New Adventures in Reading
It's no secret that I love books. I love the feeling of a hardback book in my hand, the smell of pages as you flip them, the way they all look on the shelves different sizes and colors all side-by-side. I also love the feelings of reading a really good book, the anticipation as you start an adventure with new characters, the desire to read well into the night to find out what happens next, and the inevitable melancholy of reaching the end of a well-told story.
This love affair of mine, that takes up lots of spare change and spare space, started from a young age. I remember being surrounded by books as a child since I inherited book hoarding ways from my parents. I have many fond memories of my dad taking us to the Downtown Fort Worth Library on a Saturday morning with my sisters. We would listen to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," and "Click and Clack" on NPR as we drove there and back, and would spend what felt like hours carefully picking out books. Getting old favorites, trying something new, and always checking out more than I could read in a couple of weeks until they were due back. I used to drive my dad crazy as I checked out the same Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books over and over. I remember him asking me why I didn't want something new, something different. I have no idea what I used to respond, but now I see there is something comforting about a familiar story. It's like going home, or curling up in a familiar chair at your favorite coffee shop, or getting a hug from a best friend. There is peace that comes with knowing what is going to happen.
After college, being an English major for four years, I burned out on reading. I had spent so much of my time reading and thinking about the books and what they meant and writing about them, that I didn't want to read after I finished. For several months I enjoyed the reading equivalent of cotton candy, maybe venturing into "People" magazine, or if I was feeling like challenging myself, "Texas Monthly." After that I ventured back into some familiar territory, reading old favorites, and young adult novels like "The Hunger Games." Recently, a friend commented that just owning a book was often way to close in her mind to having actually read the book. And I realized that was true for myself. I have many books on my shelf that I have never attempted. They were given to me as gifts, picked up in bookstores because I have always wanted to read it, or passed on from my dad as he has pared down his collection (at least getting rid of duplicates). So, I am attempting to jump back into the world of deep books and away from the warm and familiar land of the known. To go on new adventures and become friends with new characters and maybe find melancholy at the end of a new favorite.