Tuesday, January 9, 2024


Intern Spotlight: You don’t hate reading; you haven’t found the right book

80% of teenagers do not read for pleasure, according to the American Psychological Association. Though many believe the rise of social media as a pastime to be a culprit, there is another factor: the pressure schools place on students to view books as simply a means to an end, along with a lack of choice of what books can be read. If you're struggling to find stories relevant to you, the Novelly library is a perfect place to find your next read.

By Rishi Chava

Rishi Chava was a Summer 2022 Intern at Novelly. Rishi Chava has experience with leadership as a committee chair in the Fort Bend ISD Global Issues Summit and in mentoring and leadership in Boy Scouts of America. He is also involved with community volunteering in libraries, urban gardens, temples, and more. He is dedicated to helping those around him find and achieve their personal goals. Below is one of Rishi’s best blog posts.

You don’t hate reading. You haven’t found the right book.

Have you ever heard someone complain about how this generation doesn’t read anymore? How it’s because we’re always on our phones, on social media, wasting our time, and being lazier than those before us?

To make this conclusion is to ignore absolutely everything else about our lives, especially the place we spend the most time: Schools. It ignores how schools completely spoil the experience of reading.

Virtually anyone who attended an American English class remembers the same small selection of classic books, like “The Great Gatsby’, ‘Romeo and Juliet, ‘‘The Catcher in the Rye’, ‘1984’, and a few others. Though these books are deeply revered for good reason, schools tend to force students to meticulously overanalyze and dissect them in narrow, formulaic ways and use them as mere topics on which to base test questions. Thus, in a classroom, you can’t read a book and enjoy it, interpret it the way you want to, or connect it with your experiences and understandings of the world.

A book is a box. Everyone will see a different thing inside the same box. But in the classroom, there is a correct thing to see, and there is an incorrect thing to see. And if you happen to see the incorrect thing, it’s your fault, because you’ve done something very wrong.

Another issue with how classrooms introduce reading to teenagers is the lack of book choice, as with movies, music, and TV shows, not everyone enjoys every book. But on the contrary, almost anyone can enjoy the right book. The majority of people who believe they don’t or can’t enjoy reading have likely been reading the wrong books for them, or have been forced to read the wrong books for them.

A 2019 study, published in the journal *Psychology of Popular Media Culture* found that a third of all teenagers do not read books for pleasure whatsoever. But considering what the experience of reading in a classroom is like, this statistic begins to make a lot more sense.

This is what makes the Novelly library different from any other catalog of books; It is designed to help you find something  you can enjoy reading. The stories center around issues relevant to specifically teenagers, such as mental health, social issues, and personal identity. For example, there are many pieces on how COVID has affected one’s mental health, pieces on the experience of being from a minority group, being LGBTQ+,  and more. No matter who you are, there is something in the library that you can relate to and understand. In addition, all the stories are free for anyone to read, and Novelly features a forum on which you can discuss the stories in the library.

If you have had trouble finding the right book to read, or you believe you cannot enjoy books, the Novelly library may very well change your entire attitude towards reading.

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