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Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

Appreciating the power of literature

Every now and then I’ll be reading something and I’ll find myself pausing to reread the line. Not out of confusion or clarification, but out of sheer pleasure. These “double takes” don’t always occur when I’m reading a novel. In fact, more often than not, they come from newspaper articles – news, opinion, feature, it doesn’t really matter. These snippets of writing make me smile and remind me of why I love language.

Without fail, these little gifts arrive at the most needed times. At some moment during every semester, all my heavy duty assignments, be it projects, research papers, or presentations, pile up with back to back due dates, sparing no moment to breathe. I feel overwhelmed, stressed and just about ready to hibernate until the next semester. But then, in the stupor of late night readings, I begin to notice the words, phrases and sentences. When I come across these eloquent sentences, I try to etch them into my memory. I pick apart the words then dissect their sounds as if these words and their meanings were physically tangible. At some point, I look up from the page, eager to share this beautiful language with somebody. But as a night owl, I am the only one awake and have to tuck the sentence away to share it later.

Despite my efforts to carve the quotes into my memory, it always slips away. That doesn’t matter. These excerpts served their purpose. They remind me why I love to read and why literature is such an important part of my life. I love hearing or reading about why writers write because they all tell a slightly altered version of the same reason – to share some aspect of the human condition. Through literature, the notions and ideas about the interconnectedness of the human experience morph from abstractions into palpable realities. The stories I read become part of my own experiences and shape my character.

When we read, we become the characters and their stories play out in our minds as if they are our own. The more we read, the more our capacity for empathy increases. We begin to see ourselves in others and the essence of the meaning “shared human experience” becomes clearer.

But in these spontaneous moments of appreciation for literature, I end up thinking about all those who choose not to read. I want my friends who don’t read to experience the overwhelming power of simple letters arranged in certain ways. I have nothing against those who choose not to read – I get it. It’s a long process, easy to fall out of habit of, and it’s daunting. But those moments that resonate with you on a fundamental human level and make you want to stop and read the passage out loud are enough of a reason to read.

We still read Shakespeare hundreds of years later because we continue to find meaning relevant to our lives in his plays. Translated literature reaches the hearts of people outside those who speak the language it was originally published in because there are certain experiences that transcend cultural lines and language barriers.

The English alphabet consists of 26 letters. Yet through various combinations and permutations of these finite letters, we have amassed libraries teeming with great works of literature. These works depict countless narratives, each wonderfully unique, yet universal in their reflection on humanity.

Maral Margossian is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at mmargossian@umass.edu.

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