Book a day keeps boredom away for high school sophomore

Kendall Davis | The Chronicle

With a good book and a quick reading speed, Mason High School (MHS) sophomore Marley Feng is expanding her horizons in the world of reading.

With the ability to read at a much faster speed than most, Feng has a unique outlook on books and the impact of reading. She has the exceptional talent of finishing a new book every couple of days.

Feng said although the number of books she finishes depends on the amount of free time she has in a day, she always tries to find a way to get books done. 

“A 400-page book will take me one to three days depending on how much I read,” Feng said. “If I have an hour at home, then it’s basically finished. If not, then maybe two to three days.”

Feng, who has always been an avid reader, said that her rapid reading habits started in elementary school, where she would read whenever she had free time.

“I started reading when I was about five years old,” Feng said. “I started reading a lot and found out my reading speed is quite fast. I’d read books and turn them in and check out more.”

Feng’s Honors English II teacher Michelle Bruewer said she noticed Feng’s interest in reading immediately, as she asked many questions about book recommendations.

“From the beginning of the year, she was automatically starting to ask me questions about books,” Bruewer said. “One of my first memories of Marley is looking over and seeing her on day one looking at my shelves like she was already picking her books out.”

Bruewer said that Feng has already read around 15 to 20 books this semester and that she has already run out of new suggestions for Feng.

“She comes in pretty much every day and she’s either finished the book that she just started or she’s started a new one,” Bruewer said. “She reads all the time, she reads fast, and she devours books.”

Feng said she does her best to fit in reading in little bits of time when she is not already doing something else. This strategy, according to Feng, is how she manages to read numerous books while also maintaining a busy schedule full of high-level classes and extracurricular activities. 

“I fit [reading] in when I can,” Feng said. “For example, [even if] it’s [late] at night and I should be sleeping, I like to stay up and read. Other times, if it’s too late, I will read in the morning or ten minutes before class.” 

Feng is also involved in many other activities, but she said reading has always been her focus in terms of hobbies.

“I play violin, I’m in the school orchestra, I do other orchestras and Science Olympiad,” Feng said. “But I would say those aren’t really hobbies, they’re more just things I do. I enjoy them, but reading would always be my [top choice].”

Although Feng’s love for reading is clear, she also continues to put forth time and effort into other commitments. Orchestra teacher Stephanie Jones said that though Feng is a dedicated reader, it is evident that she does not disregard her other activities either.

“[Feng] is always very prepared for class,” Jones said. “She obviously is putting in time outside of class to prepare, taking lessons, and being involved in other groups. She’s a very hardworking student and is always at the top of her game in being prepared.”

As a multifaceted individual, Feng said that for others who want to develop a reading hobby, the best way to stay consistent is to find books that appeal to them specifically. 

“With reading, it’s all about finding the right books, genre or author,” Feng said. “If you find a book you don’t like, just drop it. Don’t force yourself to read something that you’re not going to like.”

Feng said she has felt certain books have been important to her throughout her life and have motivated her reading journey. 

“I think [my reading interest was sparked by] ‘Percy Jackson’ and ‘Harry Potter,’” Feng said. “[Recently], I read ‘Parachutes’ by Kelly Yang and it hit me. I think it was really impactful because the characters experience stuff that I’ve never experienced before.”

Feng said she believes that books are more important than ever in the modern world because they can provide important information and offer unique perspectives to everyone.

“Books give you a point of view you might have never experienced before,” Feng said. “You can feel things you’ve never felt before. Everybody should get into reading. It’s important nowadays because we have phones and we have electronics, but we shouldn’t abandon books.”

Feng said she is excited for future releases of books and hopes to continue meeting more people with similar interests.

“I’m looking forward to forming a bigger reading community and connecting with more people over reading books,” Feng said.