, become his accomplice. Even, if you wish merely to read books, begin by writing them. For this certainly is true—one cannot write the most ordinary little story, attempt to describe the simplest event—meeting a beggar, shall we say, in the street, without coming up against difficulties that the greatest of novelists have had to face. In order that we may realize, however briefly and crudely, the main divisions into which novelists group themselves, let us imagine how differently Defoe, Jane Austen, and Thomas Hardy would describe the same incident—this meeting a beggar in the street. Defoe is a master of narrative. His prime effort will be to reduce the beggar’s story to perfect order and simplicity. This happened first, that next, the other thing third. He will put in nothing, however attractive, that will tire the reader unnecessarily, or divert his attention from what he wishes him to know. He will also make us believe, since he is a master, not of romance or of comedy, but of narrative, that everything that happened is true. He will be extremely precise therefore. This happened, as he tells us on the first pages of” Robinson Crusoe,” on the first of September. More subtly and artfully, he will hypnotize us into a state of belief by dropping out casually some little unnecessary fact—for instance, “my father called me one morning into his chamber, where he was confined by the gout.” His father’s gout is not necessary to the story, but it is necessary to the truth of the story, for it is thus that anybody who is speaking the truth adds some small irrelevant detail without thinking. Further, he will choose a type of sentence which is flowing but not too full, exact but not epigrammatic. His aim will be to present the thing itself without distortion from his own angle of vision. He will meet the subject face to face, four-square, without turning aside for a moment to point out that this was tragic, or that beautiful; and his aim is perfectly achieved.

But let us not for a moment confuse it with Jane Austen’s aim. Had she met a beggar woman, no doubt she would have been interested in the beggar’s story. But she would have seen at once that for her purposes the whole incident must be transformed. Streets and the open air and adventures mean nothing to her, artistically. It is character that interests her. She would at once make the beggar into a comfortable elderly man of the upper middle classes, seated by his fireside at his ease. Then, instead of plunging into the story vigorously and veraciously, she will write a few paragraphs of accurate and artfully seasoned introduction, summing up the circumstances and sketching the character of the gentleman she wishes us to know. “Matrimony as the origin of change was always disagreeable” to Mr. Woodhouse, she says. Almost immediately, she thinks it well to let us see that her words are corroborated by Mr. Woodhouse himself. We hear him talking. “Poor Miss Taylor!—I wish she were here again. What a pity it is that Mr. Weston ever thought of her.” And when Mr. Woodhouse has talked enough to reveal himself from the inside, she then thinks it time to let us see him through his daughter’s eyes. “You got Hannah that good place. Nobody thought of Hannah till you mentioned her.” Thus she shows us Emma flattering him and humoring him. Finally then, we have Mr. Woodhouse’s character seen from three different points of view at once; as he sees himself; as his daughter sees him; and as he is seen by the marvellous eye of that invisible lady Jane Austen herself. All three meet in one, and thus we can pass round her characters free, apparently, from any guidance but our own.

Now let Thomas Hardy choose the same theme—a beggar met in the street—and at once two great changes will be visible. The street will be transformed into a vast and sombre heath; the man or woman will take on some of the size and indistinctness of a statue. Further, the relations of this human being will not be towards other people, but towards the heath, towards man as law-giver, towards those powers which are in control of man’s destiny. Once more our perspective will be completely changed. All the qualities which were admirable in “Robinson Crusoe,” admirable in “Emma,” will be neglected or absent. The direct literal statement of Defoe is gone. There is none of the clear, exact brilliance of Jane Austen. Indeed, if we come to Hardy from one of these great writers we shall exclaim at first that he is “melodramatic” or “unreal” compared with them. But we should bethink us that there are at least two sides to the human soul; the light side and the dark side. In company, the light side of the mind is exposed; in solitude, the dark. Both are equally real, equally important. But a novelist will always tend to expose one rather than the other; and Hardy, who is a novelist of the dark side, will contrive that no clear, steady light falls upon his people’s faces, that they are not closely observed in drawing rooms, that they come in contact with moors, sheep, the sky and the stars, and in their solitude are directly at the mercy of the gods. If Jane Austen’s characters are real in the drawing room, they would not exist at all upon the top of Stonehenge. Feeble and clumsy in drawing rooms, Hardy’s people are large-limbed and vigorous out of doors. To achieve his purpose Hardy is neither literal and four-square like Defoe, nor deft and pointed like Jane Austen. He is cumbrous, involved, metaphorical. Where Jane Austen describes manners, he describes nature. Where she is matter of fact, he is romantic and poetical. As both are great artists, each is careful to observe the laws of his own perspective, and will not be found confusing us (as so many lesser writers do) by introducing two different kinds of reality into the same book.

Yet it is very difficult not to wish them less scrupulous. Frequent are the complaints that Jane Austen is too prosaic, Thomas Hardy too melodramatic. And we have to remind ourselves that it is necessary to approach every writer differently in order to get from him all he can give us. We have to remember that it is one of the qualities of greatness that it brings heaven and earth and human nature into conformity with its own vision. It is by reason of this masterliness of theirs, this uncompromising idiosyncrasy, that great writers often require us to make heroic efforts in order to read them rightly. They bend us and break us. To go from Jane Austen to Hardy, from Peacock to Trollope, from Scott to Meredith, from Richardson to Kipling, is to be wrenched and distorted, thrown this way and then that. Besides, everyone is born with a natural bias of his own in one direction rather than in another. He instinctively accepts Hardy’s vision rather than Jane Austen’s, and, reading with the current and not against it, is carried on easily and swiftly by the impetus of his own bent to the heart of his author’s genius. But then Jane Austen is repulsive to him. He can scarcely stagger through the desert of her novels.

Sometimes this natural antagonism is too great to be overcome, but trial is always worth making. For these difficult and inaccessible books, with all their preliminary harshness, often yield the richest fruits in the end, and so curiously is the brain compounded that while tracts of literature repel at one season, they are appetizing and essential at another.

If, then, this is true—that books are of very different types, and that to read them rightly we have to bend our imaginations powerfully, first one way, then another—it is clear that reading is one of the most arduous and exhausting of occupations. Often the pages fly before us and we seem, so keen is our interest, to be living and not even holding the volume in our hands. But the more exciting the book, the more danger we run of over-reading. The symptoms are familiar. Suddenly the book becomes dull as ditchwater and heavy as lead. We yawn and stretch and cannot attend. The highest flights of Shakespeare and Milton become intolerable. And we say to ourselves—is Keats a fool or am I?—a painful question, a question, moreover, that need not be asked if we realized how great a part the art of not reading plays in the art of reading. To be able to read books without reading them, to skip and saunter, to suspend judgment, to lounge and loaf down the alleys and bye-streets of letters is the best way of rejuvenating one’s own creative power. All biographies and memoirs, all the hybrid books which are largely made up of facts, serve to restore to us the power of reading real books—that is to say, works of pure imagination. That they serve also to impart knowledge and to improve the mind is true and important, but if we are considering how to read books for pleasure, not how to provide an adequate pension for one’s widow, this other property of theirs is even more valuable and important. But here again one should know what one is after. One is after rest, and fun, and oddity, and some stimulus to one’s own jaded creative power. One has left one’s bare and angular tower and is strolling along the street looking in at the open windows. After solitude and concentration, the open air, the sight of other people absorbed in innumerable activities, comes upon us with an indescribable fascination.

The windows of the houses are open; the blinds are drawn up. One can see the whole household without their knowing that they are being seen. One can see them sitting round the dinner table, talking, reading, playing games. Sometimes they seem to be quarrelling—but what about? Or they are laughing—but what is the joke? Down in the basement the cook is reading a newspaper aloud, while the housemaid is making a piece of toast; in comes the kitchen maid and they all start talking at the same moment—but what are they saying? Upstairs a girl is dressing to go to a party. But where is she going? There is an old lady sitting at her bedroom window with some kind of wool work in her hand and a fine green parrot in a cage beside her. And what is she thinking? All this life has somehow come together; there is a reason for it; a coherency in it, could one but seize it. The biographer answers the innumerable questions which we ask as we stand outside on the pavement looking in at the open window. Indeed there is nothing more interesting than to pick one’s way about among these vast depositories of facts, to make up the lives of men and women, to create their complex minds and households from the extraordinary abundance and litter and confusion of matter which lies strewn about. A thimble, a skull, a pair of scissors, a sheaf of sonnets, are given us, and we have to create, to combine, to put these incongruous things together. There is, too, a quality in facts, an emotion which comes from knowing that men and women actually did and suffered these things, which only the greatest novelists can surpass. Captain Scott, starving and freezing to death in the snow, affects us as deeply as any made-up story of adventure by Conrad or Defoe; but it affects us differently. The biography differs from the novel. To ask a biographer to give us the same kind of pleasure that we get from a novelist is to misuse and misread him. Directly he says “John Jones was born at five-thirty in the morning of August 13, I 862,” he has committed himself, focussed his lens upon fact, and if he then begins to romance, the perspective becomes blurred, we grow suspicious, and our faith in his integrity as a writer is destroyed. In the same way fact destroys fiction. If Thackeray, for example, had quoted an actual newspaper account of the Battle of Waterloo in “Vanity Fair,” the whole fabric of his story would have been destroyed, as a stone destroys a bubble.

But it is undoubted that these hybrid books, these warehouses and depositories of facts, play a great part in resting the brain and restoring its zest of imagination. The work of building up a life for oneself from skulls, thimbles, scissors, and sonnets stimulates our interest in creation and rouses our wish to see the work beautifully and powerfully done by a Flaubert or a Tolstoi. Moreover, however interesting facts may be, they are an inferior form of fiction, and gradually we become impatient of their weakness and diffuseness, of their compromises and evasions, of the slovenly sentences which they make for themselves, and are eager to revive ourselves with the greater intensity and truth of fiction.

It is necessary to have in hand an immense reserve of imaginative energy in order to attack the steeps of poetry. Here are none of those gradual introductions, those resemblances to the familiar world of daily life with which the novelist entices us into his world of imagination. All is violent, opposite, unrelated. But various causes, such as bad books, the worry of carrying on life efficiently, the intermittent but powerful shocks dealt us by beauty, and the incalculable impulses of our own minds and bodies frequently put us into that state of mind in which poetry is a necessity. The sight of a crocus in a garden will suddenly bring to mind all the spring days that have ever been. One then desires the general, not the particular; the whole, not the detail; to turn uppermost the dark side of the mind; to be in contact with silence, solitude, and all men and women and not this particular Richard, or that particular Anne. Metaphors are then more expressive than plain statements.

Thus in order to read poetry rightly, one must be in a rash, an extreme, a generous state of mind in which many of the supports and comforts of literature are done without. Its power of make-believe, its representative power, is dispensed with in favor of its extremities and extravagances. The representation is often at a very far remove from the thing represented, so that we have to use all our energies of mind to grasp the relation between, for example, the song of a nightingale and the image and ideas which that song stirs in the mind. Thus reading poetry often seems a state of rhapsody in which rhyme and metre and sound stir the mind as wine and dance stir the body, and we read on, understanding with the senses, not with the intellect, in a state of intoxication. Yet all this intoxication and intensity of delight depend upon the exactitude and truth of the image, on its being the counterpart of the reality within. Remote and extravagant as some of Shakespeare’s images seem, far-fetched and ethereal as some of Keats’s, at the moment of reading they seem the cap and culmination of the thought; its final expression. But it is useless to labor the matter in cold blood. Anyone who has read a poem with pleasure will remember the sudden conviction, the sudden recollection (for it seems sometimes as if we were about to say, or had in some previous existence already said, what Shakespeare is actually now saying), which accompany the reading of poetry, and give it its exaltation and intensity. But such reading is attended, whether consciously or unconsciously, with the utmost stretch and vigilance of the faculties, of the reason no less than of the imagination. We are always verifying the poet’s statements, making a flying comparison, to the best of our powers, between the beauty he makes outside and the beauty we are aware of within. For the humblest among us is endowed with the power of comparison. The simplest (provided he loves reading) has that already within him to which he makes what is given him—by poet or novelist—correspond.

With that saying, of course, the cat is out of the bag. For this admission that we can compare, discriminate, brings us to this further point. Reading is not merely sympathizing and understanding; it is also criticizing and judging. Hitherto our endeavor has been to read books as a writer writes them. We have been trying to understand, to appreciate, to interpret, to sympathize. But now, when the book is finished, the reader must leave the dock and mount the bench. He must cease to be the friend; he must become the judge. And this is no mere figure of speech. The mind seems (“seems,” for all is obscure that takes place in the mind) to go through two processes in reading. One might be called the actual reading; the other the after reading. During the actual reading, when we hold the book in our hands, there are incessant distractions and interruptions. New impressions are always completing or cancelling the old. One’s judgment is suspended, for one does not know what is coming next. Surprise, admiration, boredom, interest, succeed each other in such quick succession that when, at last, the end is reached, one is for the most part in a state of complete bewilderment. Is it good? or bad? What kind of book is it? How good a book is it? The friction of reading and the emotion of reading beat up too much dust to let us find clear answers to these questions. If we are asked our opinion, we cannot give it. Parts of the book seem to have sunk away, others to be starting out in undue prominence. Then perhaps it is better to take up some different pursuit—to walk, to talk, to dig, to listen to music. The book upon which we have spent so much time and thought fades entirely out of sight. But suddenly, as one is picking a snail from a rose, tying a shoe, perhaps, doing something distant and different, the whole book floats to the top of the mind complete. Some process seems to have been finished without one’s being aware of it. The different details which have accumulated in reading assemble themselves in their proper places. The book takes on a definite shape; it becomes a castle, a cowshed, a gothic ruin, as the case may be. Now one can think of the book as a whole, and the book as a whole is different, and gives one a different emotion, from the book received currently in several different parts. Its symmetry and proportion, its confusion and distortion can cause great delight or great disgust apart from the pleasure given by each detail as it is separately realized. Holding this complete shape in mind it now becomes necessary to arrive at some opinion of the book’s merits, for though it is possible to receive the greatest pleasure and excitement from the first process, the actual reading, though this is of the utmost importance, it is not so profound or so lasting as the pleasure we get when the second process—the after reading—is finished, and we hold the book clear, secure, and (to the best of our powers) complete in our minds.

But how, we may ask, are we to decide any of these questions—is it good, or is it bad?—how good is it, how bad is it? Not much help can be looked for from outside. Critics abound; criticisms pullulate; but minds differ too much to admit of close correspondence in matters of detail, and nothing is more disastrous than to crush one’s own foot into another person’s shoe. When we want to decide a particular case, we can best help ourselves, not by reading criticism, but by realizing our own impression as acutely as possible and referring this to the judgments which we have gradually formulated in the past. There they hang in the wardrobe of our mind—the shapes of the books we have read, as we hung them up and put them away when we had done with them. If we have just read “Clarissa Harlowe,” for example, let us see how it shows up against the shape of “Anna Karenina.” At once the outlines of the two books are cut out against each other as a house with its chimneys bristling and its gables sloping is cut out against a harvest moon. At once Richardson’s qualities—his verbosity, his obliqueness—are contrasted with Tolstoi’s brevity and directness. And what is the reason of this difference in their approach? And how does our emotion at different crises of the two books compare? And what must we attribute to the eighteenth century, and what to Russia and the translator? But the questions which suggest themselves are innumerable. They ramify infinitely, and many of them are apparently irrelevant. Yet it is by asking them and pursuing the answers as far as we can go that we arrive at our standard of values, and decide in the end that the book we have just read is of this kind or of that, has merit in that degree or in this. And it is now, when we have kept closely to our own impression, formulated independently our own judgment, that we can most profitably help ourselves to the judgments of the great critics—Dryden, Johnson, and the rest. It is when we can best defend our own opinions that we get most from theirs.

So, then—to sum up the different points we have reached in this essay—have we found any answer to our question, how should we read a book? Clearly, no answer that will do for everyone; but perhaps a few suggestions. In the first place, a good reader will give the writer the benefit of every doubt; the help of all his imagination; will follow as closely, interpret as intelligently as he can. In the next place, he will judge with the utmost severity. Every book, he will remember, has the right to be judged by the best of its kind. He will be adventurous, broad in his choice, true to his own instincts, yet ready to consider those of other people. This is an outline which can be filled, in at taste and at leisure, but to read something after this fashion is to be a reader whom writers respect. It is by the means of such readers that masterpieces are helped into the world.

If the moralists ask us how we can justify our love of reading, we can make use of some such excuse as this. But if we are honest, we know that no such excuse is needed. It is true that we get nothing whatsoever except pleasure from reading; it is true that the wisest of us is unable to say what that pleasure may be. But that pleasure—mysterious, unknown, useless as it is—is enough. That pleasure is so curious, so complex, so immensely fertilizing to the mind of anyone who enjoys it, and so wide in its effects, that it would not be in the least surprising to discover, on the day of judgment when secrets are revealed and the obscure is made plain, that the reason why we have grown from pigs to men and women, and come out from our caves, and dropped our bows and arrows, and sat round the fire and talked and drunk and made merry and given to the poor and helped the sick and made pavements and houses and erected some sort of shelter and society on the waste of the world, is nothing but this: we have loved reading.

Rachel Cusk

Renaissance women, fady joudah, you might also like, september twilight, the tolstoyans, thirty clocks strike the hour, new perspectives, enduring writing..

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Why I Like Reading Books: a Narrative

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Published: Mar 14, 2019

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Why i like reading (essay), my favorite type of books, works cited.

  • Coleridge, S. T. (1817). Biographia Literaria: Or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions. Restless Books.
  • Lawrence, D. H. (2000). Lady Chatterley's Lover. Wordsworth Editions.
  • Maas, S. J. (2012). Throne of Glass. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Orwell, G. (1949). 1984. Secker & Warburg.
  • Shakespeare, W. (2008). The Merchant's Tale. In The Canterbury Tales (2nd ed., pp. 121-134). Penguin Classics.
  • Stowe, H. B. (1852). Uncle Tom's Cabin. J. P. Jewett and Company.
  • Tolkein, J. R. R. (2012). The Lord of the Rings. HarperCollins.
  • Tonnard, M., & Van Kesteren, E. (2007). Reading Ed Ruscha: Novels. Ludion.
  • Wells, H. G. (1932). Brave New World. Chatto & Windus.
  • Wood, J. (2014). The Theatre of Absurd. Bloomsbury Publishing.

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essay book reading

Student Essays

Essay on Book Reading – Value & Importance For Students

Book reading is very important. It is in fact a meaningful and most valuable activity one should do. The books are the best friends. Books are the treasure house of knowledge and wisdom. It is therefore, very imperative, for young old, for children & students, to read books and enhance knowledge. Read following short & long essay on topic Essay on Book reading, value and importance of book reading with quotes & images for Ukg children & students.

Essay on Book Reading | Value & Importance of Book Reading, Books are best Friends – Short & Long Essay For Students


Book reading is very good habit. It has very positive effects on person. Book reading plays a major role in developing of personality. It build’s one character.

Essay on Book Reading for students

Book reading is one of the best hobbies of the world. It has wide importance and a lot of benefits in one’s life. It takes you to another world. Book reading is the best investment of time. They are the treasure house of knowledge and wisdom. One can enjoy a lot by reading books of his interest. Books are best way to gain valuable knowledge.

Importance & Advantages of Book Reading

Book reading is has a lot of benefits. It enhances our knowledge and we can get massive knowledge just by reading a book. It plays a major role in improving language skills.

One can learn new words by reading books. It also makes you write well.  We read about different personalities and stories of their valor and strength in books.

>> Related: A Good Paragraph on Value of Books For Students <<<<

These stories motivate us to do best in our lives. We learn a lot from lives of these wit people who have served humanity by their sound abilities. The biographies of great ones make us to work hard and keep working till achievement of success. Books take you to new world. We can read about different people and different places in books. It gives us glimpse of different places of world. One has rightly said

[su_quote]“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel with out moving your feet.”[/su_quote]

Books give you right direction to lead your life. We read about different philosophies about life and this gives us better understanding of life. We start to comprehend life and it purpose. Books are the best motivator of life and best assistant for life. They tell you that lives of all the great ones were full of troubles and tribulations.

It is important face all the problems manfully and does not lose hope. One can also know about his interest by reading books. This makes us to choose the career which is according to our deposition and aptitude.

Books are the Best Friends & Best Investment of Time

Book reading is the best investment of time in all ways. There are books for all age groups. One can read stories, biographies, novels, philosophies, religious books etc. we can read books according to our interest.

One can read historical books and can easily know about the lives of ancient people and their ways of living. Books take you every corner of world as we can read the books of different writers from different areas. It gives us chance to know about thoughts of people of different areas.

We can travel of different corners of world. Books widen our imaginations by reading about diverse topics. It enables us to think beyond the limits. Books help us to build our character and lead our life in a better way.

Books are permanent companions. Knowledge we get through books help us in many ways. Books are source of solace for all the people and they find themselves very comfortable in company of books. It makes them forget their worries and engross in the words of writer. Above all, book reading hobby is indeed on of the finest investment of time

Book reading has major influence on the thoughts of man. Thus, it is very important to choose good books for reading. We should choose books that enhance our knowledge and give our life a better direction. It is very important to develop the habit of book reading.

Children should be encouraged by their teachers and parents for reading books. Government should build libraries to develop the interest of people towards books by providing them valuable books. Book reading can change the life of people in positive way.

2 thoughts on “Essay on Book Reading – Value & Importance For Students”

Its very good .

plz write essay on Book Reading and its Impacts on Readers’ Personality … BTW nice essay.

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The 10 Best Essay Collections of the Decade

Ever tried. ever failed. no matter..

Friends, it’s true: the end of the decade approaches. It’s been a difficult, anxiety-provoking, morally compromised decade, but at least it’s been populated by some damn fine literature. We’ll take our silver linings where we can.

So, as is our hallowed duty as a literary and culture website—though with full awareness of the potentially fruitless and endlessly contestable nature of the task—in the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a look at the best and most important (these being not always the same) books of the decade that was. We will do this, of course, by means of a variety of lists. We began with the best debut novels , the best short story collections , the best poetry collections , and the best memoirs of the decade , and we have now reached the fifth list in our series: the best essay collections published in English between 2010 and 2019.

The following books were chosen after much debate (and several rounds of voting) by the Literary Hub staff. Tears were spilled, feelings were hurt, books were re-read. And as you’ll shortly see, we had a hard time choosing just ten—so we’ve also included a list of dissenting opinions, and an even longer list of also-rans. As ever, free to add any of your own favorites that we’ve missed in the comments below.

The Top Ten

Oliver sacks, the mind’s eye (2010).

Toward the end of his life, maybe suspecting or sensing that it was coming to a close, Dr. Oliver Sacks tended to focus his efforts on sweeping intellectual projects like On the Move (a memoir), The River of Consciousness (a hybrid intellectual history), and Hallucinations (a book-length meditation on, what else, hallucinations). But in 2010, he gave us one more classic in the style that first made him famous, a form he revolutionized and brought into the contemporary literary canon: the medical case study as essay. In The Mind’s Eye , Sacks focuses on vision, expanding the notion to embrace not only how we see the world, but also how we map that world onto our brains when our eyes are closed and we’re communing with the deeper recesses of consciousness. Relaying histories of patients and public figures, as well as his own history of ocular cancer (the condition that would eventually spread and contribute to his death), Sacks uses vision as a lens through which to see all of what makes us human, what binds us together, and what keeps us painfully apart. The essays that make up this collection are quintessential Sacks: sensitive, searching, with an expertise that conveys scientific information and experimentation in terms we can not only comprehend, but which also expand how we see life carrying on around us. The case studies of “Stereo Sue,” of the concert pianist Lillian Kalir, and of Howard, the mystery novelist who can no longer read, are highlights of the collection, but each essay is a kind of gem, mined and polished by one of the great storytellers of our era.  –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads Managing Editor

John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead (2011)

The American essay was having a moment at the beginning of the decade, and Pulphead was smack in the middle. Without any hard data, I can tell you that this collection of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s magazine features—published primarily in GQ , but also in The Paris Review , and Harper’s —was the only full book of essays most of my literary friends had read since Slouching Towards Bethlehem , and probably one of the only full books of essays they had even heard of.

Well, we all picked a good one. Every essay in Pulphead is brilliant and entertaining, and illuminates some small corner of the American experience—even if it’s just one house, with Sullivan and an aging writer inside (“Mr. Lytle” is in fact a standout in a collection with no filler; fittingly, it won a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart Prize). But what are they about? Oh, Axl Rose, Christian Rock festivals, living around the filming of One Tree Hill , the Tea Party movement, Michael Jackson, Bunny Wailer, the influence of animals, and by god, the Miz (of Real World/Road Rules Challenge fame).

But as Dan Kois has pointed out , what connects these essays, apart from their general tone and excellence, is “their author’s essential curiosity about the world, his eye for the perfect detail, and his great good humor in revealing both his subjects’ and his own foibles.” They are also extremely well written, drawing much from fictional techniques and sentence craft, their literary pleasures so acute and remarkable that James Wood began his review of the collection in The New Yorker with a quiz: “Are the following sentences the beginnings of essays or of short stories?” (It was not a hard quiz, considering the context.)

It’s hard not to feel, reading this collection, like someone reached into your brain, took out the half-baked stuff you talk about with your friends, researched it, lived it, and represented it to you smarter and better and more thoroughly than you ever could. So read it in awe if you must, but read it.  –Emily Temple, Senior Editor

Aleksandar Hemon, The Book of My Lives (2013)

Such is the sentence-level virtuosity of Aleksandar Hemon—the Bosnian-American writer, essayist, and critic—that throughout his career he has frequently been compared to the granddaddy of borrowed language prose stylists: Vladimir Nabokov. While it is, of course, objectively remarkable that anyone could write so beautifully in a language they learned in their twenties, what I admire most about Hemon’s work is the way in which he infuses every essay and story and novel with both a deep humanity and a controlled (but never subdued) fury. He can also be damn funny. Hemon grew up in Sarajevo and left in 1992 to study in Chicago, where he almost immediately found himself stranded, forced to watch from afar as his beloved home city was subjected to a relentless four-year bombardment, the longest siege of a capital in the history of modern warfare. This extraordinary memoir-in-essays is many things: it’s a love letter to both the family that raised him and the family he built in exile; it’s a rich, joyous, and complex portrait of a place the 90s made synonymous with war and devastation; and it’s an elegy for the wrenching loss of precious things. There’s an essay about coming of age in Sarajevo and another about why he can’t bring himself to leave Chicago. There are stories about relationships forged and maintained on the soccer pitch or over the chessboard, and stories about neighbors and mentors turned monstrous by ethnic prejudice. As a chorus they sing with insight, wry humor, and unimaginable sorrow. I am not exaggerating when I say that the collection’s devastating final piece, “The Aquarium”—which details his infant daughter’s brain tumor and the agonizing months which led up to her death—remains the most painful essay I have ever read.  –Dan Sheehan, Book Marks Editor

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass (2013)

Of every essay in my relentlessly earmarked copy of Braiding Sweetgrass , Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeously rendered argument for why and how we should keep going, there’s one that especially hits home: her account of professor-turned-forester Franz Dolp. When Dolp, several decades ago, revisited the farm that he had once shared with his ex-wife, he found a scene of destruction: The farm’s new owners had razed the land where he had tried to build a life. “I sat among the stumps and the swirling red dust and I cried,” he wrote in his journal.

So many in my generation (and younger) feel this kind of helplessness–and considerable rage–at finding ourselves newly adult in a world where those in power seem determined to abandon or destroy everything that human bodies have always needed to survive: air, water, land. Asking any single book to speak to this helplessness feels unfair, somehow; yet, Braiding Sweetgrass does, by weaving descriptions of indigenous tradition with the environmental sciences in order to show what survival has looked like over the course of many millennia. Kimmerer’s essays describe her personal experience as a Potawotami woman, plant ecologist, and teacher alongside stories of the many ways that humans have lived in relationship to other species. Whether describing Dolp’s work–he left the stumps for a life of forest restoration on the Oregon coast–or the work of others in maple sugar harvesting, creating black ash baskets, or planting a Three Sisters garden of corn, beans, and squash, she brings hope. “In ripe ears and swelling fruit, they counsel us that all gifts are multiplied in relationship,” she writes of the Three Sisters, which all sustain one another as they grow. “This is how the world keeps going.”  –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Hilton Als, White Girls (2013)

In a world where we are so often reduced to one essential self, Hilton Als’ breathtaking book of critical essays, White Girls , which meditates on the ways he and other subjects read, project and absorb parts of white femininity, is a radically liberating book. It’s one of the only works of critical thinking that doesn’t ask the reader, its author or anyone he writes about to stoop before the doorframe of complete legibility before entering. Something he also permitted the subjects and readers of his first book, the glorious book-length essay, The Women , a series of riffs and psychological portraits of Dorothy Dean, Owen Dodson, and the author’s own mother, among others. One of the shifts of that book, uncommon at the time, was how it acknowledges the way we inhabit bodies made up of variously gendered influences. To read White Girls now is to experience the utter freedom of this gift and to marvel at Als’ tremendous versatility and intelligence.

He is easily the most diversely talented American critic alive. He can write into genres like pop music and film where being part of an audience is a fantasy happening in the dark. He’s also wired enough to know how the art world builds reputations on the nod of rich white patrons, a significant collision in a time when Jean-Michel Basquiat is America’s most expensive modern artist. Als’ swerving and always moving grip on performance means he’s especially good on describing the effect of art which is volatile and unstable and built on the mingling of made-up concepts and the hard fact of their effect on behavior, such as race. Writing on Flannery O’Connor for instance he alone puts a finger on her “uneasy and unavoidable union between black and white, the sacred and the profane, the shit and the stars.” From Eminem to Richard Pryor, André Leon Talley to Michael Jackson, Als enters the life and work of numerous artists here who turn the fascinations of race and with whiteness into fury and song and describes the complexity of their beauty like his life depended upon it. There are also brief memoirs here that will stop your heart. This is an essential work to understanding American culture.  –John Freeman, Executive Editor

Eula Biss, On Immunity (2014)

We move through the world as if we can protect ourselves from its myriad dangers, exercising what little agency we have in an effort to keep at bay those fears that gather at the edges of any given life: of loss, illness, disaster, death. It is these fears—amplified by the birth of her first child—that Eula Biss confronts in her essential 2014 essay collection, On Immunity . As any great essayist does, Biss moves outward in concentric circles from her own very private view of the world to reveal wider truths, discovering as she does a culture consumed by anxiety at the pervasive toxicity of contemporary life. As Biss interrogates this culture—of privilege, of whiteness—she interrogates herself, questioning the flimsy ways in which we arm ourselves with science or superstition against the impurities of daily existence.

Five years on from its publication, it is dismaying that On Immunity feels as urgent (and necessary) a defense of basic science as ever. Vaccination, we learn, is derived from vacca —for cow—after the 17th-century discovery that a small application of cowpox was often enough to inoculate against the scourge of smallpox, an etymological digression that belies modern conspiratorial fears of Big Pharma and its vaccination agenda. But Biss never scolds or belittles the fears of others, and in her generosity and openness pulls off a neat (and important) trick: insofar as we are of the very world we fear, she seems to be suggesting, we ourselves are impure, have always been so, permeable, vulnerable, yet so much stronger than we think.  –Jonny Diamond, Editor-in-Chief 

Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions (2016)

When Rebecca Solnit’s essay, “Men Explain Things to Me,” was published in 2008, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon unlike almost any other in recent memory, assigning language to a behavior that almost every woman has witnessed—mansplaining—and, in the course of identifying that behavior, spurring a movement, online and offline, to share the ways in which patriarchal arrogance has intersected all our lives. (It would also come to be the titular essay in her collection published in 2014.) The Mother of All Questions follows up on that work and takes it further in order to examine the nature of self-expression—who is afforded it and denied it, what institutions have been put in place to limit it, and what happens when it is employed by women. Solnit has a singular gift for describing and decoding the misogynistic dynamics that govern the world so universally that they can seem invisible and the gendered violence that is so common as to seem unremarkable; this naming is powerful, and it opens space for sharing the stories that shape our lives.

The Mother of All Questions, comprised of essays written between 2014 and 2016, in many ways armed us with some of the tools necessary to survive the gaslighting of the Trump years, in which many of us—and especially women—have continued to hear from those in power that the things we see and hear do not exist and never existed. Solnit also acknowledges that labels like “woman,” and other gendered labels, are identities that are fluid in reality; in reviewing the book for The New Yorker , Moira Donegan suggested that, “One useful working definition of a woman might be ‘someone who experiences misogyny.'” Whichever words we use, Solnit writes in the introduction to the book that “when words break through unspeakability, what was tolerated by a society sometimes becomes intolerable.” This storytelling work has always been vital; it continues to be vital, and in this book, it is brilliantly done.  –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends (2017)

The newly minted MacArthur fellow Valeria Luiselli’s four-part (but really six-part) essay  Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions  was inspired by her time spent volunteering at the federal immigration court in New York City, working as an interpreter for undocumented, unaccompanied migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Written concurrently with her novel  Lost Children Archive  (a fictional exploration of the same topic), Luiselli’s essay offers a fascinating conceit, the fashioning of an argument from the questions on the government intake form given to these children to process their arrivals. (Aside from the fact that this essay is a heartbreaking masterpiece, this is such a  good  conceit—transforming a cold, reproducible administrative document into highly personal literature.) Luiselli interweaves a grounded discussion of the questionnaire with a narrative of the road trip Luiselli takes with her husband and family, across America, while they (both Mexican citizens) wait for their own Green Card applications to be processed. It is on this trip when Luiselli reflects on the thousands of migrant children mysteriously traveling across the border by themselves. But the real point of the essay is to actually delve into the real stories of some of these children, which are agonizing, as well as to gravely, clearly expose what literally happens, procedural, when they do arrive—from forms to courts, as they’re swallowed by a bureaucratic vortex. Amid all of this, Luiselli also takes on more, exploring the larger contextual relationship between the United States of America and Mexico (as well as other countries in Central America, more broadly) as it has evolved to our current, adverse moment.  Tell Me How It Ends  is so small, but it is so passionate and vigorous: it desperately accomplishes in its less-than-100-pages-of-prose what centuries and miles and endless records of federal bureaucracy have never been able, and have never cared, to do: reverse the dehumanization of Latin American immigrants that occurs once they set foot in this country.  –Olivia Rutigliano, CrimeReads Editorial Fellow

Zadie Smith, Feel Free (2018)

In the essay “Meet Justin Bieber!” in Feel Free , Zadie Smith writes that her interest in Justin Bieber is not an interest in the interiority of the singer himself, but in “the idea of the love object”. This essay—in which Smith imagines a meeting between Bieber and the late philosopher Martin Buber (“Bieber and Buber are alternative spellings of the same German surname,” she explains in one of many winning footnotes. “Who am I to ignore these hints from the universe?”). Smith allows that this premise is a bit premise -y: “I know, I know.” Still, the resulting essay is a very funny, very smart, and un-tricky exploration of individuality and true “meeting,” with a dash of late capitalism thrown in for good measure. The melding of high and low culture is the bread and butter of pretty much every prestige publication on the internet these days (and certainly of the Twitter feeds of all “public intellectuals”), but the essays in Smith’s collection don’t feel familiar—perhaps because hers is, as we’ve long known, an uncommon skill. Though I believe Smith could probably write compellingly about anything, she chooses her subjects wisely. She writes with as much electricity about Brexit as the aforementioned Beliebers—and each essay is utterly engrossing. “She contains multitudes, but her point is we all do,” writes Hermione Hoby in her review of the collection in The New Republic . “At the same time, we are, in our endless difference, nobody but ourselves.”  –Jessie Gaynor, Social Media Editor

Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick: And Other Essays (2019)

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an academic who has transcended the ivory tower to become the sort of public intellectual who can easily appear on radio or television talk shows to discuss race, gender, and capitalism. Her collection of essays reflects this duality, blending scholarly work with memoir to create a collection on the black female experience in postmodern America that’s “intersectional analysis with a side of pop culture.” The essays range from an analysis of sexual violence, to populist politics, to social media, but in centering her own experiences throughout, the collection becomes something unlike other pieces of criticism of contemporary culture. In explaining the title, she reflects on what an editor had said about her work: “I was too readable to be academic, too deep to be popular, too country black to be literary, and too naïve to show the rigor of my thinking in the complexity of my prose. I had wanted to create something meaningful that sounded not only like me, but like all of me. It was too thick.” One of the most powerful essays in the book is “Dying to be Competent” which begins with her unpacking the idiocy of LinkedIn (and the myth of meritocracy) and ends with a description of her miscarriage, the mishandling of black woman’s pain, and a condemnation of healthcare bureaucracy. A finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction, Thick confirms McMillan Cottom as one of our most fearless public intellectuals and one of the most vital.  –Emily Firetog, Deputy Editor

Dissenting Opinions

The following books were just barely nudged out of the top ten, but we (or at least one of us) couldn’t let them pass without comment.

Elif Batuman, The Possessed (2010)

In The Possessed Elif Batuman indulges her love of Russian literature and the result is hilarious and remarkable. Each essay of the collection chronicles some adventure or other that she had while in graduate school for Comparative Literature and each is more unpredictable than the next. There’s the time a “well-known 20th-centuryist” gave a graduate student the finger; and the time when Batuman ended up living in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for a summer; and the time that she convinced herself Tolstoy was murdered and spent the length of the Tolstoy Conference in Yasnaya Polyana considering clues and motives. Rich in historic detail about Russian authors and literature and thoughtfully constructed, each essay is an amalgam of critical analysis, cultural criticism, and serious contemplation of big ideas like that of identity, intellectual legacy, and authorship. With wit and a serpentine-like shape to her narratives, Batuman adopts a form reminiscent of a Socratic discourse, setting up questions at the beginning of her essays and then following digressions that more or less entreat the reader to synthesize the answer for herself. The digressions are always amusing and arguably the backbone of the collection, relaying absurd anecdotes with foreign scholars or awkward, surreal encounters with Eastern European strangers. Central also to the collection are Batuman’s intellectual asides where she entertains a theory—like the “problem of the person”: the inability to ever wholly capture one’s character—that ultimately layer the book’s themes. “You are certainly my most entertaining student,” a professor said to Batuman. But she is also curious and enthusiastic and reflective and so knowledgeable that she might even convince you (she has me!) that you too love Russian literature as much as she does. –Eleni Theodoropoulos, Editorial Fellow

Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (2014)

Roxane Gay’s now-classic essay collection is a book that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then wonder, how can cultural criticism be this fun? My favorite essays in the book include Gay’s musings on competitive Scrabble, her stranded-in-academia dispatches, and her joyous film and television criticism, but given the breadth of topics Roxane Gay can discuss in an entertaining manner, there’s something for everyone in this one. This book is accessible because feminism itself should be accessible – Roxane Gay is as likely to draw inspiration from YA novels, or middle-brow shows about friendship, as she is to introduce concepts from the academic world, and if there’s anyone I trust to bridge the gap between high culture, low culture, and pop culture, it’s the Goddess of Twitter. I used to host a book club dedicated to radical reads, and this was one of the first picks for the club; a week after the book club met, I spied a few of the attendees meeting in the café of the bookstore, and found out that they had bonded so much over discussing  Bad Feminist  that they couldn’t wait for the next meeting of the book club to keep discussing politics and intersectionality, and that, in a nutshell, is the power of Roxane. –Molly Odintz, CrimeReads Associate Editor

Rivka Galchen, Little Labors (2016)

Generally, I find stories about the trials and tribulations of child-having to be of limited appeal—useful, maybe, insofar as they offer validation that other people have also endured the bizarre realities of living with a tiny human, but otherwise liable to drift into the musings of parents thrilled at the simple fact of their own fecundity, as if they were the first ones to figure the process out (or not). But Little Labors is not simply an essay collection about motherhood, perhaps because Galchen initially “didn’t want to write about” her new baby—mostly, she writes, “because I had never been interested in babies, or mothers; in fact, those subjects had seemed perfectly not interesting to me.” Like many new mothers, though, Galchen soon discovered her baby—which she refers to sometimes as “the puma”—to be a preoccupying thought, demanding to be written about. Galchen’s interest isn’t just in her own progeny, but in babies in literature (“Literature has more dogs than babies, and also more abortions”), The Pillow Book , the eleventh-century collection of musings by Sei Shōnagon, and writers who are mothers. There are sections that made me laugh out loud, like when Galchen continually finds herself in an elevator with a neighbor who never fails to remark on the puma’s size. There are also deeper, darker musings, like the realization that the baby means “that it’s not permissible to die. There are days when this does not feel good.” It is a slim collection that I happened to read at the perfect time, and it remains one of my favorites of the decade. –Emily Firetog, Deputy Editor

Charlie Fox, This Young Monster (2017)

On social media as in his writing, British art critic Charlie Fox rejects lucidity for allusion and doesn’t quite answer the Twitter textbox’s persistent question: “What’s happening?” These days, it’s hard to tell.  This Young Monster  (2017), Fox’s first book,was published a few months after Donald Trump’s election, and at one point Fox takes a swipe at a man he judges “direct from a nightmare and just a repulsive fucking goon.” Fox doesn’t linger on politics, though, since most of the monsters he looks at “embody otherness and make it into art, ripping any conventional idea of beauty to shreds and replacing it with something weird and troubling of their own invention.”

If clichés are loathed because they conform to what philosopher Georges Bataille called “the common measure,” then monsters are rebellious non-sequiturs, comedic or horrific derailments from a classical ideal. Perverts in the most literal sense, monsters have gone astray from some “proper” course. The book’s nine chapters, which are about a specific monster or type of monster, are full of callbacks to familiar and lesser-known media. Fox cites visual art, film, songs, and books with the screwy buoyancy of a savant. Take one of his essays, “Spook House,” framed as a stage play with two principal characters, Klaus (“an intoxicated young skinhead vampire”) and Hermione (“a teen sorceress with green skin and jet-black hair” who looks more like The Wicked Witch than her namesake). The chorus is a troupe of trick-or-treaters. Using the filmmaker Cameron Jamie as a starting point, the rest is free association on gothic decadence and Detroit and L.A. as cities of the dead. All the while, Klaus quotes from  Artforum ,  Dazed & Confused , and  Time Out. It’s a technical feat that makes fictionalized dialogue a conveyor belt for cultural criticism.

In Fox’s imagination, David Bowie and the Hydra coexist alongside Peter Pan, Dennis Hopper, and the maenads. Fox’s book reaches for the monster’s mask, not really to peel it off but to feel and smell the rubber schnoz, to know how it’s made before making sure it’s still snugly set. With a stylistic blend of arthouse suavity and B-movie chic,  This Young Monster considers how monsters in culture are made. Aren’t the scariest things made in post-production? Isn’t the creature just duplicity, like a looping choir or a dubbed scream? –Aaron Robertson, Assistant Editor

Elena Passarello, Animals Strike Curious Poses (2017)

Elena Passarello’s collection of essays Animals Strike Curious Poses picks out infamous animals and grants them the voice, narrative, and history they deserve. Not only is a collection like this relevant during the sixth extinction but it is an ambitious historical and anthropological undertaking, which Passarello has tackled with thorough research and a playful tone that rather than compromise her subject, complicates and humanizes it. Passarello’s intention is to investigate the role of animals across the span of human civilization and in doing so, to construct a timeline of humanity as told through people’s interactions with said animals. “Of all the images that make our world, animal images are particularly buried inside us,” Passarello writes in her first essay, to introduce us to the object of the book and also to the oldest of her chosen characters: Yuka, a 39,000-year-old mummified woolly mammoth discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2010. It was an occasion so remarkable and so unfathomable given the span of human civilization that Passarello says of Yuka: “Since language is epically younger than both thought and experience, ‘woolly mammoth’ means, to a human brain, something more like time.” The essay ends with a character placing a hand on a cave drawing of a woolly mammoth, accompanied by a phrase which encapsulates the author’s vision for the book: “And he becomes the mammoth so he can envision the mammoth.” In Passarello’s hands the imagined boundaries between the animal, natural, and human world disintegrate and what emerges is a cohesive if baffling integrated history of life. With the accuracy and tenacity of a journalist and the spirit of a storyteller, Elena Passarello has assembled a modern bestiary worthy of contemplation and awe. –Eleni Theodoropoulos, Editorial Fellow

Esmé Weijun Wang, The Collected Schizophrenias (2019)

Esmé Weijun Wang’s collection of essays is a kaleidoscopic look at mental health and the lives affected by the schizophrenias. Each essay takes on a different aspect of the topic, but you’ll want to read them together for a holistic perspective. Esmé Weijun Wang generously begins The Collected Schizophrenias by acknowledging the stereotype, “Schizophrenia terrifies. It is the archetypal disorder of lunacy.” From there, she walks us through the technical language, breaks down the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ( DSM-5 )’s clinical definition. And then she gets very personal, telling us about how she came to her own diagnosis and the way it’s touched her daily life (her relationships, her ideas about motherhood). Esmé Weijun Wang is uniquely situated to write about this topic. As a former lab researcher at Stanford, she turns a precise, analytical eye to her experience while simultaneously unfolding everything with great patience for her reader. Throughout, she brilliantly dissects the language around mental health. (On saying “a person living with bipolar disorder” instead of using “bipolar” as the sole subject: “…we are not our diseases. We are instead individuals with disorders and malfunctions. Our conditions lie over us like smallpox blankets; we are one thing and the illness is another.”) She pinpoints the ways she arms herself against anticipated reactions to the schizophrenias: high fashion, having attended an Ivy League institution. In a particularly piercing essay, she traces mental illness back through her family tree. She also places her story within more mainstream cultural contexts, calling on groundbreaking exposés about the dangerous of institutionalization and depictions of mental illness in television and film (like the infamous Slender Man case, in which two young girls stab their best friend because an invented Internet figure told them to). At once intimate and far-reaching, The Collected Schizophrenias is an informative and important (and let’s not forget artful) work. I’ve never read a collection quite so beautifully-written and laid-bare as this. –Katie Yee, Book Marks Assistant Editor

Ross Gay, The Book of Delights (2019)

When Ross Gay began writing what would become The Book of Delights, he envisioned it as a project of daily essays, each focused on a moment or point of delight in his day. This plan quickly disintegrated; on day four, he skipped his self-imposed assignment and decided to “in honor and love, delight in blowing it off.” (Clearly, “blowing it off” is a relative term here, as he still produced the book.) Ross Gay is a generous teacher of how to live, and this moment of reveling in self-compassion is one lesson among many in The Book of Delights , which wanders from moments of connection with strangers to a shade of “red I don’t think I actually have words for,” a text from a friend reading “I love you breadfruit,” and “the sun like a guiding hand on my back, saying everything is possible. Everything .”

Gay does not linger on any one subject for long, creating the sense that delight is a product not of extenuating circumstances, but of our attention; his attunement to the possibilities of a single day, and awareness of all the small moments that produce delight, are a model for life amid the warring factions of the attention economy. These small moments range from the physical–hugging a stranger, transplanting fig cuttings–to the spiritual and philosophical, giving the impression of sitting beside Gay in his garden as he thinks out loud in real time. It’s a privilege to listen. –Corinne Segal, Senior Editor

Honorable Mentions

A selection of other books that we seriously considered for both lists—just to be extra about it (and because decisions are hard).

Terry Castle, The Professor and Other Writings (2010) · Joyce Carol Oates, In Rough Country (2010) · Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (2011) · Christopher Hitchens, Arguably (2011) ·  Roberto Bolaño, tr. Natasha Wimmer, Between Parentheses (2011) · Dubravka Ugresic, tr. David Williams, Karaoke Culture (2011) · Tom Bissell, Magic Hours (2012)  · Kevin Young, The Grey Album (2012) · William H. Gass, Life Sentences: Literary Judgments and Accounts (2012) · Mary Ruefle, Madness, Rack, and Honey (2012) · Herta Müller, tr. Geoffrey Mulligan, Cristina and Her Double (2013) · Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams (2014)  · Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable (2014)  · Daphne Merkin, The Fame Lunches (2014)  · Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering (2015) · Wendy Walters, Multiply/Divide (2015) · Colm Tóibín, On Elizabeth Bishop (2015) ·  Renee Gladman, Calamities (2016)  · Jesmyn Ward, ed. The Fire This Time (2016)  · Lindy West, Shrill (2016)  · Mary Oliver, Upstream (2016)  · Emily Witt, Future Sex (2016)  · Olivia Laing, The Lonely City (2016)  · Mark Greif, Against Everything (2016)  · Durga Chew-Bose, Too Much and Not the Mood (2017)  · Sarah Gerard, Sunshine State (2017)  · Jim Harrison, A Really Big Lunch (2017)  · J.M. Coetzee, Late Essays: 2006-2017 (2017) · Melissa Febos, Abandon Me (2017)  · Louise Glück, American Originality (2017)  · Joan Didion, South and West (2017)  · Tom McCarthy, Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish (2017)  · Hanif Abdurraqib, They Can’t Kill Us Until they Kill Us (2017)  · Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power (2017)  ·  Samantha Irby, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life (2017)  · Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (2018)  · Alice Bolin, Dead Girls (2018)  · Marilynne Robinson, What Are We Doing Here? (2018)  · Lorrie Moore, See What Can Be Done (2018)  · Maggie O’Farrell, I Am I Am I Am (2018)  · Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race (2018)  · Rachel Cusk, Coventry (2019)  · Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror (2019)  · Emily Bernard, Black is the Body (2019)  · Toni Morrison, The Source of Self-Regard (2019)  · Margaret Renkl, Late Migrations (2019)  ·  Rachel Munroe, Savage Appetites (2019)  · Robert A. Caro,  Working  (2019) · Arundhati Roy, My Seditious Heart (2019).

Emily Temple

Emily Temple

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Essay on Books for Students and Children

Children's Books

500 Words Essay on Books

Books are referred to as a man’s best friend . They are very beneficial for mankind and have helped it evolve. There is a powerhouse of information and knowledge. Books offer us so many things without asking for anything in return. Books leave a deep impact on us and are responsible for uplifting our mood.

Essay on Books

This is why we suggest children read books from an early age to gain knowledge. The best part about books is that there are various types of books. One can read any type to gain different types of knowledge. Reading must be done by people of all ages. It not only widens our thinking but also enhances our vocabulary.

Different Genres of Books

There are different genres of books available for book readers. Every day, thousands of books are released in the market ranging from travel books to fictional books. We can pick any book of our interest to expand our knowledge and enjoy the reading experience.

Firstly, we have travel books, which tell us about the experience of various travelers. They introduce us to different places in the world without moving from our place. It gives us traveling tips which we can use in the future. Then, we have history books which state historical events. They teach about the eras and how people lived in times gone by.

Furthermore, we have technology books that teach us about technological developments and different equipment. You can also read fashion and lifestyle books to get up to date with the latest trends in the fashion industry.

Most importantly, there are self-help books and motivational books . These books help in the personality development of an individual. They inspire us to do well in life and also bring a positive change in ourselves. Finally, we have fictional books. They are based on the writer’s imagination and help us in enhancing our imagination too. They are very entertaining and keep us intrigued until the very end.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Benefits of Reading Books

There are not one but various advantages of reading books. To begin with, it improves our knowledge on a variety of subjects. Moreover, it makes us wiser. When we learn different things, we learn to deal with them differently too. Similarly, books also keep us entertained. They kill our boredom and give us great company when we are alone.

Furthermore, books help us to recognize our areas of interest. They also determine our career choice to a great extent. Most importantly, books improve our vocabulary . We learn new words from it and that widens our vocabulary. In addition, books boost our creativity. They help us discover a completely new side.

In other words, books make us more fluent in languages. They enhance our writing skills too. Plus, we become more confident after the knowledge of books. They help us in debating, public speaking , quizzes and more.

In short, books give us a newer perspective and gives us a deeper understanding of things. It impacts our personality positively as well. Thus, we see how books provide us with so many benefits. We should encourage everyone to read more books and useless phones.

FAQs on Books

Q.1 State the different genres of books.

A.1 Books come in different genres. Some of them are travel books, history books, technology books, fashion and lifestyle books, self-help books, motivational books, and fictional books.

Q.2 Why are books important?

A.2 Books are of great importance to mankind. They enhance our knowledge and vocabulary. They keep us entertained and also widen our perspective. This, in turn, makes us more confident and wise.

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Essay On Importance Of Reading – 10 Lines, Short And Long Essay For Children

Shraddha Mishra

Key Points To Remember When Writing An Essay On The Importance Of Reading For Lower Primary Classes

10 lines on the importance of reading for kids, a paragraph on the importance of reading for children, essay on the importance of reading in 150 words for kids, long essay on the importance of reading for children, what will your child learn from this essay on the importance of reading.

We all understand the importance of reading books for children. But, did you know that there are numerous benefits of reading to kids or even them reading books on their own? Reading is indeed one of the best hobbies that one can have. Children are encouraged to read because it enhances their vocabulary, helps them understand how to read and write, and make them understand different topics and gain knowledge about the world and everyday life, know about different cultures, traditions and much more. After all, there is a famous quote by Dr Seuss,

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Continue to read the essay on the importance of reading for classes 1, 2 and 3.

Looking for tips on how to write an essay on the importance of reading? You’ve come to the right place. Here are some key points that’ll be helpful while writing on the topic –

  • Make sure the language is simple and child-friendly.
  • Start by explaining the importance of reading, followed by its benefits for children.
  • Make sure to recommend one book for each grade.
  • Discuss how parents can instil the habit of reading in children.
  • Write a conclusion.

Before going ahead with the essay for classes 1 and 2 on the importance of reading, let’s read a few lines on the same.

  • Reading makes you more empathetic and knowledgeable, and stimulates your imagination.
  • Reading is one of the first things children are taught when they go to school.
  • Reading has numerous benefits – it improves concentration, literacy and more.
  • Kids should be introduced to age-friendly books that will encourage them to read.
  • Reading helps a person to develop a positive approach towards life.
  • Reading not only helps one to perform well academically but also helps to gain experience and knowledge.
  • When kids learn about new things from reading, this automatically triggers their curiosity, and they start asking more questions in the quest for knowledge.
  • Parents should develop the habit of reading in children from childhood as it has irreplaceable and countless benefits.
  • Encourage your little ones to read by reading to them while they’re young.
  • E-books are also helpful in encouraging kids to read, but make sure to watch for screen time.

Here is an essay in 100 words on the importance of reading for children. This will help children to work on short and long essays later.

Reading is a very good habit that children must be encouraged to develop this skill in life. Reading not only enlightens you and leads you in the right direction, but is good for your overall well-being. Reading can help children develop language skills and vocabulary, provide excessive knowledge, boost imagination and creativity and more. Reading can also give children a break from boredom. So, if you constantly hear your child saying, “I’m bored,” hand them a book.

Here is a short essay on the importance of reading for kids. This essay for classes 1, 2 and 3 will help them frame their essays.

Parents must encourage kids to read daily. Reading has numerous benefits for children. It provides you with a fortune of knowledge, helps build confidence, improves language and literacy skills, enhances communication skills and more.

The habit of reading in children can play a vital role in their optimistic growth and personality development. Below are a few books that are recommended for children based on their grades:

  • Book for a student of grade 1 – The Boy Who Loved Words
  • Book for a student of grade 2 – If I Built A Car
  • Book for a student of grade 3 – Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Parents can encourage kids to develop a reading habit by reading aloud to them, making reading a part of their routine from a young age, and setting up a mini library at home, where kids can pick up books and read in a quiet and comfortable environment.

Here is a long essay for class 3 on the importance of reading for children.

Reading is indeed one of the most important habits that parents can inculcate in children. Reading for children is important because it is good for their well-being. Therefore, we must encourage our kids to read by making reading a part of their routine. Let’s discuss the importance of reading and ways in which we can develop reading habits in children.

Why Is Reading Important?

Reading books is important for kids as it helps them gain knowledge. According to research, those who have good reading habits show signs of higher intelligence. After all, the more a child reads, the more they learn. The more they learn, the more they understand. The more they understand, the more knowledge they gain. Apart from this, the benefits of reading are:

  • It enhances imagination and creative skills.
  • It develops language and literary skills.
  • It improves self-discipline.
  • It allows thinking skills to become more developed.
  • It builds confidence.
  • It builds a longer attention span and better memory retention.
  • It helps to improve writing skills later in life.

How Can We Develop The Habit Of Reading?

Here is how you can develop the habit of reading in your child:

  • Make sure the books and reading material are available for children to read.
  • Children have a habit of repeating what they see their parents doing. Therefore, take this opportunity and set an example for your children by reading in front of them.
  • Start reading to your child when they are as young as six months old and even before that. This will help your child understand that reading is a part of their routine as they grow up.
  • Set up a special reading space. This may encourage your child to sit in one place and spend time reading a book.
  • Be sure to provide your little one with an age-appropriate book to read. Here are a few recommendations:
  • Book for a student of grade 1 – How High Is The Sky
  • Book for a student of grade 2 – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
  • Book for a student of grade 3 – In Search Of A River
  • Make reading a playful and fun activity by taking turns reading with your child.
  • When picking a book for your child, consider their choice and let them pick a book. When they pick a book by themselves, they will take the initiative to read what they like.

After reading the above essay, you will be able to understand the importance of reading for kids. Apart from this, your child will be able to understand that reading will not only enhance their skills but also that it is one of the most enjoyable experiences one can have.

Essay On Time Management in English for Children Essay On Importance of English Language for Lower Primary Classes 10 Lines, Short and Long Essay On the Importance Of Exercise for Kids

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The Book Review’s Best Books Since 2000

Looking for your next great read? We’ve got 3,228. Explore the best fiction and nonfiction fiction nonfiction Short stories Historical fiction Poetry Thrillers Science fiction Mysteries Experimental fiction Horror Speculative fiction Satire Fantasy Romance Graphic novels Climate fiction Fiction Anthologies History Biographies Memoirs Science Narrative nonfiction Essays Investigative reporting Music Religion Sociology Politics True crime Sports Travel Art Letters Philosophy Food Media Current Events Climate change Nonfiction Anthologies from 2000 – 2023 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 chosen by our editors.

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10 noteworthy books for June

A witty essay collection and thrilling historical fiction await you.

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Great new reads for June include a lavish thriller set in the international art world, historical fiction in Renaissance Italy and a medical mystery memoir from a young mother.

‘I’ve Tried Being Nice: Essays,’ by Ann Leary

Leary had an epiphany while dealing with a neighbor whose off-leash dogs were wreaking havoc. As she delivered a stern warning — “Look, I’ve tried being nice …” — the inveterate people-pleaser suddenly understood one of the benefits of getting older: the power of indifference. In funny and unpretentious essays on topics that include selling a beloved house, interacting with fans of her famous husband, Denis, becoming an empty nester and recovering from alcoholism, Leary shares stories from a lifetime of wanting to be liked. (Marysue Rucci, June 4)

‘Malas,’ by Marcela Fuentes

Set in a border town on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, Fuentes’s lively novel explores the intergenerational connection between two strong women. Lulu Muñoz is trying to keep her punk rock band a secret from her substance-abusing father while avoiding thoughts of her garish upcoming quinceañera celebration. When the enigmatic Pilar makes a surprise appearance at a funeral, she and Lulu form a friendship that leads to unexpected discoveries. (Viking, June 4)

‘Hell Gate Bridge: A Memoir of Motherhood, Madness, and Hope,’ by Barrie Miskin

Miskin’s searing memoir about her experience with a mysterious mental illness during and after her pregnancy provides a haunting window into the state of health care in the United States. Having weaned herself from antidepressants as a precaution before pregnancy, Miskin began an alarming descent into delusions and suicidal ideation which continued after her baby was born. A proper diagnosis of a rare and incurable disorder began her journey away from darkness, allowing her to fully experience being a wife, teacher and mother. (Woodhall Press, June 4)

‘Service,’ by Sarah Gilmartin

When Daniel, one of Dublin’s top chefs, faces accusations of sexual assault, Hannah’s mind returns to the summer she spent waitressing at his high-end restaurant — the excitement of the glamorous dining room, the pressures of the kitchen and the wild parties after hours, where something sinister happened that changed her life. Meanwhile, Daniel’s wife, Julie, is hiding from the paparazzi and trying to understand the allegations against the man she loves. In alternating chapters, Gilmartin gives voice to Daniel, Hannah and Julie, perceptively delving into issues of silence, complicity and the aftermath of violence. (Pushkin Press, June 4)

‘The Throne,’ by Franco Bernini, translated by Oonagh Stransky

The first in a planned trilogy, Bernini’s engrossing historical novel follows Machiavelli’s trajectory through the corridors of power in 16th-century Italy. Sent by the Florentine Republic to spy on the plotting Cesare Borgia, Machiavelli shrewdly accepts a proposal to chronicle Borgia’s life story. As the relationship between the biographer and his subject evolves, each man relies on the other to achieve his political ambitions, yet only one will succeed. (Europa, June 11)

‘The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby,’ by Ellery Lloyd

Lloyd’s engaging historical mystery moves swiftly between pre-World War II Parisian art studios, the elite academic corridors of early 1990s Cambridge University and present-day Dubai, where a controversial masterpiece by British heiress and surrealist artist Juliette Willoughby appears on display after it was presumed lost in the fire that claimed her life. Art history scholars had been suspicious about the truth behind the painting’s loss, and the continuing investigation — with possible ties to a murder — uncovers scandalous secrets that someone might go to great lengths to keep quiet. (Harper, June 11)

‘Moonbound,’ by Robin Sloan

The author of “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” returns with a far-flung sci-fi adventure that begins 11,000 years in the future, when animals can talk and genetic manipulators called wizards rule. After 12-year-old Ariel fails to comply with a wizard’s directive to remove a sword from a stone, he is forced to flee the only place he has ever known in the company of a sentient ancient artifact whose purpose is to contain all the knowledge of human history. Ariel and his companion set out on a quest to save his home from the vindictive wizard, encountering danger and finding new friendships along the way. (MCD, June 11)

‘God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer,’ by Joseph Earl Thomas

Joseph Thomas — not the author but the novel’s similarly-named protagonist — is many things: an Iraq Army veteran; a single father; an emergency room technician at a North Philadelphia hospital; an Ivy-league student of medicine; and a Black man trying to find his place in a country that often judges him unfairly. Struggling to maintain balance between the incessant obligations of work, school and fatherhood, his everyday encounters are a continuous reminder of the difficulties he has faced while trying to build a life for himself. Joseph’s travails, told in a forceful stream of consciousness, expose the daily rhythms, obstacles and joys of one man’s life. (Grand Central, June 18)

‘Hombrecito,’ by Santiago Jose Sanchez

Sanchez’s powerful first novel follows a young boy from Colombia to the United States and back again as he struggles with abandonment issues, acclimating to a new homeland and grappling with his own queer sexual awakening. With a “father-shaped hole” in his heart, he pushes away from his single mother in a raucous attempt to define his own life. But accompanying her back to Colombia as an adult allows him to reconsider the childhood images he had of his parents — and perhaps find grace and acceptance. (Riverhead, June 25)

‘Husbands and Lovers,’ by Beatriz Williams

Single mother Mallory Dunne has just sent her 10-year-old son, Sam, off to summer camp when she gets an alarming call — her son has consumed a poisonous death cap mushroom. With Sam needing a new kidney that she can’t provide, Mallory’s only options are to contact Sam’s father, whom she hasn’t seen in more than a decade, or to locate her mother’s recently discovered birth family. In another timeline, Hannah Ainsworth, a traumatized World War II survivor married to a British diplomat in 1950s Egypt, finds comfort in the arms of the manager of one of the grandest hotels in Cairo, reawakening a part of her she thought was lost. The experiences of these women as mothers in two different times and places link them together in surprising ways. (Ballantine, June 25)

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Denis Leary’s first name. The article has been corrected.

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The Best Books of 2024 So Far

essay book reading

These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

W hat does it mean to really belong? What happens when we can no longer recognize where we came from? And what do we owe to the places that raised us? These questions and more drive the best books of the year so far, a crop of novels, memoirs, and essay collections that tackle love, loss, friendship, and more. From Lydia Millet’s exploration of our collapsing planet to Kaveh Akbar’s portrait of an orphaned son looking for answers about his family’s history, these narratives interrogate deep feelings about the world and how to find a place in it.

Here, the best books of the year so far. 

There's Always This Year, Hanif Abdurraqib

essay book reading

In Hanif Abdurraqib’s There’s Always Next Year: On Basketball and Ascension , the Ohio-native channels his musings on life through the sport and the state that have shaped him. Structured in quarters with timestamps and timeouts like a basketball game, the essay collection moves through reflections on his father’s jump shot, a dissection of the legend of LeBron James , and more. Abdurraqib, a poet, cultural critic, and National Book Award finalist, offers a complex rumination on home, belonging, and mortality. — Cady Lang

Buy Now : There's Always This Year on Bookshop | Amazon

Martyr! , Kaveh Akbar

essay book reading

The protagonist of poet Kaveh Akbar’s devastating debut novel is grappling with a death that shaped him from an early age. When he was just a baby, Cyrus Shams lost his mother to a plane crash over the Persian Gulf. He then moved from Tehran to the U.S. with his father, who worked in the Midwest as a farmer. Now a college graduate and freshly sober, Cyrus finds himself drawn to an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, where a painter with terminal cancer is spending her remaining days on display. Martyr! explores the connection between these two characters, culminating in a decades-long examination of addiction, art, and belonging. — Annabel Gutterman

Buy Now : Martyr! on Bookshop | Amazon

Beautyland , Marie-Helene Bertino

essay book reading

Much like a certain lord and savior, the heroine of Marie-Helene Bertino’s strange, engrossing third novel is at once fully human and entirely otherworldly. Born in 1970s Philadelphia and raised by a penniless single mother, Adina Giorno also happens to be a space alien who communicates via fax with extraterrestrial overlords who’ve sent her to report on earth’s society. Beautyland tells the bittersweet story of her similarly contradictory life, a regular existence punctuated by flashes of the extraordinary. Underlying these paradoxes is the poetic observation that there’s nothing more human than the experience of gazing out at a planet full of incomprehensible people who look just like you and deciding that you must be from outer space. —Judy Berman

Buy Now : Beautyland on Bookshop | Amazon

James , Percival Everett

essay book reading

In James, Percival Everett finds new insight in retelling Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from a different point of view—that of Jim, who is enslaved by one of Huck’s guardians. Everett follows the original’s episodic adventures on the Mississippi river, but sticks with Jim as he escapes the plantation to find his wife and child. In reimagining the story through Jim, the author adds to it, imparting depth through keen observation and sharp humor as he exploits the familiar tale to skewer American racism and social expectations. The reader gets the inside view of James in his full, varied self, and how he hides his erudition and humanity to play an amenable caricature for the white people around him. With Everett’s deft writing, this playful, pointed novel is a commanding and captivating read. — Merrill Fabry

Buy Now : James on Bookshop | Amazon

Anita de Monte Laughs Last , Xochitl Gonzalez

essay book reading

It’s 1985 when Anita de Monte—the new jewel of the art world—falls out of a window and dies after a fight with her husband, the minimalist sculptor Jack Martin. De Monte’s legacy is shrouded and forgotten by time until Raquel Toro, a third-year art history student at Brown University, rediscovers her story in 1998 and goes on her own journey of navigating class, race, and misogyny in creative spaces. Inspired by real-life Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta’s untimely death and her relationship with artist Carl Andre, author Xochitl Gonzalez’s latest novel delivers a hilarious, vivid, and blistering account of how power manifests not only in art but also in history—and who ultimately gets the last word. —Rachel Sonis

Buy Now : Anita de Monte Laughs Last on Bookshop | Amazon

Coming Home , Brittney Griner

essay book reading

Even those who closely followed the news of American basketball star Brittney Griner’s unlawful detainment in Russia in 2022 will find new insights in her story. In Coming Home , a searing memoir co-written with Michelle Burford, Griner takes readers behind the scenes to trace her steps from the airport security screening that resulted in her arrest on drug charges, to her first days in jail and on trial, to her transfer to a remote prison, and finally to her release in a prisoner swap. Griner’s voice jumps off the page as she turns an international news story into an intimate, moving tale of perseverance. — Lucy Feldman

Read TIME's excerpt from Brittney Griner’s Coming Home

Buy Now : Coming Home on Bookshop | Amazon

Splinters , Leslie Jamison

essay book reading

In her bruising memoir, Leslie Jamison traces the cracks in her marriage, which fell apart shortly after she gave birth to her daughter. Splinters follows the author as she navigates the COVID-19 shutdown while unexpectedly raising a child as a single mother. She also chronicles the ennui of teaching through a computer screen—and dating through one, too—in frank prose, imbuing passages with startling honesty and lush turns of phrase. — Meg Zukin

Buy Now : Splinters on Bookshop | Amazon

Real Americans , Rachel Khong

essay book reading

Rachel Khong broke out in 2017 with her debut novel Goodbye, Vitamin , which told the story of a woman caring for a parent after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In Real Americans , she builds on her interest in the family story, this time offering a multigenerational tale that traces the lives of a mother, a daughter, and a grandson from Cultural Revolution-era China to near-future San Francisco. Khong never lets her reader settle too comfortably in any one character’s narrative, gently calling for deeper curiosity and compassion for the people in our lives, who, she posits, we may never fully understand. — L . F.

Read TIME’s profile of Rachel Khong

Buy Now : Real Americans on Bookshop | Amazon

The Book of Love , Kelly Link

essay book reading

When The Book of Love begins, teenagers Laura, Daniel, and Mo have just been resurrected from the dead. Though it’s news to them, the trio mysteriously disappeared almost a year ago, and they now have the opportunity to return to their lives, which are inextricably changed. But the chance to reverse their bad fortune is tricky—and made even more complicated by their burgeoning supernatural capabilities. Bizarre in the best way, Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link’s debut novel offers a dizzying narrative about grief, love, and possibility as the group attempts to adjust to their new normal. — A.G.

Buy Now : The Book of Love on Bookshop | Amazon

We Loved It All , Lydia Millet

essay book reading

Lydia Millet’s award-winning fiction is rooted in her deep admiration of nature—and she dissects that passion in her first memoir, We Loved It All . In her strikingly clear voice, Millet moves between moments in her own life and those of the nonhumans that surround us all. She’s as honest in her reflections on love, motherhood, and ambition as she is in capturing the terrifying realities of climate change. Her novel is a love letter to the earth and all who inhabit it, punctuated by sharp and lyrical prose. — A.G.

Buy Now : We Loved It All on Bookshop | Amazon

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Write to Lucy Feldman at [email protected] , Annabel Gutterman at [email protected] and Cady Lang at [email protected]

A researcher fired by OpenAI published a 165-page essay on what to expect from AI in the next decade. We asked GPT-4 to summarize it.

  • Fired researcher Leopold Aschenbrenner published a 165-page essay on the future of AI.
  • Aschenbrenner's treatise discusses rapid AI progress, security implications, and societal impact.
  • Here's what GPT-4 thinks about Aschenbrenner's predictions.

Insider Today

Over the past few months, several employees have left OpenAI , citing concerns about the company's commitment to safety.

Besides making pithy exit announcements on X, they haven't said much about why they're worried about OpenAI's approach to development — or the future of AI.

That is, until earlier this week, when Leopold Aschenbrenner, a researcher fired from OpenAI in April, published his thoughts on the AI revolution in an epic 165-page treatise.

Aschenbrenner worked on OpenAI's super alignment team — which was tasked with mitigated AI risks. Aschenbrenner said OpenAI fired him for leaking information about the company's readiness for artificial general intelligence .

For his part, Aschenbrenner said the information he shared was "totally normal" and that OpenAI may have just been looking for a reason to fire him. He was one of several employees who refused to sign a letter calling for CEO Sam Altman's return after the board briefly ousted Altman last year.

Aschenbrenner's essay doesn't appear to include sensitive details about OpenAI. Instead, as Aschenbrenner writes on the dedication page, it's based on "publicly available information, my own ideas, general field knowledge, or SF gossip."

Business Insider uploaded the tract to OpenAI's GPT-4 model . We asked it to summarize the work and relay the most significant takeaways. We also gently requested that the bot keep its summary clear and concise.

Here's ChatGPT's 57-word summary of Aschenbrenner's essay

ChatGPT distilled the essay into 57 words that outlined Aschenbrenner's views on the evolution of AI.

"Leopold Aschenbrenner's essay discusses the transformative potential of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and superintelligence, and forecasts significant advancements in AI technology in the near future. Aschenbrenner, formerly associated with OpenAI, outlines how the progression from current AI models like GPT-4 to AGI could occur much faster than anticipated, based on trends in computational power and algorithmic efficiency."

ChatGPT then offered four key takeaways from Aschenbrenner's essay

Rapid Progress in AI

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"Aschenbrenner argues that AI development is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. He predicts that by 2027, AI models could reach the capabilities of human AI researchers and engineers, potentially leading to an intelligence explosion where AI surpasses human intelligence."

Economic and Security Implications

"The essay highlights the immense economic and security implications of these advancements. Aschenbrenner points out that trillions of dollars are being invested into developing the infrastructure needed to support these AI systems, such as GPUs, data centers, and power generation. He also emphasizes the critical need for securing these technologies to prevent misuse, particularly by state actors like the CCP."

Technical and Ethical Challenges

"Technical and Ethical Challenges: The essay discusses the significant challenges in controlling AI systems smarter than humans, referring to this as the "superalignment" problem. Managing this will be crucial to prevent catastrophic outcomes."

Predictions and Societal Impact

"Aschenbrenner suggests that few people truly understand the scale of change that AI is about to bring. He discusses the potential for AI to reshape industries, enhance national security, and pose new ethical and governance challenges."

There's more.

As Aschenbrenner wrote, there are probably only a few hundred people, most of them in AI labs in San Francisco, who have "situational awareness" about the industry. These people will likely have the best insight into how AI will reshape the years ahead.

Aschenbrenner, as one of them, seems to believe AI will assume a critical role in national security.

We followed up our original prompt by asking ChatGPT to summarize the predictions Aschenbrenner made in his essay.

Here's how ChatGPT broke it down.

  • AGI by 2027: "Aschenbrenner predicts that artificial general intelligence (AGI) is strikingly plausible by 2027, highlighting the rapid progress from GPT-2 to GPT-4, which saw AI models advancing from preschool-level to smart high-schooler abilities in just four years. He expects a similar leap in the next few years based on consistent improvements in compute and algorithmic efficiency."
  • Superintelligence Following AGI: "Post-AGI, the author anticipates an "intelligence explosion," where AI rapidly advances from human-level to superhuman capabilities. This transition is expected to be fueled by AI's ability to automate and accelerate its own research and development."
  • Trillion-Dollar AI Clusters: "Economically, Aschenbrenner suggests that the AI sector will see an increase in investment into trillion-dollar compute clusters as corporations and governments prepare for the implications of AGI and superintelligence."
  • National and Global Security Dynamics: "There are predictions about intense national security measures being enacted to manage and control AI developments. The competition, particularly with the Chinese government, could intensify, possibly leading to an 'all-out war' if not managed properly."
  • Superalignment Challenges: "One of the most critical predictions is the struggle with 'superalignment' — the challenge of keeping superintelligent AI aligned with human values and interests. This problem is anticipated to be one of the central hurdles as AI reaches and surpasses human intelligence levels."
  • Societal and Economic Transformations: "Aschenbrenner expects AI to have a profound impact on society and the economy, potentially leading to a restructuring of industries and the job market due to AI's capability to perform tasks currently managed by humans."
  • The Project Involvement by the US Government: "Predictions include the US government becoming significantly involved in AI development by around 2027-2028 through a dedicated AGI project, likely due to the strategic importance of AI technology."
  • Technological Mobilization: "He anticipates a mobilization of technological and industrial resources similar to historical wartime efforts, focusing on AI and its supporting infrastructure as a priority for national policy."

Here's the full prompt we used:

Role: Act as an editor. Task: Read the attached essay about former OpenAI researcher Leopold Aschenbrenner. Instructions: Summarize the essay, highlighting the most significant takeaways. Focus on key contributions, research areas, and any notable impacts on the field. Ensure the summary is concise yet comprehensive, providing a clear understanding of Aschenbrenner's work and influence.

Watch: What is ChatGPT, and should we be afraid of AI chatbots?

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  1. The Importance Of Reading Books Free Essay Example

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    1. Empathy towards others 2. Acquisition of qualities like kindness, courtesy. 500+ Words Essay on Importance of Reading is provided here to help students learn how to write an effective essay on this topic. They must go through this essay in-depth and then try to write their own essay.

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    Reading Books essay topics Prompts. Imagine you are a character from your favorite book. Write a letter to the author expressing your thoughts and feelings about the story and its impact on your life. Choose a book that you believe should be included in the school curriculum. Write an essay arguing for its inclusion, providing evidence to ...

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