I’ve always been an avid reader. If there is such a thing as a book chromosome, I have two of them. My parents were quick to catch on to this when my first word was “hi,” and my next one was “book.” I’m sure “mommy” and “daddy” came after that since they were the ones who bought me all the books. They read me everything from Green Eggs and Ham to Madeline to Amelia Bedilia. But soon enough, I got my own library card at the Pitman Library and never looked back.
I like to seek out other bookworms and find out what they are reading. I’ve been known to check out other people’s bookshelves in their homes and offices for recommendations. And when I interview people for jobs in communications, I often ask who their favorite author is or what is their favorite book to read. If they can’t provide an answer, it is likely a no for me.
Anyway, here are some more quick stories about my reading life, then and now.
My childhood was so “lit”
- My parents kept my books on top of the refrigerator. They said when I was little, I would go into the kitchen and point up toward the books asking them to read to me.
- In the ABC book, there was a scary photo of an owl with its bright yellow eyes and stern face representing the letter O. I must have learned the alphabet quickly because I knew when that page was coming up. I always made my parents skip over it. Couldn’t they have chosen a less frightening photo – like an orange or an ocean?
- I started reading on my own at an early age. During a parent/teacher conference, my kindergarten teacher pointed out that I couldn’t cut a straight line with scissors. And my mom was like – “yeah, but have you heard our kid read a book?!” (To this day, I still can’t cut a straight line with scissors).
- I went to bed with a book and a flashlight under my pillow.
- I could read in the back seat of our family station wagon for hours without getting carsick. If it were dark outside, I’d hold my book up to the street lights so I could keep reading.
- To me, Trixie Belden mysteries were better than Nancy Drew, but Encyclopedia Brown was my favorite detective series.
- Sweet Valley High books were the best. I was definitely more like Elizabeth than Jessica growing up.
- I loved the SRA box at school. This big box at the front corner of the classroom was filled with stories, comprehension questions, and an answer key where I could grade myself. The stories were divided by reading milestones, and once you finished one section, you graduated to the next level. One of my proudest school moments was finishing the entire box by Christmas break. They had to bring in a new box of folders just for me.
- We were so lucky that our mall had both a Waldenbooks and a B. Dalton bookstore. I spent a lot of time there while my mom went shopping for clothes.
- Some of my favorite childhood books were Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Charlotte’s Web, and anything by Judy Blume or Beverly Cleary.
Reading and adulting
- The last time I counted, I own about 150 books – some are hardbacks, most are paperbacks, a fair amount are on my Kindle, and a fairly respectable number in my Audible account.
- I currently have 340 books on my Goodreads list that I want to read. I know it is impossible to read them all, but I like to add to that list, so I don’t forget about any books I’ve discovered along the way.
- I will rarely read a book for a second time. There are too many books in my TBR pile to get to. Although, I’m starting to create a shortlist of ones I want to read again, like The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which after that ending, I REALLY need to reread it for all the clues that I missed.
- I’m usually reading 3-4 books simultaneously. I choose what to read next based on what kind of mood I’m in when I sit down to read. This is why I need a lot of options.
- When I put my mind to it, I am a fast reader. I brought three books with me on vacation once and finished them all by day 4. And because I read fast, I bring books with me wherever I go so that when I have downtime, I have something to read. And if I finish that book, I have another one at the ready.
- It isn’t a good idea to leave me alone in a bookstore for too long. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I could stay there all day and leave with a full bag of books and an empty wallet.
- I love exploring and supporting independent bookstores. The Barnes & Noble near me recently closed up shop. I was sad because I have many memories there – especially ones I’ve made with my kids. But, now, it gives me an excuse to keep seeking out the indies.
- I refuse to purchase a book that has an advertisement for the movie on the front cover. I want the original cover so that I’m not a walking advertisement for the film. Also, the book is always better than the movie. Period.
- I prefer a real book to a Kindle unless I’m on vacation because I can take more books with me electronically. But then, I sit on the beach or by the pool, and inevitably the sunlight shines a glare on my screen. So then, I wish I brought the books. And then I wonder, is there a bookstore nearby?
- Favorite genres: Fiction with strong female characters, historical fiction, political books or true-crime investigations, books about writing, and surprisingly, celebrity autobiographies, but only outstanding ones like No Time Like the Future, by Michael J. Fox or Yes, Please by Amy Poehler to name a few.
So, what is your reading life like these days? How is it different from when you were younger?