Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Reads- Why I Do It

I'm between two books at the moment, and it's making me uncomfortable. I just finished The Solitude of Prime Numbers, which alternately disturbed me, haunted me, and ultimately left me unsatisified, and I'm about to start Insurgent- the second book in the Divergent series and what my school librarian would deem a "twinkie" - a light fun quick read. So I thought instead of doing my typical (long neglected) Friday Reads post, I'd begin a deep think about why I read. Why it's important. Why it is such a part of me.

I don't really remember learning how to read- it just came. I cannot remember a time in my life where I saw words I didn't know. I played with my books, too- building castles and forts, lining them up like lily pads and frog-hopping my way over, around, and through the titles. The day I learned to read cursive, I was around eight and sneakily reading chapters of The Babysitter's Club during Sunday mass with my family. Usually, my mom read those diary entry pages to me, but I persevered during that interminable homily to both entertain myself and escape my parents' ire.

Soon after I started school, this passion translated to writing. I used to hoard quarters until I could buy notebooks at the PTA's school store, and I was the odd duck who secretly loved indoor recess. I'd curl up in a corner of the overcrowded, manic gym and write. And write. And write. Growing up in a houseful of many kids close in age, I've learned to shut the world around me out and get lost in reading. In writing. In words. As I grew, I became convinced I would be a writer or journalist when I grew up. I went to college with this intention, only to find that my foundational journalism classes sucked the life out of stories. I thought again. Where could I surround myself with books and writing and still make a living? I became a teacher- a choice that baffled my family and friends.

Now, I make time to read. I don't really have time, but I make it anyway. I get irritated with people who say publishing and books are a dying art. I take pride in cracking the tough anti-literacy students I encounter. I place the timeline of significant events in my past by what book I was reading, as in "I was still in my Babysitter's Club years, it must have been first or second grade." "To Kill a Mockingbird in a blue library- eighth grade" "100 Years of Solitude- Mexico." The list goes on.

I blame reading for many things in my life. My unshakable belief that people are inherently good and things happen for a reason. My obnoxious habit of embellishing stories beyond belief. My ability to talk to almost anybody- I just try to imagine what book character they remind me of and proceed. My terrible procrastinatory streak. It's all there, in those smooth, woodsy smelling pages. I'm a book hoarder, a book boss-er (you HAVE to read this). I'm the irritating older sister who gives  a book with every gift. I get lost in the world of fantasy. I think I know everything because I "read it somewhere."

I'm a reader, it's who I am.

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