My Love for Reading Books
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are” is a quote from Mason Cooley which has always stuck with me. Reading was my escape. Reading was the only way I could shut out the world and create my own. Growing up, I was a shy and introverted kid, to the point I had a hard time making friends. My only friends were the characters in my books and the voices in my head. For as long as I could remember, books have always been a part of my life.
My love for reading first came from my father. A retired pharmacist and full-time nerd. Most of his time is spent in his study, reading, or talking our heads off with his newest obsession. He was a happy old soul who lit up every room he walked into. His love for learning was contagious. He always encouraged us to be eager to learn. There was a bookcase that sat in our living room filled to the brim with books. All sorts of random things my father collected. Magazines, cookbooks, history books, and every genre you could think of. “New books! come and get 'em” my father would yell out every time he came home. He always made sure we never spent more than an hour on the tv or computer. My parents made us read each night before bed, our education was the most important thing to them. Both being immigrants and leaving their home country due to war, my parents made it their priority to create better lives for us. They both knew the importance of knowledge and made sure to instill a love for learning in us. We were not rich but my parents gave us everything we needed. Creating a life they didn't get to have for us. I'll forever be grateful.
We moved around a lot. Jumping from state to state, making it hard to connect with people so I just ended up not doing it. We’d leave each state after being there for 2 years. When my parents announced that we were going to settle down and build a life in Minnesota, I was shocked, to say the least. We moved to Mankato in the summer of 2012. A quiet, monotonous town. Never really had anything going on nor was anything about that town memorable. The school was tiny, mundane, and lifeless. Making friends was always a challenge for me but in this little town, it felt impossible. Everyone was already in a friend group and I don't think they wanted to make room for more. Not only was the school cliquey, so was the whole town. I didn't think they liked outsiders. I gave up on trying to make friends and just stayed to myself. The school was annoying and so were the teachers. I hated them for forcing me back into reality everytime I tried to avoid real life by reading. I don't dislike people very often but I hated my English teacher. He was a thin weird old man, bitter and sad with ash-blond hair and piercing grey eyes. I think he found joy in the misery of others. He would constantly fail students and had almost impossible assignments. He made writing assignments that would make even the most skilled writers stress out. Reading assignments that left students lost and confused. Exams that had nothing to do with the study guides and had no chances of passing. Each time I'd ask him a question, I was left even more confused than before. I dreaded going to his class so I'd always try taking the long way to class, dragging my feet. After the school year ended, my love for literature diminished little by little. I noticed I didn't read as much and couldn't write a paper to save my life. The effects of a mediocre teacher are astounding.
The summer dragged. Time felt like it wasn't moving. I was always bored so I usually went on walks to the park by myself and spent time taking in the beauty of nature. I loved seeing the sun peeking through the trees as it set. The sky lit up in a dazzling color of crimson and orange. It was breathtaking and never ceased to amaze me. I decided to go to the library one day out of boredom. As I was looking around, there was a book that had caught my eye because of its stunning cover art. I checked it out and rode my bike to the park. The park was packed with kids running around laughing happily as they played. I sat on a nearby swing and started reading. It had been a while since I read anything so it took a while to adjust and focus on the task at hand. The beginning of the book was boring and was taking forever to get to the good stuff. After 20 minutes of trying to force it, I was finally engrossed. Time vanished and the world around me had disappeared. When I finally put the book down, it was dark out. I was so occupied and captivated in reading that I had lost track of time. My parents hated us being out late. I got scolded when I arrived home and got grounded but for some odd reason, I wasn't mad about it. I ran up to my room and opened my book once again, reveling in it. I was reminded how much I enjoyed it. The days flew by and before I knew it, summer was over.
School started but I still had no luck in making friends or forming any connections over the summer. I was okay by myself so it didn't affect me nor did it matter but my parents encouraged me to at least try. I didn't care for many human relations because my books were entertaining enough. Every time I picked up a new book, I was transported into a new world and a new adventure had begun. I could be anyone, anything, and anywhere I wanted. I could run away too far lands and into magical realms. I could talk to animals or go on riveting quests. I could live life from someone else's perspective and feel all their emotions. I could live in the past, present, and future. It was my portal to another universe. It was a way to escape my boring reality. I enjoyed the company of books and never felt alone. “A reader lives a thousand lives. The one who does not read lives only one.”