A Portrait of a Reader

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a ton of books in my room. I’ve always had at least one bookshelf in my room, and they have always been close to overflowing. I have always considered myself “a reader”. My grandmother was an English teacher, and was instrumental in my upbringing, which could’ve helped cultivate my love for books. Growing up, my grandmother and mom were always reading to me, singing to me and telling me stories. This led to me looking for more. I loved going to the library and looking at all of the books, and imagining all of the possible stories that I could read. The thing I love most about books is that it seems like there are an infinite amount. No one person can read every book, so everyone has a different background with books. I feel like no one has read the all of the exact same books.

I don’t just love to read, I love the way books smell, and the feeling you get when you crack open a brand new one. I have never had an e-book or Kindle for this very reason. I was always taught to handle books with care and respect, and have carried that lesson with me throughout my life. When I was younger I read picture books over and over again, and I quickly graduated to chapter books. The first chapter books I recall reading were The Magic Treehouse series. Once, in third grade I was able to read an entire one in just one day. Soon after this feat, I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. That book quite literally changed by life (reading it revealed I have an astigmatism). But really, I fell in love with reading all over again it seemed after reading that book. I quickly finished the series (which required many nights up past my bedtime reading) and moved on to more series. I have always been drawn to fantasy, and thankfully those are typically written as a series. It is rare that I read a book that does not a least have a sequel. Fantasy books fuel my wish for a more adventurous life, and a lot of times my hopeless romantic tendencies. Series keep that fantasy world alive for a little while longer than a single book, which is why I think I’m drawn to them. I like to follow the same characters for long periods of time, instead of only seeing them through one adventure.

With series, sometimes you have to wait a long time for the next book to come out, so I re-read frequently to remind myself of the story. I have re-read the Harry Potter books at least three times. I find myself going back to old books that I read in middle or high school to recapture the sense of nostalgia that I may be missing in the moment. Sometimes I will start several books that I have already read, but then put them down to read something new. I just need a little taste of the story to remind me why I loved it so much, and to put me back in the mindset I was in when I originally read it.

Sadly my reading habits have changed quite a bit from when I first discovered the magic of Harry Potter. I don’t have the time that I had in elementary school to just sit down and read purely for enjoyment. I am always looking for the book that can give me that back, and will make me want to fill every free moment I have reading it. Every once in awhile I find that book but with all the reading for school that and English major (and History minor) endures, it is very difficult to read for enjoyment. I still love to read, and hope for the day when I can read multiple books a year just for enjoyment again.