“A good book is never finished—it goes on whispering to you from the wall.”-Virginia Wolff
Reading: a topic people either despise or love with their entire beings. Thankfully, I happen to fall into the latter category since I possess a love for books rooted so deeply inside of me that it has become normal. The sky is blue, the grass is green and I love to read. These are just the facts of life.
My affection for books originates from early childhood years spent learning to read with Dr. Seuss and the “Junie B. Jones” books, and it only got worse from there. Looking back on it now, I realize that I probably didn’t have much choice in the matter since both of my parents have this trait, as well. I was doomed from the start, but I don’t mind one bit.
As I got older and began reading numerous books in middle and high school, I found that there were so many books worth getting my hands on, and I devoured each one without ever feeling fully satisfied. The library became one of my all-time favorite places, as I loved being surrounded by both books and other people that I had at least one thing in common with: loving books as much as I do. It got to the point where before I ever finished a book, I would already be searching for my next read just to make sure I would never go without having one in my hands. My fondness for reading only grew with the help of a couple of my English teachers in middle and high school that I greatly adored and who further opened my eyes to a deeper understanding of books and their true meanings (shoutout to two of my absolute favorites, Mrs. Hurt and Mrs. Smith!).
When I think of how much reading has impacted me and how I view the world, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for everything that books have gotten me through. Some people may think it sounds silly that mere words on paper could affect me so deeply, but I would challenge them to set down their skepticism for a little while and instead pick up the right book for them. I am a strong believer that there is a book out there for everyone, but for me, these three books were monumental in my reading journey. When I read these books I stepped out of this world and instead entered a whole new one. Trust me, there is no feeling quite like it.
1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
When I first read this book in eighth grade, I did not realize the full magnitude of its meaning and how much it would impact me to this day. This is one of the first books that I remember because of how it made me feel, and it exposed me to real and scary situations that still happen today. This story is told from the perspective of a young girl, and I really resonated with her thoughts and reactions to the events that took place in this book. I definitely recommend adding this one to your reading list.
2. “All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven
“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”
I read this book as a sophomore in high school, and I am forever thankful to whatever brought me to this book at that specific time of my life. This book displays how powerful feelings of grief and depression can be, and how they can deeply affect a teenager. This story is told from two vastly different perspectives, and I still think about how jarring and eye-opening this read was. I will never forget how this book made me feel.
3. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
“There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow–that, in short, we are all going.”
This book may just be my favorite novel of all time. This is a perfect coming of age story that accurately captures the highs, lows and everything in between that comes with navigating growing up. This book has so many unique layers that I peeled back chapter after chapter until it inevitably came to an end. This book holds so much meaning to me since I read it at such a crucial time of my life, and I try to reread it at least once a year so I can never forget the feelings that this book gave me. I hope everyone experiences this at least once in their lifetime.
I have read quite a few books in my 19 years of life, but I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the incredible books this world has to offer. This incites extreme feelings of both excitement and disappointment inside of me; although I am so ready for my next read and how I will leave a piece of myself behind with it, I am also deeply saddened that I will not have the opportunity to read every single book that has ever been written. With this fact, I know that I have to choose wisely the few books that I will be fortunate enough to get my hands on, and I will be thankful that I got to sit with each one and absorb its words for that short amount of time. I owe so much of who I am to reading, and I cannot wait until I am able to pick up a new book and experience it in all of its glory.