Reading

Where It All Leads…

August 9

Every August 9, we bibliophiles are encouraged to eschew electronics (except for E-readers) and curl up. with our favorite books or the top of TBR pile and read, preferable publicly. Basically, what we do every day,

Most book lovers aren’t shy about proselytizing when it comes to books. I certainly am not, after all, I was an English teacher. I can wax poetic about various genres and usually did on a daily basis. Even those works I don’t like but had to teach (I’m looking at you, Romeo and Juliet) have their good points.

The hardest question I’ve ever faced was: “What’s your favorite book?”

Like most other bibliophiles, I can’t do it. Same with favorite author. It’s not that we’re indecisive. It’s just there are too many possibilities, and in my case, I was always looking for the one book that would set a reluctant reader’s heart aflame. It’s not possible to do that if I only loved a few books or authors.

Nothing made me happier than when a student ran in to share a book they had read and loved. I always made it a priority to read those books and found many excellent authors that way.

Watching a kid fall in love with a new book–and connect with the characters–made all the other BS that goes with teaching completely worthwhile. One of my favorite moments as a teacher was when a female student who espoused complete disdain for graphic novels became enamored with Watchmen to the point that when she read the end, (You know, the thing about Rorschach.) she came to my classroom in the middle of another class, opened the door shouted, “I hate you,” then slammed the door. I laughed because she was right to hate me. I had handed her a world in the form of a book, a world she loved, and it had broken her heart.

(For those who might think I should have disciplined her–why? She was upset, and she really didn’t hate me. Besides, my freshmen were so curious as to what would make a student react this way–and I would laugh about it–that the library ran out of copies of Watchmen by the next day, and I had to lend out my own copies. Teacher win.)

But back to the title of this piece, where it all leads to, this love of words and stories. It leads to many things, mostly all good. I made a list of where it has led me:

  1. 10 bookshelves throughout my house, and I have pared down since retiring.
  2. Two children that are still voracious readers, even into adulthood. One that reads whenever he can and turned his partner on to good books, and one that reads when the mood strikes him. During our recent beach foray, I spotted him reading Dune.
  3. Former students who are now friends that share books recommendations with me.
  4. Giving books as gifts. I always give them for baby showers, and often for birthdays.
  5. A well used library card.
  6. A love of book thrifting.
  7. Fangirling over writers. I have been fortunate enough to meet such luminaries as Nicholas Sparks and Maya Angelou.
  8. Raising writers. Two of my children write when time allows. It’s only a matter of time before they pursue formal publication. I also know of a least three former students who are still chasing their dream of publication.
  9. Writing. The stories I read inform and ignite stories of my own.
  10. 7 novels, 4 novellas, and 3 shorts stories, with more in the works.

So today–and every day–get out there and read, regardless of the consequences.