I am a reader!

I adored the movie “The Last Unicorn.” When I saw another student with the book at a book fair, I tried to buy it, but a teacher said it was above my reading level and refused to let me purchase it. Determined, I started reading numerous books to improve my skills.

My first book club was with The Babysitter’s Club series. I had a monthly subscription that included three books and related items. I also loved reading “Wayside Stories,” “Fear Street,” “Sweet Valley High,” “Saddle Club,” “A Cow Horse Named Smokey,” “The Secret Garden,” “Tuck Everlasting,” and many more. The characters captivated me.

In third grade, a strict teacher named Mr. Mould introduced me to “The Hobbit.” He read it to us daily before lunch. Intrigued, I asked him for similar recommendations, and he introduced me to the “Lord of the Rings” series. By sixth grade, I discovered Agatha Christie through a substitute teacher who read her works to our class. Though her books were more suited for older readers, I was fascinated by the mysteries and clues. Reading classics like Jane Austen’s works made me long for a time when reading was highly valued. I often fell in love with the characters in her books.

Unfortunately, reading was often associated with nerdiness, and in both elementary and high school, I avoided reading in public or discussing books for fear of being labeled and ostracized. However, I could share my passion with the librarians, who always greeted me with smiles and book recommendations at both public and school libraries. I also shared the passion of reading with my twin sister.

As I grew older, our school introduced sustained silent reading periods, and while some students pretended to read, I cherished those moments, devouring classics and murder mysteries.

In twelfth grade, my English teacher, Mr. Sundling, inspired me to become an English teacher. That year, we read “Macbeth,” which profoundly impacted my life. The following year, I enrolled in university as a Secondary Education English major. I delved into classics, poetry, women’s literature, world literature, etc. Dr. Knepper helped me find my voice. Initially, I was very quiet, but she encouraged me to participate more in class discussions, which improved my grades and confidence. One transformative book I reported on was “Herland.” Dr. Smith’s Women’s Literature class further broadened my understanding of different cultures and women’s rights.

After college, I began substitute teaching and discovered a love for YA books. I read “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and “The Golden Compass.” Teaching “Sherlock Holmes” and Jack London to students and seeing their enthusiasm made me happy. At the age of 30, I finally read the “Harry Potter” series for the first time, finishing all the books in one week. I wish I had experienced them sooner.

Today, I proudly share my love of reading and books with everyone. I started this blog to express my passion and spread my enthusiasm for reading. Despite occasional rude comments, I refuse to be deterred or bullied about my hobby. I am fortunate to have a supportive reading community, including my husband, sister, co-workers, and family members, as well as a wonderful local library staff who encourage and recommend books to me. The joy of entering a library or bookstore, finishing a great book, and sharing recommendations is unmatched. When people associate books with me, whether positively or jokingly, it reaffirms my identity as a proud book nerd.

This is why I am a reader. Being a reader allows me to connect deeply with the emotions and experiences of characters, making me more empathetic. It sharpens my critical thinking skills, as I constantly analyze texts and question narratives. My curiosity drives me to be a lifelong learner, always seeking to expand my understanding of the world through the diverse knowledge and perspectives found in books.

Reading fuels my imagination, helping me visualize rich worlds and complex characters, which in turn enhances my creativity. It broadens my knowledge on a wide array of topics, making me a well-rounded and informed individual. Additionally, it improves my communication skills, allowing me to articulate my thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively.

Books also offer me a window into different cultures, traditions, and ways of life, fostering a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and global perspectives. This is why I am a reader: to be empathetic, critically engaged, endlessly curious, imaginative, knowledgeable, articulate, and culturally appreciative.

The joy of my local library is a profound and enduring delight. This place, filled with countless books and endless possibilities, has been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s more than just a building with shelves; it’s a sanctuary of knowledge, a haven of quiet reflection, and a hub of community.

The librarians are the heart and soul of this wonderful place. Their kindness is unparalleled, always ready with a warm smile and eager to help find the perfect book or answer any question. Some of these incredible individuals have known me since I was a child, witnessing my journey from picture books to complex novels, from curiosity to a deep love for learning. Their familiarity brings a comforting continuity, making the library feel like an extension of home.

Their dedication goes beyond the call of duty. They remember the books I’ve enjoyed and recommend new ones with uncanny accuracy. They celebrate my achievements and share in my setbacks, their encouragement fostering a lifelong love of reading and discovery. The library, with its welcoming atmosphere and devoted librarians, is a cherished part of my life, a place where joy, learning, and community converge.

4 thoughts on “I am a reader!

  1. “Above your reading level” was pretty much my first “challenge accepted” in my life. I was more reserved as a kid (speech impediment and all) but my mom might have had words if a teacher had prevented me from buying a book with that excuse.

    1. Book Nerd says:

      I also had a speech impediment. This was the 80/early 90s before banning of books was really talked about. But I guess it is what made me who I am today.

      1. I’m not the only one. I still have a slight speech impediment but it’s really only one sound now and I know how to sound it out. I don’t let it define me. And 80’s early 90’s is when I grew up also. But i know there was some books that were “frowned upon” where I spent most of my childhood but that was more because of the state government.

        1. Book Nerd says:

          I still do. But learned how to avoid those specific sounds.

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