Post-world Book Day: Why You Need To Read Books

Ciaran Kirk

Last Wednesday marked World Book Day 2023, but sadly this may have gone under the radar for  many. In schools across the country book vouchers were handed out as usual, but without these reminders, college students may have missed the day altogether. If you missed it and want to try a new book to get in the spirit of things, then here’s some recommendations to get you hooked. 

But first, why should you be reading? With distractions like social media, YouTube, Netflix and TV, many people prefer to relax in different ways. However, a 2019 article by Healthline stated that reading improves vocabulary, reduces stress, and slows age-related decline of brain function. Clearly, reading’s effects on mental health can be fantastic. 

Must-read books

If you want something that will hook you right away, try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Christopher, a 15 year old boy with autism, finds his neighbour’s dog murdered and decides to investigate. The trail of clues leads him to make huge discoveries about his own life as well as the case. However, despite the mystery elements of the novel, the relationship between Christopher and his widowed dad is what really makes this book a must-read.

Those looking to tick a classic off their list should definitely read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Set in the 1930s in Maycomb, Alabama, it dealt with racism in the Deep South in the 20th century, while also focusing on the realistic and wholesome family dynamic of the Finch family. Jem and ‘Scout’ are mischievous but endearing kids and they’re guided by Atticus, their father, and Calpurnia, the cook. The trial that the book centres on giving readers an insight into the discrimination of the time period and has since become iconic.

Disappearing into a fictional world is one of the joys of reading, as seen by the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise. But with author JK Rowling has caused a lot of controversy lately, those who want a similarly gripping fantasy experience without the baggage will find “Northern Lights” by Phillip Pullman a perfect choice. The first of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy, in this world, people have an animal companion or ‘dæmon’ who form part of the person’s soul. 12 year old Lyra and her dæmon leave school to go to the Arctic, after reports of child kidnappings at home. In Svalbard, ruled by talking polar bears, the mystery of the disappearances is revealed. Ms Coulter, Lyra’s mother figure is a particularly fascinating character in this masterpiece. Although this is a young adult’s book, it’s complicated and full of beautifully written passages.

Finally, for anyone who loves sports, “Four Kings” by renowned journalist George Kimball is a must-read. Focusing on the intertwined careers of boxers “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran. Kimball brings to life the fights of “the last great era of boxing.” Their journeys to superstardom are marked by tales of the ridiculous and the sublime, all of which are chronicled by the author with his customary dry wit. Kimball’s personal connection with the late Hagler helps paint a striking portrait of a true boxing legend.

Hopefully one of these books interests you, but if not, there’s so many amazing stories out there that almost any book can be a good place to start. With the benefits and enjoyment that reading can bring, it’s not important what you read, but that you read something. A few pages of whatever interests you every day is a great habit to get into, especially around World Book Day. 

Ciran Kirk

Photo by Gülfer ERGİN on Unsplash