The Reader

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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48 thoughts on “The Reader

  1. Totally a reader, and always have been. Though, I do have certain things I like better than others and gravitate towards, but I try to balance by being in different book clubs so I get a different experience

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    • Okay, here’s the thing… I thought I would be a book-clubber too… But I really am not… I enjoy reading the same book as others and discussing it upon completion .. Love discussing books and characters but the couple book clubs I’ve been in/to have always picked different types of books (books I don’t usually gravitate towards myself) and then because I love books so much I am dragging my feet to finish the bookclub book and itching to read my own TBR books that become available! And half the time the book-clubbers only want to eat cheese and drink wine (which I don’t mind at all) lol but it’s not really a book club then!

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  2. I’m definitely a reader and I feel that to blog most people need to have a love of reading. I have a ton of books that I’m in the middle of reading right now and some of the books really change how I live my life

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    • Oh I’ve tried reading more than one book at a time and that doesn’t work for me lol too hard to keep track… I’ve also tried audiobooks too… doesn’t work either because I feel like I could do other things since it doesn’t require eye-work but then I end up getting distracted and not listening lol… if you listen to an audiobook is that the same as reading… hmmm interesting question…

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      • Audio books are the same as reading yes. ❤️ especially to people who are blind, dyslexic (like myself), or just plan busy. The BEST part of listening to audiobooks is that I can listen to it while I garden, while I toss feed for the farm, while I’m cleaning, driving in the car, hitting up a doctors appointment to distract myself, and well… SO many other multitasking opportunities 🥰💪

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      • There’s also a super cool study done about reading vs listening. They did brain scans of both, while we retain more “information” when we see it visually, both reading AND listening uses the same parts of the brain! 🤯 such a cool study! Some people are more “visual” and some do better with listening. It kinda just depends on how you learn best BUT both forms use the same pathways in the brain. 💪

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      • I also read tangible books, I have kindle unlimited which allows me to download books that my library and small town shops won’t have. 🥰 that being said, I’m so busy that I only get to read those at night 😬

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  3. Education opens up a window of opportunities for people. One of my regular field trips was to take my 2nd and 3rd-grade classes to the library. I never tired of watching the excitement in many of their eyes getting their first library card.

    I’m a creature of habit, and most days, my nose is buried in a book, often right before I go to sleep. I do use a Kindle a lot more than ever before, but I prefer the feel of a physical copy of a book in my hands. Something is satisfying about turning each page.

    Bring on the French bread!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Charlotte was sooo excited to have a card of her very own. I bestowed upon her the importance of keeping that card safe at all times and how lucky she was to have her very own card that allowed her to borrow any book from the library! 🙂

      You’re right, Pete! No matter how convenient an ebook is, the feeling of turning that page, page after page, through an engrossing novel is unmatched!

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      • Nothing better for a child to see than parents who read and put value on that. When our son is home, and I find him reading, it still brings a smile. I could be having the worst day, and reading with him always improved my mood. I read with him through 6th grade.

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  4. I was an avid reader as a child. These days, life gets in the way, but I still enjoy escaping with a good book. It’s something I look forward to when I am on vacation. I’m going away for a work trip on the upcoming long weekend and I already have 3 books set aside for my travel time and other downtime.

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  5. Came home a little bit ago with a box of books from the library. A literal box. Sometimes we pick up two. My kids get excited when I announce it’s time to go to the library. Even though my two oldest are teenagers, they still love family reading time every night, as does my husband. We don’t do it if someone isn’t home because no one wants to miss out on any part of the story. Before you ask, currently reading the Wingfeather series. I think it’s middle grade, but no one cares. We all love it.

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    • OMG this sounds like such a DREAM! Family reading time! I always dreamed of starting a company (not sure what that company would do lol) and instead of having just lunch time, I would (as CEO) would allow 30mins of optional reading time before and after lunch lol … those who wanted to relax and read could do so, and those who didn’t care to read could go back to work!

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  6. I was an avid reader as a child because my parents were, so it just was natural to follow in their footsteps. With no siblings to play with, I could disappear for hours with a book. I actually started a book this past Sunday because I was caught up in Reader (for a change) and had next week’s posts written and the weatherman said a stormy afternoon and evening.

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    • That’s my hope, that Charlotte will love reading as much as I do through example! She may never have a sibling so I hope she will lean into reading! 🙂 hope you’re doing well and the storm passed without much fuss!

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      • We had a real stormy day today Jen – we are supposed to have one more … that’s what the live weatherman says, but online robot says no storms. Hmm. I think being an only child will spur the reading so if Charlotte doesn’t have siblings, she will be like her mom.

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  7. Excellent post!
    Libraries to me are a traditional form of ‘community center’ that includes, but is not limited to, books! I love ’em. I’m no bookworm/introvert, but I’ve always been a reader and researcher and enjoy the moments of silence & engagement involved with the act of reading, learning, exploring and imagining.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Laura! You’re right, the library is a form of community centre! I love walking into a library and everyone is doing the exact same thing- READING! It brings me such joy to be surrounded by books and lover of books 🙂

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  8. I loved this post!!! You champion literacy beautifully. What a treat to grow up having visited the library. I was only there one time with my grandmother, yet my mother was a voracious reader. Go figure. I remember having difficulty learning to read, and think I was (still am) mildly dyslexic. The Dick and Jane series didn’t work for me. I dearly wish I had learned to read with Dr. Seuss, but at the time that was only happening in Vermont and a few other progressive states.

    But here I am today, a strong advocate for reading aloud. Thank goodness day#1 of teaching preschool started me on that path. The library became my favorite place after all. I’m still not a great reader, but I read, and I read aloud, and I pass that on to my students.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennie, I didn’t know you were mildly dyslexic. Knowing this now and seeing how encouraging you are about reading aloud to children really inspires me! You are such an advocate for reading and instilling the love of reading to children at an early age! One of the things I remember most about my favourite elementary school teachers is how much they loved reading, and how excited they were reading to the class – it is contagious!

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  9. What great thoughts on education. My grandparents (on my mum’s side) weren’t that well educated either, and I dropped out of secondary school, so education’s never really been my thing. But reading has plugged that gap, and I’m very grateful for this ability, because I’ve learned so many things from the act of reading alone. Also, there’s no point in knowing how to read if we don’t use it in the first place. Anyway, thanks for this post, Jen!

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    • Thanks for sharing this Stuart! I didn’t know you dropped out of secondary school so it’s such a testament to how reading can really change a person’s life despite their educational status (because you are an amazing writer and communicator)!

      Like

    • hahaha I don’t mind! I like approving asap to keep the convo flowing even if I am not able to be a part of it! (For some reason, I can’t reply to comments on my phone, the text zooms extra large and I can’t seem to find the “send” button, so I am only ever limited to responding to comments when I am at my computer, sadly!)

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      • That’s good because comments were flying fast and furiously for a time! I checked back each day to make sure a straggler didn’t comment after that night – I am a straggler as I am often behind in Reader, once or twice as far behind as a week! That is too bad as you could catch up on your commute or at lunch time at work. I was not working on site when I began blogging but I don’t start until 11:00 a.m. and then leave at 5:30 so I don’t as a general rule go on my blog during the day.

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  10. I am a reader. My mother had an English degree from UIC, so I’ve been reading since forever. We always had books in my home, and it’s no wonder that I grew up and became an English teacher for a minute.

    I also think most good writers are readers.

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    • That’s amazing, Kathy! This wasn’t always the case in my house but I want to create that environment for my daughter, Charlotte. I want her to grow up with an abundance of music and books! 🙂 You’re right also, there’s something to be said about a writer who reads. Whenever I feel like the juices aren’t flowing as much as they could, I always pick up a book!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love reading!!! My mother started me off on my reading journey when I was 7-8 years old – her goal was that reading would help me perfect my English. I fell in love with reading to the point that my parents had to ban me from reading during exams. I’d then sneak in a book and hide in my laundry basket in my bathroom and spend hours in there reading – absolutely forgetting where I was. 😀 I used to borrow books from my school library on my card, my friend’s card as well as borrow books from my mom’s school library (she’s a teacher) and borrow books from friends. I used to read 2-3 books every week.
    I lost the habit while I was pursuing my MBA since I barely had any time to myself but I’ve tried to get back to the habit over the past 2-3 years. My goal for this year is 30 (18 done). Hoping I reach my goal. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, what a cute kid you were! Imagine, getting in trouble for sneaking a book to read! So cute! I didn’t grow up with a love of reading, it sort of grew on me but once it did, it stuck! I want Charlotte to have this natural love of reading though because I really does open up a whole new world of possibilities and joy! Wishing you luck on reaching your goal! You can do it!

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