“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” – Logan Pearsall Smith
What’s up guys?
I love reading. Anyone who knows me at all will know this. I have been known to finish a book the same day that I bought it. Most recently this was Me before You, which I had finished reading within 8 hours of buying it. Bear in mind that in this 8 hours, I also coached an hour of gymnastics and ate dinner, so I hope you’re slightly impressed. However, during a conversation with a friend, I’ve realised that the thing I love to do probably most in the world has actually ruined my life.
Let me explain. I read a wide range of books, but I particularly enjoy Young Adult Fantasy fiction. I read (and not so secretly loved) Twilight, all The Sookie Stackhouse novels, The House of Night series and so many more vampire novels. I devoured all of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter series, and have read quite a few fallen angel series like Hush Hush and Fallen. And whilst I absolutely loved all of these books, there’s just one problem. Normal human boys/men pale in comparison to the male protagonists of these stories. I don’t want to offend all the boys that I know, but they just cannot compare to Will Herondale, Patch, James Stark and so many other characters that I could name. Don’t get me wrong, I know that these characters are works of fiction. They don’t exist, CAN’T exist, as many of them are mystical or supernatural characters. (Although, I do still have a wild enough imagination to hope that there is a supernatural world hiding just out of sight. After all, if Donald Trump can become the president of the US, surely anything is possible right?) But, after reading about a multitude of mysterious and tortured beautiful men, who are mean to everyone except the female protagonist, real boys just aren’t exciting. I know this might seem anti-feminist, but doesn’t every girl dream of meeting a bad boy, that loves her enough to let down his protective walls and change her ways? I know I do, even though half of the time I like to tell myself that I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need no man. Seriously, who doesn’t see Damon Salvatore’s love for Elena and secretly (or not so secretly) wish they had their very own slightly psychotic but totally romantic vampire boyfriend?
And it’s not just about these imperfect but perfect boys. I am an ex-SHSG girl after all – we had feminism, and sometimes a hint of misandry, shoved down our throats every assembly. (I am so grateful for this, as it means that its never even crossed my mind that I can’t do certain things just because I’m a girl. Of course I can do anything a man can do, and I can probably do it better.) But reading has conditioned me to expect more from life than what it offers. I know that some people will say that life can be hard, and it can be boring but you just have to accept it. But I can’t. Fiction has allowed me to live multiple lives, experience a whole range of things that I would never get to in reality. And whilst I appreciate that I got to share these experiences not only with these characters but also everyone else who read the same stories, I can’t help but wish my life was a bit more like the lives that I’ve read about in books. I see Clary Fairchild saving the world, whilst I’m sat at home in my pyjamas reading about her. I read about Daenerys Targaryen being a total badass, and whilst I don’t wish I was in Westeros (I enjoy actually being alive too much), I wish that I had at least a bit more excitement in my life.
The thing is though, even whilst I say that reading has ruined reality for me, I know deep down that it’s done the opposite. Reading has taught me that I don’t have to settle, that I can expect more from life than what I’ve been given. It’s shown me that it’s not enough to sit around reading books and wishing my life was more exciting. I have to go out into the world and change my own life. And while this may seem daunting I know that fiction has to follow certain rules, whereas in real life there are no limits to what I can achieve.
So in a way reading has both ruined my life and improved it. I dread to think about how boring my life would be if I hadn’t read all those books that are driving me to make something of myself. One day I hope that I find the happy ending that I’ve read about so many times. And it wouldn’t hurt if I could find my very own dark and mysterious boyfriend along the way.
Until next time,