I am what you would call a book nerd (or a bibliophile). I love books. Yes, there’s also bread, I love that too (breadophile?). But books, ah, I love thee. I recently came upon an article where Bill Gates says the one advice he would give to his younger self is this: Pick up a book, read a lot.
I would like to say that I am a voracious reader, that I could read anything and everything at any given time. But that would be an untrue statement. I lie somewhere in between. I am quite specific about the books I indulge in, but, that said, I always have a physical book in hand or an e-book downloaded onto my Kobo reader. The idea of being out in public without a book to read is foreign to me. My mind always hovers around my TBR list, constantly looking up book recommendations and reading synopses to determine where on my list it could be placed (categorized by Goodreads rankings, of course).
One of my fondest memories as a child was visiting the local library with my mother. I grew up with 2 other sisters but, for some reason, most of those memories only consist of me and my mother. I remember seeing the library as a vast wonderland of infinite books- pages and pages of wistful imagination. And it was all free. Free! I couldn’t believe it! In the library, I always felt like anything was possible.
Not many people recognize or realize this, but reading is a supreme privilege. The ability to read in our corner of the world is a freedom we have that not many others around the world share. Even within my family, the generations before me barely had any formal education past the elementary level, much less knew how to read and write. My grandmother only went as far as knowing how to spell her first name. As a child, I remember her practicing this over and over again (she always printed the letter N in her name upside down). As the years went on, of course, my reading and writing skills surpassed hers. She grew up in an illiterate household, after all. There, literature was always abstract. And because of that, unfortunately, she has lived a very one-dimensional existence. For her, as a young girl, the necessities of life were the only imminent priorities: helping her parents put food on the table, caring for her younger siblings, and basically surviving day-to-day.
It’s always been my belief that we remember our life in moments. The moments before and after something instrumental takes place. I have many of these moments and one such memory is the one where I developed a love for reading. In many ways, I would credit books for changing the trajectory of my life. You could even say reading saved me because it opened up a whole new world for me, gave me so much depth of perspective, gave me the audacity to ask more questions, and has always allowed me to escape my current realities. It’s given me language that never existed before and formed me into the type of writer I am today.
To others in my life, I have often advocated reading. It’s not because I felt like it was a necessary club they needed to be a part of, but because, perhaps, they could be changed through books, too. I wanted them to feel the joy I felt and see the wonders I saw.
Are you a reader? If so, did you grow up with a love of reading or did it eventually grow on you?
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