Reading Rainbow was one of my favorite shows growing up. I remember being excited when my teachers throughout elementary school used this program as a teaching aid. The truth is I’ve always loved reading. At one point I broke up with reading though. This happened while I attended college. There are lots of areas to place blame for this lack of interest to read. Most of the blame was a lack of time. If I read for thirty minutes a day then there would be thirty minutes less to contribute elsewhere. Thirty minutes less to work on perfecting a project. Thirty minutes less relaxing after a long day. At one point though my idea of relaxation was to read for fun.
A lot of people I have talked throughout the years say they quit reading around the same time. Part of that is that most of us had so much required reading that by the time we had free time we did not have the desire to pick up yet another book. Maybe that is part of it. Maybe reading is something that we are supposed to reconnect with over time. Last year one of my aunts asked me if I still read like I used to because her daughter does now. When asking this question she meant am I still the same girl who constantly had a book on her. Not an ebook, but a book. I would even bring books to family functions. If things grew dull among the adults I’d go off to my corner in whomever’s house and read. And as we can recall that was viewed as about 97% of the time as a child.
My favorite book was Green Eggs and Ham. My mom read that book to me so much that she started making up random things that happened in it to make it more exciting for herself. I know this because when my dad went to read this book to me one night I told him that he wasn’t reading it right! You see my mom added ponies, ninja turtles, and probably the chipmunks. This is a book I’ve heard so many times in my lifetime I randomly quote it. I also chose to read this to my Godson when he was four months old. Why? So I could tell people that happened to be his first book. Why I felt this urge as a high school senior I have no clue. Of course looking back now, I realize in hindsight I was attempting to get a baby to love reading as much as I do. To love a book as much as I did once upon a time.
Earlier this year one of my friends mentioned going to a book club meeting. She said a friend of hers had been asking her to go for some time and they were reading Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. Oddly enough, a week before I told myself to start reading the numerous books I have bought throughout the years and neglected. I told her I would attempt to read The Exorcist, but I had just started Red Dragon. Since the book club was in two weeks, I put down Red Dragon and started to read The Exorcist. I flew through this book. I read it at night time and got scared by one of my cats jumping on the bed at least once a night until I was finished. My dreams were odd and the infamous spider-walk stair scene was a thousand times creepier in the book.
Upon finishing the novel I texted my friend who initially suggested going to the book club. She was shocked I had finished so soon. Quite frankly I was too. Around this time I found a challenge to read twenty-six different books. Later I found one that was to read fifty-two different books. They had very specific guidelines and I laughed at the list which contained suggestions for the fifty-two books we should challenge ourselves to read. I thought “There’s no way I could even remotely manage to read that many books in a year!” Not a book a week. After all, I had convinced myself I did not have the time. Cut to almost nine months later and I have read, or listened to in some cases, forty-five books. With three months left in the year I know I will finish at least three more books. After all there are three more book club meetings, but I also know there are more books I want to read this year. More books I will read this year.
Of course I’m not sure if I will make it to fifty-two books this year, but I have high hopes. I’m far closer than I have been in previous years. The girl who would once sit against her bed on the floor with her knees bent and an R. L. Stine book propped on my legs is happily discovering worlds I have neglected for too long. Stephen King has become my hero once more. Matthew Quick is slowly making his way into my heart one book at a time. J. K. Rowling made me realize that wizards and witches aren’t just for kids. And Jenny Lawson has reminded me that being a beautiful weirdo should be the norm. Writing is one of the most powerful tools we have at our fingertips. Reading is one of the most powerful escapes that allow us to travel when we don’t have the means to take off on a plane somewhere.
Obviously, I’m going to keep reading. My library card is going to continue to be used and abused. The librarians I know by name will continue to see me on a regular basis. I will continue to learn from them as much as the books. I will read books I never would have picked up without their suggestions. The book club members will continue to introduce me to books I once said I would read but never got around to reading. They will continue introducing me to new authors and books I never knew existed in the horror and thriller genre. I’m grateful for these people. I’m grateful to rediscovering the literary world. And quite frankly my dear, I never want to go back to a time I’m not reading.