I know it’s been forever since I’ve written something on here. I promise that will change, as I’m finally out of school. In the meantime, I think I want to take a look back at my relationship with reading for this post and share why it’s so special to me.
Stories have become my comfort zone. I always enjoy knowing that I can get lost in another world and take a break from the stress of everyday life. To me, the wonder of discovering a favorite new book is one of the best feelings in the world, and there’s few experiences that match the thrill and satisfaction of finding that book.
When I was a child, my mother would read to me at bedtime and I always looked forward to those moments. However, I did not fully understand the power of great literature until much later in my life, and during that time when I wasn’t aware of it, I actually dreaded reading at times.
That dread, in part, stemmed from being forced to read for school assignments through reading logs every week. While I understand the intention of the assignments now, they actually turned me off to reading because every time I finished a book I had to have a new one to write about and I was struggling finding books that I really enjoyed at the pace the logs were being given out.
This started to change about midway through my sixth grade year. I remember complaining to my history teacher that the assignments were too demanding, that I was running out of things to read while there were still logs I had to do. That’s when she showed me a bookshelf in her classroom and allowed me to pick any books I wanted. And that’s when I discovered the first story that turned me on to fantasy and mystery.
Up until that day in the teacher’s classroom, I’d only really enjoyed Judy Blume’s Fudge books and was worried about trying out a completely new genre. I remember picking up the first book in Jenny Nimmo’s Children of the Red King series (Midnight for Charlie Bone) that day, not knowing that it would be the story that would really open me up to trying new genres.
But it was slow-going at first. The somewhat-creepy and unnerving atmosphere of this new find was something of a turn-off, and I wasn’t enthused that most of the chapters in the book were twenty pages or more. But I pressed on and soon found myself becoming captivated by the mystery and magic of this new world. I ended up devouring the first three books in a matter of weeks and felt no small disappointment when the teacher informed me that that was all she had of Jenny Nimmo’s work, because I wanted so badly to see what happened next with Charlie and his friends.
So I asked my parents to buy me more of her books. My aunt even got in on it, often gifting me with copies I still needed on holidays. I found myself rereading my favorite parts of the books and excitedly communicating to my dad how captivating it all felt. And, mind you, this was all before I read Watership Down.
I can’t remember exactly what I’d read right after finishing Nimmo’s books, but the point is that the seeds for my love of reading had been planted with both Blume and Nimmo’s works. I enjoyed Charlie Bone so much that, for another school assignment, I got to write a letter to Nimmo, and I actually got a response!
One summer around that time (I think it was before my sixth- or seventh-grade year), I picked up Lois Lowry’s The Giver, thinking it was on the Summer Reading List. That turned out to be untrue, but The Giver actually ended up being a story that did get me into reading more of Lowry’s work. I finished the full series my freshman year of high school and consider it an amazing series for young adults.
And then my favorite book of all time came around. I’m not going to rehash anything from the post on my experience with the story, but I will say this: it got me into reading on my iPad, which I actually like better than the normal format, because I can only see one page at a time when the tablet is held vertically. I also really like that I can mark up the books to take notes and erase them later, because I hate marking up actual physical books with a passion.
All of these stories opened me up to trying out a little bit of everything. Being interested in a variety of genres can actually make selecting different books difficult sometimes, but I’ve been able to get lost in incredible worlds and scenarios that make me look at almost any reading experience with excitement for what I may find within a book’s pages.
In a way, I’m glad the semester is over, because I can finally start reading for pleasure again. Right now, I’m editing something for a friend, but once I finish, I’ll be able to look for a new book to get lost in. And that means more reviews are coming soon!