A bookworm since I could first begin to read, books have always taken up a large space in my heart. My family would often notice that I always had a book with me as a child and even as I grew into my teenage years. They would point out at family gatherings that I brought along another “friend,” referring to the book in my hand.
James P. Blaylock wrote, “A writer’s library is more than just a collection of books. It is also a piecemeal biography of that writer’s life.”
Reflecting back on my life, I can see a timeline form out of the books I was reading at different life stages.
Life was easy and simple as a child. I remember walking with my family to our local flea market each weekend. When I was young, the flea market was located about a block away from our home and we visited often. Not old enough to have much of my own money, my mom would give me a few dollars each week to buy my own books. I would return to the same booth each week to buy another stack of The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin. Sadly, that same flea market has moved locations and isn’t nearly as big as it used to be. But I still have fond memories of spending time with my family and the joy I had each week with my new stack of books.
This will probably not come as a big surprise to most, but the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling played a huge part in my life, particularly my early teenage years. While “The Sorcerer’s Stone” was released when I was just three years old, I quickly caught up to prepare myself for some of the later releases. As the final book, “The Deathly Hallows” was set to be released in the summer of 2007, I remember going to a local summer church camp for the week. I was not able to go to the store at midnight to get one of the first copies to hit the shelves. But camp went on and I enjoyed days of playing outside, singing songs and eating food. The last day came and it was actually hard to leave. What I didn’t know, is that my mother had purchased “The Deathly Hallows” for me while I was away and had it sitting on the passenger seat, waiting for me to dive right into it. My mom still tells the story today, as I got home from camp and spent the rest of the day and night reading the books. I couldn’t stop and I didn’t until I turned over the last page.
To be completely honest, college didn’t offer much time for me to read for pleasure. While I can’t count how many non-fiction books, research studies and case studies I read for my classes, it wasn’t until I got my first job out of college that I was able to finally sit down once more and read for myself. I decided to tackle a large feat in the world of literature, “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. With more pages than the Bible, I knew this was going to take dedication. I made it a point to take my lunch break each day to read as much as I could. The quiet office where I worked offered the perfect space for me to get in a half-hour of reading during the week. As a college graduate at her first full-time job, bringing the comfort of a book with me each day helped ease some of my anxieties about the work day. Starting in May, I proudly finished the book that summer and now consider it one of the best books I have ever read.
Now as a 24 year old, I honestly don’t spend nearly as much time reading as I would like to. I have a stack of fiction and non-fiction books in my closet that are just waiting to be read. The one series that captured my attention after a recommendation I saw on Instagram—thank you, social media—was the Zodiac series by Romina Russell. An action-packed, romance, sci-fi fantasy world of the Zodiac sucked me in the moment I started reading. It ignited a fire in me that reminded me of the days I would run to the flea market book booths, or read entire books in one day or make reading a priority each day. This four-book series captured my heart as I poured over the pages. Since then, I have borrowed the series to a dear friend of mine and I hope to continue sharing my love of reading with those around me. Whether it is taking recommendations from others or sharing my own favorites with those around me, coming together over the love of the written word is what I hope to take from this new stage of life.