I know it basically goes without saying that everyone in the bookish community is thankful for books. A lot of us had some sort of thankfulness post around Thanksgiving, talking about how books have influenced our lives for the better by giving us different lives to live and teaching us about the world around us.
This post is slightly different.
I got my December SAT scores today, and well, I’m very happy with them. I hadn’t really prepped, and this was the first time taking the SAT, and while actually taking the test was one of the most tiring experiences of my life, I walked out feeling better than I expected. After seeing my score, I know that I have books to thank.
Without reading, I am certain that the SAT would have been brutal for me. But I’ve been reading since elementary school, and reading a lot. Every author I’ve ever read has exposed me to a slightly different approach to the English language; they’ve taught me different turns of phrases and different ways to use punctuation. Every book I’ve ever read has helped me understand the English language more than I did before I read it.
Of course, I’ve been taught grammar in school, but there is a difference between knowing the rules on paper and being able to instantly know which way a sentence should be written. When I was taking the SAT, I wasn’t thinking about the grammar lessons I had in elementary school, I was trying to decide which sentence felt like something I’d read before. I used one of my recent reads in my essay.
The books I had read were a safety net, keeping me from freaking out. I could draw on examples from all of them when I needed to, and that was something that I have to thank authors for.
Just to be clear, I know that I started off at an advantage for the English language sections of the SAT. I’ve grown up in a household that doesn’t just speak English, they use intentionally complicated words. That sucked (a bit) when I was younger, but it also drove me to figure out wtf the words meant. I’ve been encouraged to read; I’ve never been told that a book was too old for me or too hard for me to try. I know that most of my peers can’t say the same things, so I should also say thank you to the people who made my reading possible: my family.
I think that people usually look to the emotional and psychological benefits of books when they reflect on how reading has affected their lives. I just wanted to take a few minutes and highlight the strictly educational value of books as well, because I’m feeling really thankful right now.