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This essay was written for the narrative unit in a junior-year english class in high school and has been revised for use as a college application essay.
AP English 11, Period 9
27 March 2014
The Value of Thoughts Whilst Reading
Just shut off the light and close your eyes. It’s already late enough. I smirk at the nonsensical nature of my thoughts. Adjusting my position on the bed, I focus on the text of the book in my tired hands. By the dim light of the room, the pages look old and different. They stand apart from the consistency of everything else in the room. They seem less like words printed on paper and more like the thoughts and ideas of the author, floating in my mind, waiting for me to return to them. I try yet again to focus on the lines and the flow of the story, letting all else fade into the warmth of the heater, the lamp, and the pillows propped up behind me.
This is my second time reading this book, though it seems like the first. It has been so long since I last read it, but my vivid memory reminds me that I am in the same spot in my room as before, and that it is around the same time of night.
As I read, I come across a passage in which the author colloquially comments on having tricked me into reading late into the night. Among my thoughts I hear Sanderson commenting, “By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer’s greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books.”
I chuckle at this, knowing that I have been watching the clock all night, allowing myself to stay up late, until I realize with chagrin that what I thought was a pathetic attempt at a simple trick had completely hoodwinked me. I had thought the very same thing last time I read this book, scoffing at the author’s sly but seemingly feeble attempt to ensnare me.
Brandon Sanderson, the author of the children’s book in my hands, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, had duped me into reading almost straight through his book, until it was simply too late to quit reading. I grin at my own foolishness and readjust my elbow on the bed, turning to lie on my side, and shifting the pages closer to the light. As I do so, one of my earphones falls out. I ignore this and continue to read.
While the pages in my left hand grow thicker, and those in my right hand grow thinner, my focus begins to fade in and out again. My left arm is getting numb, and my neck is sore from what originally seemed a comfortable position. I’m aware of the clock ticking, again, and I can hear the creak of the springs in my mattress. I realize that the soothing classical music of my iPod has long since ceased, remembering when the first earphone fell out. The second must have fallen out in the same manner and with the same reaction. The silence is unnerving and brings feelings of anticipation. I much prefer to listen to classical or instrumental while I read; rather than the bitter sound of time ticking away, second by second, minute by minute. I notice that the stack of pages in my right hand is rapidly decreasing as I shift uncomfortably amongst the pillows. Unable to regain my halcyon position, I move to my makeshift reading chair, my back settling into the cushion as my legs rest atop a couple yielding pillows.
Nearing the end of the book, I am assaulted by dozens of cliffhangers, a device Sanderson uses about as often as I adjust myself in the chair. The warmth of the chair soon becomes stifling, so I return to the cool sheets and soft mounds of pillows, hoping to stay comfortable there. All of a sudden, I realize that not only have I finished the book (which ended with a cliffhanger), but that I have left the heater on all this time. But it doesn’t matter; I am finally done, and at last I can go to bed.
Though I remember very little of how the night was spent, I do remember that it was an experience I would not trade for the world. It was the kind of experience that helps define people, one that makes them who they are. While I was reading, I wasn’t in my bed, or in my chair. I wasn’t even in my room. I was far away, in a different world. It was a world of thought where learning is existing and literature is joy. Getting ready for school, walking to the bus through the stiff breeze, with the cold light of morning glimmering around me - I am still thinking. I am thinking that even though I don’t have enough sleep to sustain me throughout the day, I have the knowledge and experience of something far more significant. I have a greater understanding of the value of literature and of the thoughts one has when reading. I have experienced a change in the way I think, in the way I view some literature and writing, and in the way I will act in the future.fade into the warmth of the heater, the lamp, and the pillows propped up behind me.
Though I remember very little of how the night was spent, I do remember that it was an experience I would not trade for the world. It was the kind of experience that helps define people, one that makes them who they are. While I was reading, I wasn’t in my bed, or in my chair. I wa