Reading boosts my imagination, helping me to see the world
Paper to book
Published: Feb 22, 2024 07:43 PM
Editor's Note:

"Read ten thousand books, and your pen will be guided as if by the gods" is an ancient Chinese idiom that can be seen in students' textbooks. China's Ministry of Education has published an action plan to further promote reading among students across the nation. With new and diverse book recommendations, the reading scene is expected to be revived not only at schools, but also across society. To contribute to this endeavor, the Global Times launched "My Reading Life" essay contest for middle school students.

Please pick up a pen and share your stories with us at

Participants will be rewarded once the article has been selected.



A tree is cut down to make paper. Words are printed onto this paper. The paper is stacked and bound, becoming a book. But a book is not just a mere stack of paper with printed words. What give the books their souls are the worlds within them.

No matter if it's the bitter and endless adventures of the Buddhist monk Xuanzang and his disciples or the singular and grotesque cases of Sherlock Holmes and his clients all over the world, they can all provide a chance of escaping the dull and busy routine of our daily lives. My mind is magical with a lot of different ideas. When I'm walking on the street and these ideas come out, then the street and the sidewalk on my way to school seem to become more vivid. 

I sometimes can even "see" tiny dragons flying around my head. However, there's one tiny piece of advice I've got for you - do not read the Hound of Baskerville before you go to sleep! The nightmare of a big hound chasing me haunted me for three nights.

Reading is not only about imaginary worlds. It is also about the real world. 

Reading the book Hi, I'm China allowed me to realize the magnificence and majesty of our motherland while The Horrible Geography series told me how beautiful yet vulnerable our planet is. 

I can also wander the streets of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, gaze at the high guardian towers in Mohenjo-Daro and march with the Terracotta Warriors, which can all happen with a turn of a page. Without ever stepping out of my room, I can travel through time and space, and learn about anything I'm interested in.

Books can even evoke my thinking far and beyond. 

The Old Man and the Sea taught me that the attitude one has toward life and its unfairness determines everything. The Five People You Meet in Heaven left me pondering about love, and the meaning of life, about endings and beginnings, and about chances and consequences. The Three-Body Problem left so many unanswered questions that it provoked my curiosity and fear about the vast and unknown universe. Are there any extra-terrestrial beings in the universe? Should we contact them? These questions are worth a lifetime's thinking.

As an individual belonging to the young generation, I feel the world around us is full of modern technology and fragmented knowledge that are just like cultural fast foods. Imagine in ancient times when people didn't have phones, books were their only source to acquire information about the world. Compared to shuffling through short videos by tapping a finger on a screen, carrying heavy backpacks seems much more inefficient nowadays. However, I think reading paper books can always cultivate my patience about learning and thinking about the world slowly while taking things to a deeper level. 

Reading opens many windows for me to peek at countless colorful lives, and eventually it makes my own life richer and more meaningful. 

My reading will continue, and my life, too. Reading, IS my life.

The author is a student at Beijing National Day School