I believe God has made me a voracious reader. During my fourth grade year, I single handedly read all the books in the classroom and devoured whole sections of the library in middle school. I would read anything, from Tale of Two Cities to Jane Eyre to the Iliad and everything in between. Instead of grumbling and bemoaning my misery in life when my English teacher assigned reading books to us, I eagerly anticipated each turn of the page and lamented when they forbade me to read ahead. I have had a deep love of the written word ingrained into my very soul, and even now, at sixteen, I still fastidiously pour over books and articles with engrossing zeal. Nowadays, I choose to spend more of my brainpower on research, often by reading article after article on Wikipedia (which in my opinion, is an excellent and mostly reliable site) in what I regard as a guilty pleasure of absorbing information on a myriad of subjects.
My rapturous delight in reading mostly comes back to my parents, I suppose. Every night, and I mean EVERY night, my dad or mom would put me to bed and read me a book to sleep. Now although I’d like to say my parents were reading me War and Peace and The Wealth of Nations when I was just a little tyke, in actuality, my childhood perusal was more on the lines of Beep Beep Sheep in a Jeep and The Little Engine That Could. But regardless of the sophistication of my reading material, my parents certainly took on an often trying endeavor of instilling in me a love of education and learning. I looked forward to reading with my parents, be it scriptures from the Bible or National Geographic articles, with great anticipation and as my reading improved, soon I was reading to them.
My reading skills escalated when I graduated to chapter books and started reading the first Harry Potter book with my parents when I was seven. We were going through tough financial times then, and one of my most cherished memories as a child was cuddling up with my parents in their bed and reading the Bible, then we’d read a chapter or two of The Sorcerer’s Stone. I would beg my amused parents in vain that we read the next chapter, then wait in eager anticipation for the following night when I’d hear more about misadventures at Hogwarts.
I suppose the Harry Potter Series was like a gateway drug to hard literature because after that, I began reading all sorts of books, classics included. I quickly tore through the Little House on the Prairie series, then moving on to bolder fiction like To Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, All Creatures Great and Small, and The Swiss Family Robinson. I read the Bible cover to cover three times.
When I entered high school, the demands of classwork and my studies began to force me to postpone reading for a while, and I was devastated and suffering what I most keenly refer to as “withdrawal symptoms”. But being absorbed into the hustle and bustle of school did not mean I stopped reading, I soon took to pouring my entire devotion into my assigned texts. I compelled my mind to find harder, more blatantly philosophical books fascinating, like 1984, Catcher in the Rye, and Lord of the Flies. The more I read these more difficult books, the more my vocabulary grew until it reached its zenith with Pride and Prejudice, where I learned how to dance around a sentence’s meaning with long, descriptive words like “providence”, ”thus” and “hitherto” until it took my gracious readers a couple rereading’s to understand the stated sentiment of my declaration.
My love of reading is what I think has given me a love of writing. How else is one supposed to learn to do something well if one does not study the works of the greats? I hope I can impress in my children a love of reading and writing, because I believe that an appreciation of writing is essential in being a well-rounded person. I thank God for giving me a love of reading and wonderful parents who exposed me to it.
Please leave a comment with your favorite books!