How reading shaped my life
When I was a kid my parents taught me to enjoy reading and I rarely watched TV. We had so many books at home that they barely fit in the shelves and under the sofas. And we still went to the library every couple of weeks to get new material.
I remember staying there 2-3h sometimes going through books, reading and deciding which ones I was going to take home. And I used to bring 3-4 books EVERY TIME. That was when I was between 8 and 13 years old.
I loved being in the library. There is something about that place, I don’t know if it’s because it’s so quiet and everyone keeps the noise to a minimum or the fact that I was surrounded by so many books. Peaceful. Perfect to escape from reality for a little bit.
One of the requirements to pass my Spanish class when I was 10-12 years old was to read at least one book every 3 months. One book in three months, guys!
The teachers asked us to bring some books to class so we could share the books that everyone had at home. At one point I was really into Agatha Christie and her mystery novels, so I took one that one of my classmates had brought. When I got home I started reading it and I didn’t stop until I got to the end. I was so into the story I couldn’t stop reading! The next morning I went to the teacher and asked her for another book. She looked at me and she told me “Wow, you don’t read books, you devour them!” I don’t know if it was the tone or the look on her face that made feel almost guilty of reading so fast.
Sorry I’m not sorry.
BTW, that feeling lasted for like a second. Because I have always known that reading is awesome, and just because not many of my classmates enjoyed it as much as I did, that did not mean that it was wrong or anything like that.
And I still remember the moment I got the 5th Harry Potter book in my hands. I couldn’t put it down and I read non-stop for 3 days after school. I felt so proud that I could read so fast!
As you can see, I’m competitive even with myself. Ha!
I discovered most of the Disney stories from the books, instead of watching the movies as the other kids. For the first 4 years of my life, actually, we didn’t even have a TV (we did not have much money). And I think that’s one of the best things that could ever happen to me. Later on, even when my parents bought a TV, I didn’t usually watch it that much. My parents encouraged me to read before going to bed, when I was bored or when I had nothing else to do.
When I see kids now and they have their heads into their phones, tablets, laptops, TV or other devices, I can’t help but feel sad. Those kids will never know how it feels to be so deep into a story that you don’t hear when people are calling your name. They won’t read a story about dragons, princesses and elves and “see” the images of what’s going on in their heads. They will not feel deceived when watching a movie because they imagined faces or situations while they were reading, and they have nothing to do with what the film director and producers created on film.
These kids will just stare at a screen and absorb the lights, images and sounds coming from that electronic device.
Working in an after school program for kids I have the chance to ask them if they like to read and what they like to read. And it really hurts me when they say that they don’t like to read, when they take forever to read a phrase and when they struggle writing without grammar/spelling mistakes. In this era when we seem to write texts and emails in code, it’s even more important that kids spend time reading and writing correctly so they don’t grow up to be adults that make simple mistakes.
Reading doesn’t only help work our creativity, but we can learn so much vocabulary and expressions.
I learned many Latin American expressions by reading stories written by Latin American people, which is helping me now that I work with Latin Americans. The same is applied to British vs. American expressions and vocabulary. And that’s not even talking about the languages that we can learn and practice by reading!
I also love how reading has always had the power of taking me to other places, where I can learn about so many things and I can forget about the world and its problems for a little while.
Since I came to the US I’ve been reading books mostly in my ebook. Unfortunately, it died about a year ago so I’ve been using my tablet. I love how convenient it is, as you can take so many books anywhere you go. I’ve been missing the paperback feeling, though, and a few days ago I finally went to my nearest public library and got a card! Is it weird that I am excited about that?!
Anywho, I went to the library, I checked the books that they have and how they organized all the resources. They have quite a few books and the best thing is that I can use my card in any public library of my county (awesome, y’all!), so I will definitely be checking others out.
To start my US public library adventure, I chose a book by Rosamunde Pilcher and other by Nora Roberts. I read The Shell Seekers (not affiliate!) in Spanish several years ago and I loved it, so I thought I would read it again! I love these two writers and I’m hoping to read more books by them.
Do you like to read? Which book are you guys reading at the moment?
Text originally published November 9, 2015. Updated before republished.