Today is finally the day for the book post I’ve been wanting to write since I started thinking about this blog. My friend, Celesteral, started the whole thing by writing her first blog post on books, and then my friend, Rakuno (today is Hug a Ratonga Day so be sure to give him hugs) was inspired by her post and wrote his own. I’ve been inspired to write mine since reading both of theirs.
Books have been a constant friend and comfort to me for all of my life. Some people drowned their worries, cares, sadness, and anger away with alcohol. For me, I drowned everything with books. Mind you, I didn’t have a huge amount of bad stuff happen to me while I was growing up, but things still upset me pretty easily, so if I was upset, I could move into a better place inside a book for a while.
I started reading on my own when I was three years old. My mom would do flashcards of both letters and simple math, and she would also read to me, and on that fateful day when I suddenly started reading for myself, I was looking through a book called Old Hat, New Hat, and was looking at the words and realized that they made sense to me. I started putting the words together into the sentences, and those made sense too! I was so excited, I ran to my mom and had to read the book to her too, and then…then there was no stopping me. I read everything! I attempted to read everything at the library too, including a book I was very excited about at the time called Ping, about a duck who was lost on a river.
When I started elementary school, they put me into advanced reading and allowed me access to every part of the school library, including all of the books that were reserved for the older kids. I was already reading at at least fifth grade level the day I started school in first grade. (I never went to kindergarten.) The grades in elementary school only went up to fifth grade, and I was never tested for an actual reading level, so I don’t know my reading level other than that I was able to read the fifth grade books in the library as well as everything else. My parents had a set of encyclopedias at home and I would read those too, especially the science and nature sections that dealt with the planets, stars, and animals.
At some point in my teens, I even joined the Astronomy book club. I wasn’t able to afford to buy a lot of books outside of the three or four that were required per year to remain a member, but I was able to initially get a number of books for free when I joined, so it was heavenly (no pun intended) for me to be in that book club and be able to see all the wonderful astronomy and science books that were available each month.
I can’t remember exactly when I got into reading fantasy and science fiction. I’d always been interested in fairy tales and ancient mythology and outer space, and one of the books I’d owned as a small kid was called, You Can Go To the Moon which I really liked. At some point in elementary school, I remember reading a book about some kids who had been captured by aliens. I don’t remember the name of the book or even what happened in the book outside of “kids getting captured by aliens” but by the time I was in seventh grade, I had joined the Science Fiction Book club and was subscribed to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.
It was after joining the Science Fiction Book Club that I discovered books like the Foundation Trilogy and other Isaac Asimov stories and novels, Dragonriders of Pern, the Amber series, Witch World, and even H.P. Lovecraft. I’ve been reading fantasy and science fiction books ever since, even though my reading has slowed down a lot since the internet, university classes, and MMO’s.
I would pretty much read anything that wasn’t nailed down, and even anything that was nailed down if I could get to it. I’d bring books everywhere I went. Car trips no matter how short, in the grocery store or mall while waiting in line, family gatherings, summer camp…everywhere. Even if I didn’t get to actually read sometimes, I’d feel comforted by the fact that a book was available for me to read at any time.
Nowadays, I don’t belong to any book clubs because it is much easier to find a variety of books at the public library as well as buying them for good prices online, either new or used. Plus, I have a Kindle now and have been enjoying getting digital copies of many books for even more portability and much less annoyance when moving. I don’t have to limit myself to carrying around just one or two books, or even lugging around a backpack, but I can now have an entire digital reading library with me just about anywhere I go!
This post only scratches the surface of my thoughts concerning books and reading, but since this post is starting to get pretty long, I’ve decided to save some of those thoughts for future posts.