I enjoy books. I value books. I find them comforting. I like the feel of them in my hands. I like to turn the pages. I deliberate about little things like dust jackets. I don’t fold the pages and there are only certain books that I will write in. I like to get lost in the lives of the characters. I take great consideration in choosing a book to read. With all of that being said, you would never know that by talking to me today and this saddens me.
I finished my first real, legitimate, age appropriate book in four years a couple days ago. Actually this isn’t true. I’ve read on some books in that time period, but it’s not far from that number. Either way, that’s pathetic. Obviously, I’m not a huge reader, but this wasn’t always the case. I’m just a little out of whack….I just need to get back “in of whack”.
I like reading, I always have. I’m not a bad reader. I’m just slow. Real slow. Seriously. Give me a [good] book [that I’m actually interested in] and I can get through it just fine but it’ll take me awhile. Reading comprehension tests? yeah, not my thing. Textbooks? I’ll have to read the information three times before I get anything from it. Oh, and if you throw in noise to the situation, just add a couple more repetitions to that three times I’ve already read it and you get me, having read a stupid passage at least five times now, without any understanding of what the dumb thing says. Awesome right? yeah, I think so.
I was always in the “upper level” reading groups in elementary school but I was never one of those kids who “read between the lines” or dived into my books and got the deeper meanings in the books. I remember my librarian recommended Animal Farm to me when I was in 5th grade. Big mistake. I started it and couldn’t get past the first 5 pages. I hated it. When I returned it after two weeks, she just couldn’t understand why. She kept asking me all these questions about symbolism and if I made any connections between anything yet. No. As far as I was concerned, I was reading a book about freaking pigs that hated their owner and wanted to take over the farm. I never made any connections between Russian history when I was in fifth grade and I wouldn’t have made any connections again in high school unless my teacher pointed them out to me. I hated that book. I don’t do symbolism like that. That’s not my cup of tea. First of all, I didn’t know anything about Russian history and second of all, I had no idea I was supposed to be looking for that. I thought it was about a bunch of creepy animals. That may make me sound real stupid, but I was in fifth grade and history was never my favorite subject.
OK, moving on to junior high, I read like crazy! Seriously, it was insane. I started reading through a series and I bet I read at least 1-2 books a week. I could sit and read on of those books within two days or within two hours. I loved them. Which was great because there were like 24 books in the series, but once that series was over, I was a little lost. I had no idea what to read so everything slowed down. My eighth grade year, I know I read some, but it definitely wasn’t as much as the previous year.
And here comes high school….and that’s when everything went downhill. To be honest with you, I probably read a total of ten books while in high school, not including my 50 children’s lit books. I didn’t figure it was fair to count picture books in this case 😉 I was required to read several books for my classes but they were so terrible that I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. Yes, I know, I probably should be shot for saying that these great classics were terrible, but I just couldn’t get through them. I read part of each of these books but they were just too much for me to handle. I did not enjoy them in the least bit or I didn’t read enough of them to enjoy them. Animal Farm, Anthem, 1984, The Scarlet Letter, Billie Budd, and A Farewell to Arms. Let’s just say that I utilized SparkNotes often and I could BS a paper pretty well.
One day, in my freshman english class, my teacher had us read an article. Ater awhile, in a very aggrivated tone, he asked if everyone had finished, I was the only one who said I hadn’t and he kicked me out of class because he said I didn’t read fast enough to be in an advanced english class. Little did anyone know, but my teacher was using me as an illustration to show us what it would be like to live with the same conditions as the people in the book, 1984. Of course I had no clue he was making a point because I hadn’t read the book since it was so awful. I just thought I was simply getting yelled at for being a slow reader. Um, talk about a scarring and embarrassing experience. I still think about that class period. About what he said and how I felt. Obviously I know he didn’t mean it, but it was true. I am a slow reader.
It bugs me quite a bit actually. one book in four-ish years? That’s stupid. There’s not excuse for that. Yeah, I’m happy I can read. I’m thankful and blessed to have the ability. I just hate that I’ve squandered four years worth of knowledge and vocabulary I could have gained in that time. I enjoy words a lot. I love learning fun new words like lagniappe, voraciously, antiquated, bequeathed, largess, comeuppance and muss (if anyone can guess where I read this word, I will bake you cookies and send them to you!)
Anyway, the point of this whole thing was to say, I’m going to start reading more. I have books I want to read, things I’m intrigued by and knowledge left to gain; I just need to seize my time and read for goodness sake. Oh, and I’m open to book suggestions if y’all have any. 🙂