There I was. An undersized 3rd grader, meeting with the school librarian, who was probing at my ability to read and comprehend the book I chose for that week. It was during this particular week in which I refused to join the class in their sticky hand raid, but rather, shift through my new library at home. It was the weekend prior in which my grandmother purchased a white box from a garage sale.
A book is like a door, without stepping through the door, you will never know what's on the other side. It is a mystery that can only be unveiled if you open it and look through it. Dana Gioia wants us to take that mystery and open it up, as many young adults have lost interest in the action of reading itself.
I have never been as comfortable with people made of flesh and bone than I have been with those made of words. Whatever information I lose in the contours of the human face, I have no trouble locating in the unchanging, permanent text of a book. There is something about literature that felt safe to me; the worlds created within far more welcoming to little girls with problems fitting in than the one outside the pages. For this reason, fiction, from Harry Potter to The Book Thief, has remained my greatest passion ever since I learned to read.
The thin rustic pages scrape past my loose fingers as I sit engaged. My heart pounds harder and faster with every word my eyes pass over. My ears hear nothing, even within booming noise. My complete focus is on the book that lays in my hand with a laminated cover, and I have no choice but to submit to the content. My breath tastes of spearmint and the aroma of fresh paper floats past my nose. I couldn’t resist but delve into the worlds and mysteries that books hold. Once opened, everything around me becomes a distant blur. I am hooked. Books have always created an escape for creativity and fancies to run free. Books are used as a medium for reason. Books are formative to the development of human beings. In my instance, books changed my life.
Damp orange leaves stuck to my shoes as I trudged my way toward the back entrance of the school. A chilly wind whooshed past me, spraying my face with vapor. It felt good, almost numbing. Shoving my hands into my jean pockets, I then began to think of the red book. A tingle of warmth spread throughout my body as I recalled the way my fingers had glided over the embossed gold design on the cover. The gold always seemed to glitter when it touched the light; it was worthy of admiration, praise. As if suddenly slapped across the face, I came to my senses. Daydreaming about a book, especially one that was that was supposedly inherently evil, was not normal behavior. That was such a random thought, think about something else Jared, I scolded myself.
It may be cliché, but books have always held a spot close to my heart. When I was three I had a book called Bitsy Witch that went wherever I did. When I was seven, my mom read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone every night. In middle school, I worked my way through the entire children’s section at my local library. In high school, I took every English class offered, and when I entered college I to compromise with my family that I would also pursue a pre-professional program. My time outside of class was spent on my pre-professional degree until, my senior year in college. I took two classes that focused on children’s and young adult texts. Before those classes, I hadn’t realized that specializing in Children’s literature was
By the time I was nine years old, I’d advanced from reading Nancy Drew novels (unbeknownst to my mother) to devouring the seedy and sexually charged novels that came out of the minds of authors Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins.
I spend my free time battling giant windmills with Don Quixote, rolling down hills in a tire with Scout, and exploring the depths of the sea with Captain Nemo. I have spent my entire life surrounded by literature. In my younger and more vulnerable years, my parents would read to me every single night before bed. My impressionable young mind absorbed stories about Meg Murry, Mary Poppins, and Harry Potter. Thus began my life-long affair with books. I was an odd child. I opted out of playing kickball or tag with my classmates and instead sat under a big oak tree reading. I entertained myself for hours as I walked the
I embraced what it means to be a real reader at a young age. I didn’t merely read books, I LIVED books. My second grade teacher insisted her students write about their favorite books and why we chose that specific book. Easy peasy lemon squeezy Mrs. Laforte! Gazing down at the paper on my beloved cubby desk, the choice was clear: Dinosaurs Days by Joyce Milton. “I love this book because I love dinosaurs. I even have dinosaur toys!” (From an adorable little boy a.k.a. Bradley). It was around this time when I delved into solely fiction novels such as Narnia, which undoubtingly influenced how I viewed the world and its inhabitants. Nearly everyone daydreams when there is a certain lack of stimulation, but I’d bet I spent
The library was my Pandora’s Box, and it allowed me to escape into places and ideas far removed from what I thought to be a banal existence in a small historic village in the Appalachian Mountains. My youthful rebellions, and inquisitiveness, though often misguided and misplaced, were not to be tempered in my adult life. As a high school student I was emboldened by an
The first moment I had learned our prospective reading assignments, I felt a shadow of doubt intruding on that little cloud of confidence somewhere in my mind. Every year of my high school career, an English teacher has so wholeheartedly and enthusiastically presented a novel to the class that, to anyone who had the privilege of receiving the brunt of their excitement, that novel in particular had to be the most cathartic, astounding, metamorphic novel we could ever hope to lay eyes on. I expected each page to grace my mind with profound knowledge, enlighten with scholarly insight, entertain with the skill of a master artist and performer; and yet, each time my hopes shattered like the windows of a building in an earthquake. The entire foundation, which had been so carefully and devotedly constructed, crumbled within minutes of opening the book.
The key to finding one’s destiny is determined on how much time and effort you’re willing to sacrifice. In Robin Sloan’s Mr.Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, the author uses inquisitiveness to convey that destiny and self-discovery is a result of one’s curiosity. Sloan accomplishes this with the utilization of encrypted books, ordinary characters, and secret-societies.
At the age of eight I was reading at a college level. I had no particular interest in any particular subject, yet I was reading books that no grade schooler would normally look at, let alone comprehend. Literary works ranging from alchemy, to zoology could be found piled floor to ceiling in my bedroom. But try though I might, I was still a listless, quite boy with no particular interest in anything. I had yet to find something truly extraordinary locked between their pages. So, for lack of anything better to do, I kept digging. I tore my way through most of the school library and any other work of academia I could get my hands on. However I always found myself losing interest soon after I began.
Unmistakable recollections of books wind their way into my brain. Adventures and characters with which I once found great comfort urge me to pick up a new novel. Titles flash across my eyes calling me to reach for them. In the haste of the moment, I grasp a fraying hardcover off the shelf. Running my fingers across the surface of the cover, I feel the slight ridges of protruding letters. I peel back the hard cover to reveal a synopsis of what this particular story entails. With impatience and excitement, I devour the summary. In an instant I know that I have found the one--my soon to be next escape from the hectic world I call my life. Book in hand, I turn toward the leather chairs, seemingly waiting for me at the end of the row of shelves. Without taking my eyes away from the novel, I begin my descent into the withered pages. The peace that comes with the words told on the yellowing pages fills my heart. A smile full of pure joy stretches across my face as I’m whisked away, yet again, into another
A few times a week, my brother and I would go to the library to be read stories and to check out books to hold us over until our next visit. I cannot tell you all the books I read or stories I listened to. I more clearly remember the Potions class taught by Professor Dumbledore, of Harry Potter Series fame, than the words I read. But I remember I felt walking through the Library doors. Those days are the reason I have piles of books across my room, and more hiding in storage. Those days are the reason I find escape in page numbers, and for that, I’m forever grateful.