Reading is Fundamental

I’m currently reading a novel titled “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown. He is a first time author and this book is absolutely amazing. Reviews call it a cross between Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones. In reading this book, I am called to remember a time in my life when I hated reading. It wasn’t the thing to do anymore. 

When I was kid, I was obsessed with reading. I read everything from the Arthur books to Scooby-Doo to Bunnicula. Reading was my thing. I’d read in class, after school, and pretty much any moment I found the time. I remember that there was one day I got mad at my class for having a discussion (with our teacher I might add) while I was trying to read. I took my reading seriously. This would last until I hit the 5th grade. Reading wasn’t considered cool at that point. I had always been the “nerd” of my class. The one who made straight A’s on everything, who never got in trouble, the one kid who took his education beyond seriously. Around 5th grade, I wanted to change that image. I didn’t want to be the “nerd” anymore. I wanted to fit in so I stopped doing something I loved so people wouldn’t tease me about it. I stopped reading (for fun).

I remember telling myself every time a movie adaptation of a book was going to come out that I was going to read the book before seeing the movie. That didn’t happen.

When I moved to started the 7th grade, I began to have summer reading. I did it all, but it wasn’t for fun anymore. I hated it. I was doing the reading because I had too. At the start of my 8th grade year, I had done only part of the summer reading. A few days before we were to take our exams over the summer reading Hurricane Katrina destroyed my hometown of New Orleans. In a sense, I lucked out with that one. Upon moving to Texas, I stopped caring about the reading. Doing only what I needed to do to get by and still make A’s in my courses.

High school was no different from middle school. I did the summer reading, read every now and then for class but still managed to maintain a 4.0 gpa. However, there were two books from the summer reading that stayed with me, “Ender’s Game” from my freshman year and “Frankenstein” from my senior year. Both of those books were amazing and I really got into them. I remember telling myself every time a movie adaptation of a book was going to come out that I was going to read the book before seeing the movie. That didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I finally read a book before going to see the film adaptation. It was “The Hunger Games.” I read it over spring break that year. In all honesty, I had already brought tickets to attend the midnight premiere with my fraternity brothers and I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I wound up finishing the book in two days. I was totally engrossed in it. All I did for those two days was eat, use the restroom, read and sleep. Nothing else mattered for that time frame. It was the first book I read for fun in a long time. The next book I’d go to read for fun was during my junior year and it was the very first book of the Secret Circle series. I had been a fan of the tv series and wanted to check out the book. That book is where I really rediscovered my love for reading. Yes, I was an English major so I read quite a bit, but the fun was taken from it. Honestly, I decided to become an english major NOT because of the reading or writing, but because I knew I was good at it. I wound up loving my major and all the courses I’d taken. I got to write some really interesting papers because of it. No matter what I did with my day, I would always end it with reading The Secret Circle. It sparked me starting to buy books regularly from Amazon. For Christmas that year, I only asked for the second novel in the series. My mom was like “for Christmas you want a book.” She didn’t understand what that book did to me. It reignited a love that I had neglected for far too long.

I wish more people appreciated the gift that is literature.

A year and a half later, I have accumulated quite a collection of books some of which have changed the way I view things in life. For example, the book “Try Anything Twice” by Josh Jango really opened my eyes to how constricting labels are. It was a book I bought because it looked interesting and it wound up changing part of my life. I love reading. Like if I don’t have books queued to read, I freak out because I love it that much. I’m an addictive reader. That means that when I read I’m fully engrossed in the world of the book. Everything and I mean everything revolves around the book for me. It’s all I think about. Because I know this about myself, I make a conscious effort to break up series. If I don’t, the world created by the author would literally take over my life. That would be a very VERY bad thing.

I’m beyond thankful that I rediscovered my love for reading. It was foolish of me to ever give it up. Imagine the worlds I could have explored had I not. Looking back, the worlds I explored as a kid helped to develop the creativity I have today as an adult, the way I write, and the things I like.

I wish more people today appreciated the gift that is literature.

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