Literature. It amazes me when I hear people say they don’t like to read. I often ask why, what is it about reading that you don’t like? Why don’t you like to be taken away to another time, another country, a situation that is so far removed from your own.
I don’t really recall when my love of reading started. I don’t remember being read to as a young child by my parents. I wonder if my kids remember the days we would read the same book over and over again. My oldest, when he was a young toddler loved Dr. Suess! I can’t tell you how many times we read Are you my mother? and the A, B, C Book. We are told by the experts to read read read to our children, so I did. A lot. And of my three children, only one is an avid reader, and its not my Dr. Suess boy! My boys, especially my oldest, who’s 17, don’t particularly like to sit and read. My 11 year old only does because we make him. But my 15 year old daughter, is exactly like me, she would read for hours and hours, book after book. So I guess I got one right!
I think my love of reading started in elementary school. My favorites were Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew mysteries, and anything by author Judy Blume. I also got the series Anne of Green Gables and instantly fell in love. All of these are so different, yet drew me in for different reasons. I think I have read the Little House series close to 100 times. Seriously. And who can forget Are You There God, Its Me, Margaret? by Judy Blume. My friends and I started our own club in 5th grade and I had to ask my mom to buy me a bra, and we actually snapped the backs to make sure we were wearing them.
In Junior High, while some were reading the Babysitters Club, I was reading Oliver Twist, Animal Farm, The Bell Jar. Of course, some of these books I was taking from my mother’s book shelf. I think that’s why I had such a love for reading. She was putting herself through college around the time I started my love for reading, so she herself was reading a lot. In high school, while Stephen King was a huge hit for most kids, I was reading The Chosen, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Great Gatsby. I loved reading books that made me think, that were chock full of symbolism.
I have books all over my house. I use them to decorate, and more importantly to remind myself that there is more to this life than cooking, cleaning, work. Its a reminder that our brains need a little “me” time too! We need to feed our creativity a little bit. The imagination of writers is limitless, and we should take the gifts they give us through literature, and let it take us to places we never knew existed, or if we do, see it in a different way. I have been to Russia, Vietnam, Islands in the Pacific, Outer Space. We can see how people live. I have been inside mansions, I have lived on the street, I have traveled home to home with orphans. I have been inside the mind of a killer, a mentally ill woman, a child who had died and seen God. My current favorites are in the first picture on the top left.
When you are given the gift of escape for even just a little while, to gain knowledge, find pleasure and be inspired, why wouldn’t you read?
This Blog project is one started by a group of women whose passion for photography has brought us together. This is the second month of our How I View: Blog Circle project. I am excited to share my fellow photographer’s views with you. Please follow the circle around to see what my friends have to say about literature. Marlo Yoshimoto is next in the line.