Fifth grade was a time of change for me. I transitioned from a one-room country school to a private religious school in town. I went from going to the public library once a month with my school, to having access to a library at school daily. The library at school was somewhat overwhelming. I remember being mesmerized by The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. To this day, I don’t know if I ever actually finished that book. (Thus the reason it is on my “to be read list” now.)
In high school, I remember dreading some of the assigned reading while devouring the other. The Scarlet Letter was an amazing book. I enjoyed the discussions on the morality issues presented in the book. I read most of what was assigned, while I would bet that many of my classmates simply faked it. While I don’t claim to have been a “future English major,” at that time, I did enjoy the challenge of reading material that wasn’t necessarily easy to get through.
As a freshman in college, I learned that English and reading were subjects I excelled in. I selected courses that were challenging with authors that I had not heard of previously. I was so overwhelmed in my first literature class, that I was afraid to speak. Eventually, I pulled myself out of my quiet state and starting discussing my opinions of the literature we were reading. It was amazing to be in a classroom where your opinion was valued and encouraged. This was a definite turning point in my reading career.
Once I graduated college, I renewed my desire for casual reading. I selected biographies of famous people and read about their lives. In addition, I learned that at stressful times in my life, I wanted a book that wasn’t too “deep.” I still wanted to read, I just didn’t want to have to put a lot of extra effort into understanding the book.
As I have grown older, I have noticed I don’t tend to jump on the bandwagons for popular books. At the time the Harry Potter series came out, my aunt was standing in line for the next book. I was not “refusing,” but not rushing out to purchase the books. I honestly didn’t think I’d like them. They weren’t “my thing.” When my daughter decided she wanted to read them, however, I encouraged her and bought each book. She was so excited about the books that she encouraged me to read them too and thus, I became hooked on that series.
The saying “life’s a journey,” is a popular one and it is true of many things including the journey in reading. I still love my regular books, but I know have an ereader and check out audiobooks from the library when I travel. I fill my “extra” time with stories of escape and also books for professional development. Both of my daughters are now avid readers. It’s a passion we can all share.