I’m the kind of person that has never been able to understand it when someone says to me “Oh, I don’t read”. The concept has always been unfathomable to me. Anyone who can read, does read, probably everyday – unless they’re trapped in a dark room somewhere with no glow-in-the-dark EXIT sign, and we should probably send help.
We read articles, messages, emails, tweets, road signs, shop names, subtitles, anything and everything that helps us navigate through our lives on a daily basis. Whether you read books or not, you still make use of your ability to read and you’d be literally lost without it.
I began reading at a relatively young age and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Addicted to the way letters flow into ideas and thoughts, simply through a sheet of paper. You can look into someone else’s imagination just by opening a book and turning a page. Before you know it you’ll be on a perfectly arranged adventure in another dimension, and all that you have to do to return home is
click your heels together lift your eyes or close the cover.
The first fantasy realm that still holds onto my heart is that of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For the next 12 years I was known as a Bookworm by everyone who knew me. If I wasn’t reading I was thinking about the next book I wanted to buy. Or lunch. But probably the book.
I would spend most of time making my way through all the fiction and fantasy books at my school library. If a book was good enough, I would read during lunch time and for most of the night. If I was asked what I do for fun, reading was my only answer that mattered.
Things changed when I moved schools in Grade 10. And I mean things changed drastically. There was no library at my new school. Can you imagine a school without a library? I was frazzled and frustrated. But nevertheless I still had some books to read at home. So I continued to read. For a while.
I had moved schools to take new subjects. French and Dance specifically. I was very behind (everyone else had started in Grade 7) and I had 3 years of class to catch up on. I had dance classes nearly every afternoon and boy-trouble soon became less a fantasy and more part of reality. Before I knew it, I stopped reading altogether.
I’m sad to say for around three to four years I didn’t finish a single book that I can remember. I became very absorbed with the story that my life had become. Next thing I found myself living in a different country and starting university. The Epic Reading Slump continued.
I don’t regret that part of my life. I lived more in reality and learned to balance it with my fantasy worlds (even if I do still daydream and zone out more than I’d like). I went through a lot of pain and loss and learned how to cope with it all, and I think I came out a bit stronger for it.
For the past year or so I have been a bit more relaxed and less absorbed with other people’s lives and their problems. Not constantly waiting for something dramatic to happen like a fight or a breakup. And when they did, I handled it better too. I also changed some of my priorities. Less focus on wasting time and a lot more on trying to be productive.
All of this somehow lead me back to reading. I missed parts of the old me. The girl who loved to read whenever she could. I even started writing this blog. I had always wanted to be a writer one day, but I had never been brave enough to try.
Last year I read 14 books, beating my goal of 6 on Goodreads. This year I started out with a goal of 15 and soon surpassed it and changed my goal to 30. Currently I have read 23 books and I know I’ll get a lot more finished in the December holidays that are coming up soon (in less than five weeks I’ll finally have a decent break).
I started writing more book reviews and it’s been quite interesting to reflect a little bit after reading a book. Usually I’d just start the next one straight away. I also regret not documenting how much I used to read when I was younger because now I really don’t know how much I used to read. I still think I’m reading a lot slower than before but that’s okay. I still have university and friends and family to spend time with.
My Instagram account also turned into a more bookish and creative environment than what I originally thought it would be, and I am quite in love with how it turned out. Turns out I adore writing poetry. This lead to me reading more poetry too, something I never used to do.
All the lovely booshish pictures are intimidating at times but they are so stunningly breathtaking that they encourage me to read even more. Rainbows of shelves and whimsical socks have proven to be very motivating when it comes to finding and reading new books (even the electronic versions).
I’ve also been reading a lot more Nonfiction than I’m used to and it’s simply fantastic. Our world isn’t as boring as I used to believe, and it has a lot of mysteries to uncover and stories to tell. I’ve also began noticing more about what goes on in the world and making realizations about the kind of life I want to live while I’m here.
Audio-books and podcasts made a grand entrance into my life as well. I didn’t think I would enjoy them as much I have been and it’s been an eye opening experience, leading me to contemporary voices that resonate with my old-soul. They also reminded me of the times my father would request that I read out loud for them while we were driving to a family vacation. Times that will forever be close to my heart.
Yesterday, I went to a Book Fair with a bunch of my friends and it was honestly one of the best days I’ve had this year. I don’t usually do very many social things in Dubai anymore. I was quite demotivated and more inclined to binge watch a TV show instead of setting a foot outside the house.
It was a smidgen startling but still sublime to spend time with friends and go on a book-hunting adventure together. One of my favourite parts of the day was learning more about why people like different kinds of books that I’ve never really been interested in. I’m a person who is not fond of change or stepping out of my comfort zone, but helping them look for the books they loved made me broaden my horizons.
All I can say is that I am eternally grateful for the knowledge and pleasure that books bring to our lives. They connect us in impossible ways. I still think that people who “Don’t Read” just haven’t found the right book.
What does reading mean to you?
Follow my blog on: