The Elysian Muse



My Love For Written WOrds

Written by Mehek Azra


How do you survive reality? That is a question that had me pondering for years. Every
individual has their own coping mechanism. Mine is reading. And that may sound strange but I
would not survive in a world with no books. Ever since I could read, I did. Although I wasn’t
much of a reader when I was younger. I mostly read the books that were required for my class.
My first ever book series that I read was the Harry Potter series, which is why it will always
have a special place in my heart. But it’s not just that. The Harry Potter series had introduced
me to the fantasy world. It showed me a way to shift to another reality. I can never stop
recommending it to others, even if fantasy isn’t their favorite genre. (Which is a sure sign of
madness if you ask me)

I don’t read classics or any educational books unless I’m required to. I mostly read fantasy.
Fantasy has a lot of world building in it and I want to read books that are less likely connected
to the real world. So that is an assumption people make about me when they find out that I’m a
reader: I am a nerd and a gifted student. That is a misconception and a truly great one.
Encountering with someone who has their face buried in a book may give you the wrong
impression sometimes. I read for fun, not necessarily for knowledge. The knowledge I get is a
bonus. If I don’t enjoy reading a book, I will most likely put it down because there are many
other books that will pique my interest.

I love reading. But I never exactly understood why before. Everyone reads for a reason; whether
it be for school or for personal enjoyment. If you are a reader, ask yourself what is it that you
love about reading and why? Here are a few reasons that makes reading fun:

1. It is a form of escapism
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are”- Mason Cooley
When my life gets too overwhelming and insolvable, I just open a book. I let the words
consume me and make me forget about reality. I love the feeling that I get when I’m so lost in a
fictional world that nothing outside of it matters or makes any sense. It leaves my head in the
clouds. Avoiding conflict and life problems may not be the best idea but sometimes you need to
divert your mind for some temporary peace of mind. Books become my therapy, my
consolation. When I read, I feel at home.

2. Problem solving skills
“The trouble with fiction is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense”-

Reading fantasy broadens my imagination. It increased my capacity of showing empathy to
others. I can easily put myself in others shoes to try to understand their point of view. I became
more creative for problem solving in real life. Think about it. Suppose you finish reading a
murder/mystery books, you are going to grasp some concept related to conspiracy. It will then

allow you to apply that in real life and maybe even solve a case. For me, it had mostly to do
with how I perceive things around me. I think about all the possible solutions while I’m faced
with a problem. And I am open to different ideas and I always have a hope that anything is

3. Discovering yourself
“Always keep a book in case of an emergency; like a social gathering”- Unknown
Have you ever read a book with a story that completely devoured you? Or a book that changed
your perspective and mindset? I definitely have. In a fiction/fantasy book, we get introduced to
a lot of diverse characters. Each character has different goals in life, an interesting life story and
distinct personality. You may not be able to resonate with them all but sometimes you get to
learn new things about yourself. I go for books with characters who are wholly different from
me but sometimes I find myself discovering new passions and hobbies after reading about a
character that I loved.

4. Increases vocabulary
“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”- Samuel Johnson
As mentioned earlier, the knowledge I get from reading is truly a bonus. However, reading has
improved my writing skills by a lot. Not only can I write better, but I can speak more fluently
than I did before. Like reading, writing is also one of my hobbies. Every author has a different
writing style. Some are very descriptive, some are poetic and some are more like freestyle. After
reading a lot of books, I realized what kind of writing I enjoy reading the most. And that is
poetic. I like it when authors use a lot of metaphors and other figurative language. I also enjoy
descriptive ones. But when it comes to writing, I write mostly nonfiction prose, which is

5. Fictional characters become my consolation
“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if
you have lost a friend.”- Paul Sweeney

As a person who has little to no friends, I can easily confide in fictional characters. They may be
fictional but they feel real to me. Whenever I finish reading a book and put it down, I go
through the “mourning” phrase. Occasionally, our brain can’t tell the difference between real
and fictional people because we get so attached to them and we refuse to believe that they are
imaginary. That would explain why we sometimes get the book “hangover”. We struggle to pick
up another book and start reading it because our mind is still lingering in the book we just
finished. The feeling of having one or more comfort characters is phenomenal. Nonetheless, the
moment I realize that my love for them is trapped between pages and won’t be real, it will
honestly put me in a reading slump; aka book hangover.

Reading decreases stress levels and can overall make a person happy. It’s not just a lot of words
clustered on a piece of paper. You will enter a whole different world. You can start dreaming
again and be more compassionate. If you say you're not a reader, you just haven't found the right
book yet.



Mehek Azra is 15 years old and is from New York. She is currently a sophomore in high school.