The other day, my roommate asked me if I always loved to read. Truthfully, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t.
My childhood was picture books read on the laps of my parents and sisters, the joy of my first library card, my cursive signature smudged and a little unsteady; an entire hand-me-down set of Little House on the Prairie books gone wavy and fat from being dropped in the bath, sitting in that same (now empty) tub, reading past my bedtime by the glow of a snake light I wore wrapped around my neck like its namesake.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
When Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out while I was at summer camp, my parents refused to send me a copy, knowing full well I would park myself in my bunk with a supply of candy until I finished it rather than while away my hours canoeing or making lanyards (really, could you blame me?). Instead, my father sent an email in which he had painstakingly typed out the first paragraph and the last sentence from the copy which awaited me at home. Another girl in my cabin had parents who were less cruel, and I somehow negotiated a deal with her.
I was three-quarters of the way through her copy by the time Mom and Dad came to pick me up—which just goes to show: never underestimate my powers of persuasion when it comes to getting my hands on a book I want.
Seven years later, I was a college junior and bought the final book myself at midnight amid a sea of other students. I finished it at five that morning, tears streaming down my face in the quiet townhouse, telling myself that no, I couldn’t go wake up my roommate and command her to read faster so we could talk about it, even though I believed at that point that sleep was irrelevant.
Over the years, I have carved myself a temporary home between the pages of more books than I can count, and in doing so, breathed life into ink and paper so that characters and stories became fully fledged within the confines of my own imagination. Writing is a creative process, of course, but in many ways, the act of reading is too.
So yes, I love to read. I also love to write. Here, I want to write about reading, about what I read, and about the stories I love and why some of them have carved themselves a permanent home in my heart.
Hope you stick around.