Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and didn’t do anything you regret. 😉 I decided I needed another challenge. Along with the Read Harder challenge, I will be joining the Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight team and the 2015 Discussion Challenge.
My aim is to post at least once a week (which I think would put me in the Gift of the Gab category), so let’s start right now.
I started thinking earlier today about why I love reading so much. Ever since I was a wee one, I’ve loved reading. It was (and remains) the perfect escape. Having a bad day? I can find a great spot to read and get lost in a good book or imagine myself in some exotic locale. Feeling like I need a little more romance in my life? Perfect, there’s always some good book for that and for a few hours I can get caught up in the hero and heroine’s love story and eventual HEA (or Happily Ever After).
But what started my love of reading? I could probably trace it back to when I was in kindergarten at Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School in downtown Philadelphia and my teacher, Mrs. Albert, gave me a copy of The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Somehow, I taught myself to read with that book. I’d sit for hours with it, not letting any of my classmates have a go at it, and get lost in Ferdinand’s story. Ferdinand and I were pretty similar–we were both day-dreamers and prone to thinking of other things when we should have been focusing on things like work or lessons. We both preferred our own company even though we liked hanging out with others–we’d probably be classified as extroverted introverts.
Once I learned to read, there was no stopping me. I read everything–the newspaper, text on packaging, road signs, you name it. And my curiosity about the world around me increased. I wanted to know more, see more. I read Madeline and suddenly I began pestering my parents about going to Paris. I read Curious George and I wanted a pet monkey. I read Black Beauty and fell in love with horses; every week I wrote letters to my grandparents begging them to help me get a horse that could live in my parents’ garage. (I had to settle for getting to ride a horse every now and then when I visited them during the summer).
Reading was my way of escaping dull days–especially since there weren’t many kids in my parents’ neighbourhood who were my age. Either everyone was my older sister’s age or my younger brother’s age, and my school friends lived in other neighbourhoods. And when I was older and noticed that all was not well in my parents’ relationship, reading let me escape into other people’s lives and I could imagine myself living in a castle in Scotland or on an adventure in the African savannahs.
Nowadays I write my own novels as well as read other writers’ novels. I love it when a writer pulls me into a complicated story or writes a passage that’s so simple yet still so descriptive that I can picture everything the narrator sees and experiences. And it’s this escape into the imagination that is one of the aspects of reading that I appreciate most. Sometimes we all need an escape–from reality, from life, from whatever–and reading gives us that without costing very much or requiring a passport or the hassle of an airport security check. It’s portable, it can be popped into our handbag and off we go. You can enjoy it fully-clothed or naked, with a glass of wine or a mug of tea, in the comfort of your own home or on the subway.
And the best thing is when you meet someone else who’s reading the same book as you and you can bond over the characters and plot. Ahh…now that’s a wonderful moment.
So tell me, what are you reading today? I’m nearly done reading Fix You by Carrie Elks, and I’m loving it so far. 🙂