I’ve had this back-and-forth relationship with reading my entire life. When I was a kid, I used to love reading. I would happily devour a book of my choice, and I would even make it a point to read before bed. Then in middle school and high school I lost all interest in reading because I was given books that I had to read for school, and they were no longer my choice.
I have a memory from my sophomore year of high school where I was in Enriched English, and my teacher gave us a list of books we could read during the year that were approved. She gave us the option to read a book not on the list, as long as we talked to her about it first and got her approval. I remember walking up to her and requesting permission to read the book, “Red Dragon.” When she asked me who wrote the book, I proudly gave her the author’s name. She still didn’t know who I was talking about. I then told her that the book was the prequel to, “The Silence of the Lambs.” Once she heard this, her face changed and she said, “Absolutely not!” No reason was given, and I’ve wondered why not over the years. It didn’t matter to me because I still read the book in my spare time.
College And Pleasure Reading
Flash forward to college and my relationship with reading became even more strained. I read for classes, but never for my own pleasure. I could manage to flip through the latest issue of Cosmopolitan or some other magazine, but never an actual book. I didn’t even know what genre I preferred to read anymore because it felt like my choice on what to read had been stripped from me. It hadn’t been, but what did I know at that young age?
It wasn’t until I was working for a very well-known law firm here in town that I realized how hindered I truly was by my lack of enthusiasm with reading. One day, the entire office gathered at a bar not far from the office, and one of the owners of the firm sat across from me and asked me about the last book I read. I admitted to him that I couldn’t remember the last book I read and enjoyed. He became quiet and looked away. He then said that he read all the time and found it hard to not read in his spare time.
I felt ashamed that I couldn’t even discuss reading a book, or even the last page turner that caught my attention. This conversation with the owner/attorney caused me to really sit and think about what I used to enjoy reading and if I should start picking up books again.
When I Read “To Kill A Mockingbird”
Not long after this interaction with the attorney, I finally picked up a book. I chose to read, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You may be thinking about how most people read that in high school. I’m not like most people. It wasn’t a requirement for me in school. I remember trying to read it in my early 20s, and I felt like I wasn’t ready for the book. I had seen the movie, starring Gregory Peck, so I knew what it was about. It sounds weird to say, but the best way to explain what took me so long to read the book is that I wasn’t ready. I wish I had a different way to explain it, but I don’t. I began to read the classic novel, and soon I was welcomed by the world of Atticus Finch (still one of my favorite literary characters), Boo Radley, Scout and Jem. I fell in love with the book and was sad when I finished reading it.
While I was pregnant with my son, I decided to read the “50 Shades of Grey” books. I wanted to see what all the hype was about a few years before. I won’t give you my full opinion on the books, but I’ll say that they were an easy read, and I was happy to get rid of the books.
Over the years, I’ve been working on my relationship with reading. I’m always looking into books that sound interesting, ones that get major attention in the media for one reason or another, and ones that I’m referred. What I’ve discovered is that I prefer fiction. I want to be in another world and not think about what I need to do at the office, at home, any deadlines or bills that need to be paid. I can be in another place and time, and just be an observer.
What Are You Reading Now?
At the moment, I’m reading the first novel in the Sweet Magnolias series. I’m a big fan of the show on Netflix, and I wanted to read the books the show is based off. I also wanted to be able to get my fix while waiting for the next season. So far, I’m enjoying the book, and it’s also an easy read.
May is Get Caught Reading Month, and I wonder what my team members here at Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling are reading. Hopefully it’s more than a code book or even a children’s book when tucking their kids into bed at night. But you never know.
What kind of books do you like to read? Are you a magazine type of person? No shame if blogs are your jam. As long as you’re reading and enriching your brain, that’s what matters.
Whatever you like to read, don’t be afraid to be caught reading! Get comfortable and read something that interests you, something you like, or something new that you never tried before. Let someone watch you discover a new literary find, and then let them ask you questions about it. You may just inspire someone else to regain their love of reading too.