Yesterday was World Book Day and while I posted a couple stacks of books on my Instagram account, they aren't my favorites. They are just a small portion of the books lying around my house...which are pretty much everywhere.
Books are my first love, my first passion. In college my dream was to work at a publishing company, reading all kinds of new manuscripts, working with authors all over the country who just wanted a shot to get their words read by the world. I'm not sure if I've given up on that dream, but I certainly have let life take me in other directions. However, on days like yesterday when we are reminded of the importance books and authors have on the world, I think about how books have influenced my own life and the journey I took to becoming a book addict.
I can still remember learning to read. It was my grandma Kathleen who taught me. The summer after first grade, she brought over her childhood copy of "Dick and Jane" and sat with me to pronounce the words until I started pronouncing them myself. I can still smell her Extra Spearemint gum she chews to this day. I remember being so proud of myself when I could whip through the pages and read aloud to my older brother. Slowly, I moved on to read a children's Bible she gave me, but by then the summer was pretty much over and I set the books aside until years later when she took me to the library for a summer reading camp.
She would watch my brother and me in the summer after she retired. To say we were a handful is the understatement of the century. To this day, we can't be around each other for more than a day without fighting and it was even worse as children. I think the only way my grandma knew how to cope was to send us to separate bedrooms in the afternoon for at least an hour of reading. Little did I know, my brother wasn't actually reading. He napped. I, the good little girl I was, diligently read every afternoon. Sometimes longer because I was at a good part.
Sadly, though, that wasn't the beginning of my book obsessession. Again, when the summer faded into fall, I put the books down. I wasn't a recreational reader during school and honestly I was barely a scholarly reader growing up. However, one afternoon my junior year of high school I stepped into our school library and picked up a book I randomly saw on a new release shelf. I can't even remember why I stopped in the library. I feel like I was just waiting in line for something and the book caught my eye. I didn't go in there looking for this book. It was a really random thing for me to even be in the library anyways. The book was called "The Boys Next Door" by Jennifer Elchols - a young adult chick lit book.
What I didn't know then, that I know now, is it was the first book that left me book drunk. If you're a reader, you probably know the feeling. It's this sense of wanting more, but knowing you don't need more. It's a feeling of calmness and restlessness all at once. You heart is probably still beating a little, your mind is probably racing, trying to imprint every piece of the story to memory. And all you want is to read the book again for the first time so you can feel this feeling forever. And then there is the sadness that comes with knowing you will never get this same feeling from this book ever again because you can't ever relive that same feeling from the same book. So then all you can do is frantically search for more books from the same author, from different authors, about anything and everything, just so you can feel the high one more time. It's really an addicting thing.
As I'm always looking for my next high, please send any and all book sessions my way!
*** Note: "The Boys Next Door" is now titled "Endless Summer"