At the start of I Love to Read Month, I’m reminded of how much I actually love to read.
As a grad student, I read a lot. Normally, I have 50-100 pages of reading to do for each class every week, and that’s not including the additional readings I do for my assignments. My days are full of reading academic articles and books and words from people much smarter than me. But rarely do I read for fun anymore.
I learned how to read in a closet, like all the great scholars before me. I would sit in the front closet, with the coats hanging above me, the longer ones brushing softly against my head, and stare down at the pages. I’d compare the pictures and the letters, trying to figure out where we were in the story. After a little while, I memorized my favourite book and could match the words spoken with the words on the page. Then I could recognize those words in other books, and that’s how I learned how to read.
Like so many other awkward nerds, when I was learning how to make friends or needed something more exciting in my mundane life, I would turn to books. At the height of my reading-rampage, I’d read almost a book and a half a day; I think I made it through a solid half of my elementary school’s library. I had my public library card number memorized from requesting books online, and my local library staff knew me by name. Yes, I had achieved full reading-nerdom.
Then life got a little busier. There was work to do after school or friends to visit. Netflix became a thing, and suddenly, there was a whole catalogue of TV to watch. I started university, and my brain was so bogged down, it wanted something easy to digest; I can watch trash television, but I can’t read a trash book. My interests shifted, and I found myself in a weird limbo where Young-Adult books weren’t appealing, but I hadn’t found an author I enjoyed in “Adult” Fiction. And that’s kind of where I’ve been ever since.
Finding a good book now is like finding treasure. I’ve read interesting books over the years, but the good ones are the ones that affix you to their pages. It’s hard to describe the sensation of falling into a good book. There’s a shift, when I’m a few pages or chapters in, and I get this…urgency to know what’s going to happen next. The cadence and writing carry me away, and I stop noticing the world around me. I usually fidget, either bouncing my leg or tapping my fingers, but when I read a good book, it’s one of the only times I’m ever fully still.
Reading made me who I am today. Stories filled me with wonder and inspired me to write my own. I don’t write much fiction anymore, but reading made me into a writer. It gave me a dream to follow and the words to do it. So, even though I read more academic papers than adventures nowadays, my future home will still have a massive library with a spiral staircase and alllll the reading nooks.