Against the Sparknotes Tide: Confessions of the Rare Book-Reader

Amani Mussell

Some people read for school, some people read to enlighten their minds, and some people read for fun. Gemma Coster, a sophomore at Ashland High School, is in the last category, an avid reader who is convinced of the positive impact of books.
“You should read anything you can get your hands on,” was a personal motto one of Coster’s past teachers used that has inspired Coster to delve into the world of literature. Coster’s familiarity with the literary world, beginning with this single sentence which acted as a catalyst in her experimentation, has much to do with her open mindedness when it comes to books’ contents. She has firmly lived by the principle that she read as much as possible.
Coster believes that it is rare for a book to change a life, but it is not uncommon for it to make a considerable impact on an individual. Books, to her, are beneficial to all readers: they educate, provide opportunities, inspire creativity in artistic fields, and can aid people in everyday life. Self-help books, for example, can help people in emotional crises and physical reform. Other genres provide entertainment, a sense of perspective, and a place to shut out the world. “Some people use it as a way to escape into another reality,” said Coster, who also finds writing a great way to express oneself.
Coster has found that the vast majority of books that she has read are mediocre, which can be both frustrating but also makes the discovery of a good book even more rewarding. She tends to gravitate towards contemporary and political fiction, and one can find among Coster’s favorite books both the Hunger Games and Throne of Glass series.
“There’s a book out there for everyone,” Coster said. “They just have to find it.”