I’ve always loved books. They are magic bound up in paper, and that’s how I think of them. A whole world can be contained in those pages, with people and lives and things that feel so real. It amazes me that those scratches on the pages can add up to something so powerful.
While I’ve always loved books, I have realized recently that I haven’t always loved reading. I certainly grew to love it in high school, when I spent all of my lunch periods in the library because I had no friends. The reading made me feel a little less lonely. But somewhere toward the end of college I lost that love.
I think I just came to think of reading as a chore. I read for class, not for fun. I often enjoyed the reading (when I actually did it instead of turning to SparkNotes), but I didn’t love it. I didn’t get lost in it.
I did occasionally read a book outside of what was required for class, but I was always doing it more because I thought that I should. I felt guilty for not reading. I was, after all, an English major and a fervent lover of books. It would take me forever to finish anything, and that was if I finished it at all. Last summer I started the first Game of Thrones novel, and it took me four months. Granted, it is a long book and I read really slowly. But four months is long for any book.
The book I just finished took me five days. And I did that while reading about five hours a day for my grad school courses. It’s strange to go from not reading at all to reading all day.
I can’t remember the last time I actually wanted to stay up late reading. But I had to make myself go to bed last night. I was mad at myself when I had to get up at 7am this morning, but it’s hard to be mad at yourself for doing something that felt so good. I finished the book tonight…instead of doing required reading. So I’m sure I’ll be mad at myself again tomorrow.
But it was just so beautiful. I cried when I finished it, not because it was sad, but because I loved it so much. I hugged the book, as if I was hugging the characters inside. (By the way, this book is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz… and it is fantastic! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes young adult fiction)
I didn’t just love the book though; I loved the process of reading it. Every second. It made me feel so many things. I got so lost in it at one point that I just looked around my room and thought for a second that it was Thursday afternoon and I should open the blinds… then I remembered that it was about 9pm on Wednesday.
This is all a problem though, because I just do not have the time to read for fun! Even reading this book for just the past five days was really irresponsible and it has put me behind. Not that I regret it, but I can’t afford to let it happen again. If I can’t read in moderation, then I can’t read at all. And the past few days have proved to me that I have even less self-restraint than I thought I had.
I’m so glad that I’ve learned to really love reading again, I just hope I can hold on to that love even as I trudge through dense texts on learning theories and schooling inequalities.