Monday, August 16, 2010

Finding the bookish self in you

Readers, I am curious. How did you learn to love to read? Can you pinpoint a specific moment, a specific book, or a specific teacher? Did it come easily to you, or did you teach yourself to enjoy it?

As I have thought back to instances that have contributed to my love of reading, a couple of memories come to mind. I distinctly remember-- me at five years old at a family reunion in California. My cousin had outgrown a lot of her younger reading level books, and my aunt told all of us kids to take a plastic bag and help ourselves to them. I remember walking down to the basement, bag in hand, and seeing stacks upon stacks of books, piled up on counters twice my height. In all likelihood, there were not nearly so many books, but that's how I remember it. All the covers were torn off, and my cousin had scrawled her name across the first pages in every book. I didn't know what I was grabbing, but I grabbed 'em, put them into my bag. I remember another cousin, one I had never met before, telling me to stop -- I should leave the books for someone who could actually read them. I was upset. My aunt or my mother or someone must have reassured me -- take whatever you want, and I did.

I remember, before I went to all-day school, going to reading time at the local library. I remember school book fairs and excitedly flipping through each year's catalog, drawing a big, sharpie circle around every book I wanted to buy --- which was a lot.

So, what early memories of reading do you have?