Appropriate that after my hiatus from writing and reading, I get right back into the spirit of things by doing a post on reading.
When I was a kid, I read before I could read. My mom and dad instilled a love of words into me (perhaps why I was always told I talk too much when I was growing up—I LOVED words). I’d pester them as they read their books and the newspaper (remember those?), constantly asking “What’s this word?” as they read to me. This is probably why, before I was old enough to be sent to school, they taught me how to write. I remember sitting at my little yellow table in the middle of the hallway, in front of Mom’s closet that we never really opened that much—I would later sneak in, find her old glamorous clothing from her model career—and I learned how to write my letters. That came AGONIZINGLY SLOWLY—the problem was, I was a born leftie and my mom was training me right-handed. (The relic persists in sports.)
But reading came fast.
Before I knew it I’d blown through all the stuff in my room and was looking for something more challenging to read, something bigger across than a piece of an inch.
This was why my dad spent a day plucking me off of progressively higher bookshelves in the house: Stephen King is not appropriate reading material for a five-year-old.
Weirder still, my favorite part of books was when you opened that new book for the first time—the faint creak in the spine, and that delicious, delicious new-book smell: like the faintest vanilla and some unknown, long gone spice. Before I began reading a book, I’d crack it open to the middle, where that smell was strongest, inhale deeply, then flip to the actual beginning of the book, that aroma still tickling my nostrils.
When we were allowed to order from the Scholastic Book Club in school, I remember wishing I was coordinated enough to do cartwheels around the house. While I LOVED my video games to death, my first love was reading, and so I picked out what I wanted to read and asked my parents “Can I can I can I please please PLEASE???” until they let me send in the form.
(I honestly don’t think they thought about it all that hard: I grew up in an area where it was a rare sight to find someone reading at their grade level, let alone above it as I did.)
Two weeks passed. I started to think that the books would never show up. Then, one day, I come home and there’s this…MOUNTAIN of books sitting on my bed. I squeal, run in to give my parents rib-crushing hugs—and then shut myself in my room to read.
Really, it’s a habit I haven’t broken. If I’ve bought a bunch of books—whether old-fashioned paper or new-fangled e-books—I basically hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on all of my social outlets and dive into the book. If I’ve mentioned getting a new book, it’s almost useless trying to get my attention, because it’s going to be basically impossible to get my attention until I’m done reading. I’m a bookworm at heart, after all.