Sunday, February 02, 2014


For most of my life, I have had a deep love for paper and words. Long before I understood what the combination of words and paper would mean to me, I kept a stash of paper with me at all times. My parents often talked about the folds of paper that I would carry under my fat, toddler arm like a purse. An actual purse would be stuffed under the other arm. I toddled about the yard and house completely unable to lift my arms without losing my two prized possessions - my paper and my purse.

I learned to read at a relatively young age. I was hooked. There wasn't anything that I didn't want to read. I looked forward to Christmas and my birthday because I knew my grandfather would give me a sum of money. That meant I could buy more books. I figured out that I could only get to and from the library with assistance from adults, so I would buy books that I wouldn't mind reading more than once to pass the time between trips to the library.

 My father would take me to the old library in the Summer months. I thought it was haunted, but the whole building smelled like my imagination felt. My mother preferred the newer library. I remember being annoyed that they didn't want to go to the library every day. Looking back, I realize that I should have been aiming for books much longer than the ones I picked. A Sweet Valley Twins book or a cheesy R.L. Stine novella was only going to consume a few hours of my time. I fully understood what I should have been reading shortly after my older brother began high school. He had novels assigned to him to read for school! This one fact made me long to be a high school student too. And so, I began to pick up his leftover paperbacks. 

Those completed high school assignments changed the way I read. Reading became laborious in the best way imaginable. It is religious for me. I prefer to read with paper and pen nearby. As I work my way through the story, I make notes about things I want to read more about; words I don't know; sentence structure that widens my eyes; and any other thought that needs to be preserved. If I read a book and don't need a dictionary, the book wasn't worth reading. I do read some of those fluff novels every year purely for the entertainment value even though I know that it didn't add any wrinkles to my brain.

In fact, I think I will go read a book now. Just thinking about it makes me want to read. What are your all time favorite books?