Im a book adoring,
and in her own fantasy world living,
What in fact means im just mad.
I bet there is more to say about me,but thats enough for the start.
You have forsaken
All the love you’ve taken
Sleepin’ on a razor
There’s nowhere left to fall
Your body’s aching
Every bone is breakin’
Nothin’ seems to shake it
It just keeps holdin’ on
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club // Beat The Devil’s Tattoo
Someone said that to me earlier this week, and I was at such a loss for words that I let the remark pass. But then I went through the terribly frustrating experience of thinking of a million perfect retorts after the conversation is long dead, and I wanted to share them with someone. So instead of doing my math homework like a good student, I’m doing this. Followers, bear with me.
Reading is not boring. Reading is fantastic and fun and wildly exciting. It physically pains me to hear someone say that they think reading is boring. Honestly, it does. My chest tightens and my breathing constricts when I think about the fact that many people just absolutely hate reading, which has been a huge part of my life since I was a little kid. Even before I could read on my own, my mom tucked me into bed and read to me. Together, we travelled to far off lands, battled sorcerers, and befriended fantastic creatures. We giggled over King Bedgood’s predicament and the silliness of Mucky Moose and cheered on the Poky Little Puppy and the Grouchy Ladybug as they went along their quests.
As I learned to read on my own, books remained my world. I loved visiting the library; I would clutch my well-worn card and peek down the rows and rows of shelves, knowing that they contained thousands of adventures I had yet to go on and characters I had yet to meet. It left me dizzy with excitement. I cried over Winn-Dixie and Terabithia but found hope in Despereaux’s tale. My world was populated with fantastic friends- Calcifer and Tumnus and Mrs. Frisby. I read under my desk during class, on the bench at recess, and on the floor of my room at home. (In retrospect, I might’ve been a more social child.) At the very least I was an imaginative child. I wanted to visit Wonderland, the Emerald City, the Shire, the Kingdom of Wisdom. If I lost something, I would promise my mom it’d just been misplaced, but secretly hope it had been taken by the Borrowers. I kept a notebook like Harriet the Spy, and when I was angry at my parents I considered running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wanted to meet Meg Murray and Turtle Wexler, I wanted pets like Popper’s penguins, Shiloh, and Ralph the Mouse, I wanted to meet the Lilliputians and the Lamplighter. I wanted to fly away to Neverland and never come back.
Reading was my whole world. It was my escape. No matter what turmoil went on in my life, books were the most faithful, enduring, comforting friends. In the end, the villain was always defeated and all the plot points were wrapped up nicely and neatly. Even as I grew older and was too old to be seen carrying around Nancy Drew novels, if I was upset I would sit on the floor of my room and sift through the collection of old books that I was too sentimental to throw out or give away. I would re-read my favorite childhood books and remember the wonder and excitement I’d first found within the pages. The characters never grew up and never betrayed me. If the ending of the Book Thief made me cry, I could always flip back to the beginning of the story and start again. I can’t even begin to describe the impact Harry Potter had on me. I grappled with problems of coming of age and disillusion alongside Harry and grew up watching Hermione blossom into the brave, beautiful soul that became my literary heroine. I was wide-eyed as Harry opened his Hogwarts letter and cried at Dobby’s last words and held my breath as Hermione and Ron’s relationship blossomed awkwardly and nervously and beautifully.
I don’t know where to take this now, but I guess the whole point of this rant is that I’ve grown up reading. I’m now being exposed to more significant literature like Clockwork Orange and Brave New World and I haven’t picked up something as “juvenile” as Frindle in many years, but I know that my first years of reading were the most important. I fell in love with reading at a young age, which has made all the difference.
Now, I may bite my nails to the quick as Jack stalks the hallways of the Overlook and sigh contentedly over Mr. Darcy, but the books of my childhood will stay with me forever. They kept me grounded and sane, put my life in perspective, and helped me understand that there was so much more to life than I was seeing in my small suburban bubble. They showed me that I could have a life of possibility and adventure and reassured me of my humanity when I connected with a fictional character so deeply that their death left my pillow soggy with secret tears. I was always and will always be a reader. It is one of the most important things in the world to me, and I’m having trouble coming up with the right way to explain how much it has impacted my life. I honestly don’t know how people get along in life without books to fall back on for courage and reassurance and hope.
So forgive me for being so strongly in love with something as “boring” and lame as reading, but I can’t help it. It has changed my life. It has altered the way I view the world and the people around me; it has shaped my thoughts, words, decisions, and relationships. I can’t help but marvel at the suspense and excitement and beauty that is found in letters and words and lines and pages and chapters and the best thing in the world, books. I absolutely love it. The best part is, you can love it too- you need only pick up a good book.