I have a confession. I’m one of those nerdy people that love to read. Growing up I had shelves and shelves full of books in my room-picture books, novels, nonfiction, fiction, magazines, series, and texts. I didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was young (we got approximately three Canadian channels) and being an only child I often had to find ways to entertain myself. My parents read to me daily since before I can remember, and once I could read myself they passed the torch and I read to them. I can still remember laying in my bunk bed, in my old house, listening to my Dad read various Dr. Seuss books. I can picture him stretched out on the floor, propped up against my bed, with the pile of books I had chosen for him to read that night. I can hear his voice as he made the words and characters come alive, whether that be the Sneetches, the Whos, or the Oncelers.
I’m now a lot older than that little girl who devoured Nancy Drew and the Baby Sitters Club (anyone? Anyone?) However, my passion for reading has stayed the same. A majority of my reading time now is spent pouring over textbooks and studying theories instead of reading for pleasure. The bookshelves in my room are still full of books-except now they’re filled with C.S. Lewis, Durkheim, and Marx. And okay, there’s still an entire shelf of Nicholas Sparks in there. Regardless, my love of books and words and the magical worlds you gain access to when you start a new novel is still as strong as ever. Books have a special power about them. They can lead you to new places, teach you new things, uncover fresh perspectives, and re-light your imagination. Every time you crack open a new book you gain something with every page you finish.
I look forward to next month when I’m finished with school for a bit; to catch up on my reading list that has been shoved to the back of my book bag since I started college. I can’t wait to grab some sunglasses and a mason jar of lemonade and park myself in the sunshine with a new novel (seriously, I’m drooling right now just thinking about it). When I was about 8 I spoke at the International Reading Association’s annual conference in Florida. My uncle was the president of the association at the time (yeah, reading really does run in the family) and he asked me to share a little bit about myself. Of course, being 8 years old, I was terrified-right down to my freshly painted hot pink nails and my too-tightly braided hair. But, I did end up sharing my favorite quote at the time-and one that I still love:
“The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the smarter you grow. The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice, when speaking your mind or making a choice.”