How Reading Shaped My Entire Life

As you would expect from someone who works at a writing center, I grew up with a love and passion for reading. Once I started reading, I never wanted to stop! I would wake up as early as I possibly could just so I would have more time to read during the day. Every book I had, I read over and over again until I got my hands on another!

The first book I remember being attached to was Twilight, I got it from the public library. That library means the world to me. I still remember the first day I got my library card! I went with my mom and dad, who were both really tired of having to buy me books, and we all got a card. I was not all that happy at the beginning. I liked the idea of owning books, I wanted everything I read to be mine. Looking back, a majority of the books I read were never really mine. My dad would return every book I got once I finished it. There were ways to get around this, I could get my mom to buy me the book or I could just pretend that I had not finished the book yet. Both of these methods had their drawbacks. My parents did not have much money, so I was slowly using up my mother’s income. If my dad was the one who bought me the book, he would return it anyways, I was just prolonging the inevitable. Once I got over my childish wants, I began to adore the library. At one point, I was going two or three times a week.

I first checked out Twilight when I was in either the third or fourth grade. I was in a romance phase and the cover interested me. As I picked up the book, my teacher’s voice in my head told me to read the back to see if I was interested; I was really interested. I first read it on the old, gray, and stained recliner in my brother’s room. I vividly remember reading the part where Bella’s dad picks her up from the airport, and that’s as far as I got before I ran to my mom and told her this was my favorite book ever. I was at least 8, so I was at the age of everything being my favorite, but this was different. I fell in love with Bella. Bella’s love of reading and lack of athleticism made her relatable to me. I felt as if she was living a life that could easily be mine, minus the whole falling in love with a vampire thing. I was eight though, so I still held out hope for the existence of the supernatural!

Once I started middle school, my dad told me I had to start reading non-fiction books; He mostly wanted me to read atlases and textbooks. I don’t think I was at an age where I could develop any interest in those texts. Ever since then, I started reading in hiding! My mom would take me to the library, and I would read all day until he came home at which point, I would pretend to be studying. This went on for years but once he started settling into his new job, he started coming home at unpredictable hours. I started getting caught and would end up in trouble, just for reading.

This was around the time when I decided to give writing stories a chance. I was bad, like really bad. Although I had no chance of being an author, reading did help me develop my style of writing. Writing for classes became easier and I was able to keep my writing neat and precise at an early age. Reading also helped me develop analyzation skills. I was able to read big blocks of text and summarize them with ease.

The last time I remember constantly reading was freshman year of high school. I used to eat lunch at the library and read the entire time. I would also read a lot at home and because I was given way more privacy now, there was no way I could get caught! After freshman year, I became really busy. I started taking some difficult classes which took up my time and I preferred to watch TV during my down time. I honestly don’t remember reading any books, other than class assigned ones, for the next 4 years.

My reading drought ended during my sophomore year of college! The first unassigned book I picked up in 4 years was Twilight. I spent so many years pretending I wasn’t as big of a fan as I was, but curiosity won over when the movies were put on Hulu. I finished all the movies within two days and decided to re-read the books and see why I liked them so much in the first place. All my emotions came back, and the books were much better than I remembered. I set a time every day to read the books, and the constant homesickness I felt started to go away. The books brought me back to an environment I was used to and felt safe in.

During this time, I started to feel comfortable in college. The first one and half years were difficult because I felt no connection to who I was before. It seemed as if there was a college me and a pre-college me. But once I started reading something that was once a big part of my life, I started feeling more of a connection to the past me.

Reading continues to shape and impact my life. I am able to communicate effectively in my writing and my words due to the examples I saw in the books I read. Reading is also what helped me develop the skills I needed in order to analyze someone else’s writing. More personally, reading is a constant that has always been an important part of my life.