50 books and reading: what are books to me?
2011 July 12 § 1 Comment
A little over one year ago, I struck out in a challenge to defy Steve Jobs’ comments that people don’t read anymore. In the last hours before June became July, I turned the last pages of my 50th book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and found myself facing a mixture of emotions.
Pride: Because for the first time in several years, I read in my “free time,” I visited libraries, and I sought out books by authors I had never read before. I made forays into non-fiction literature – for my classes, of course, but also because I wanted to learn more about this world and the people around me.
Accomplishment. Fifty books! Need I say more?
Defiance. Take that, Steve Jobs. (Plus, if people didn’t read any more, would the Kindle and his brethren be so phenomenally popular?)
But a little bit of disappointment, too: I didn’t challenge myself in my reading material as much as I would have liked. I did a lot of nonfiction, yes, and a bit of adult fiction that was new and challenging to me. But during my most stressful times, I fell back on childhood comforts provided by Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey, relaxed my eyes on the wild expressions and star illustrations of manga.
I’m not ashamed of my love for these mediums, but part of me wishes I had challenged myself to read more, read new things, read people I’ve never spoken to before. I can only speculate on whether it was laziness, reticence, or a bit of both that prevented me from branching out and becoming one of those girls who always had a book tucked under her arm everywhere she walked.
I’ve decided to make some new goals for my second journey.
- I want to challenge myself. I want to dare to try more nonfiction outside of my class texts.
- I want to experience more fantasy. As an aspiring fantasy fiction author, this can be considered research as much as leisure. But I have read so few of the “classic” fantasy authors and titles – something I wish to remedy.
- I will dive into my greatest love, history. There are dozens of historical fiction titles that I’ve been itching to read, and I want to experience more cultures, time periods, and diversity through these titles.
- I will read popular fiction – but only to a point. I think popular fiction is wonderful, but there are a vast number of under-appreciated authors and titles that I want to seek out, find, enjoy, and share.
A friend told me that I was the only person she knew who owned books and read books for fun. To me, that is the saddest thing I can think of for friends and acquaintances of my generation. Because I have experienced, learned, and challenged my creativity so much through this hobby and passion of mine, and I think it’s unfortunate that others don’t find the same pleasure and joy that I do in it. Books and libraries have always been a safe place for me – a refuge and shelter, as much as a ship sailing to new adventures, and a timeless map that has taken me all over the world through time and space.
These past two weeks, I’ve finished roughly five more books. I’ve become that girl who always has her nose stuck in a book, who can make her way to class without tripping over the curb or walking into any doors and poles. Someone asked me if that – bookish, introverted, nerdy – was the kind of image I wanted to project.
You’re damn right, I do.
I’m proud of my love and my books. I hope I can continue to have this passionate relationship with them for years and years, and grow old with them together.
How many people are so blessed to find their love so early, so fully?