Love of Reading – Day 21

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

28-Day Personal Challenge

For the love of reading! Seriously, though, I love reading. And writing. But this post is about my love of reading. My history of that love, I guess.

The Turkey Book

So I didn’t start out loving reading. I always loved writing, I used to write pages and pages of stuff before I learned how to write. I remember sitting at the table writing page after page of scribbles. And then letting the papers flutter to the floor. Somehow I associated that with writing, go figure.

Reading didn’t start so well for me. I flunked second grade because I couldn’t read (you know back in the days when they weren’t worried about our self-esteem – tough love is powerfully awesome).

I don’t remember much about second grade other than I hated the pig book that I had to read over and over, I wanted to read the turkey book. The turkey book was the next level up. One day we had a substitute and I snuck into the turkey book reading group. I didn’t think she’d notice. She did. I was devastated.

Since I wasn’t reading at a good level, I repeated the second grade. A few things stood out to me on my second go-around in the 2nd Grade. One was my teacher who had fallen off the sidewalk and twisted her ankle while out on a jaunt around the neighborhood to gather leaves. Again one of those memories that don’t really have a place, but you don’t let go of it.

Discovering the Love of Reading

The other memory is library day. I can’t picture the lady who used to read to us, but her voice sticks with me. The way she read the books and changed her tone for the characters. The way some words rolled off her tongue. And the sounds of the words. Especially, when the words went from one and two syllables to four or five. The cadence. The rhythm. Of course, at that age, I didn’t understand why her reading stood out to me. I only knew that library day was the best day of the week.

I also loved the pictures in the books and the way the pages looked so shiny and smooth. The fluid, swoosh sound of the pages as she turned them. And when the time came to pick out books to check out, I would race to get the one that she’d just read.

Scholastic Books Upped the Ante

I know we were receiving the Scholastic Book flyers before my second trip through the second grade, but it was this year that I would get all antsy and circle every book because I wanted them all, they all needed my love. I was sure of it.

When we got the flyers on our desks, I would pour through the flyer and ignore my teacher. Since I had a tendency to lose papers that I was supposed to take home, my teacher would pin them to my chest in an envelope. Yet another humiliating moment I survived. It’s okay, I survived. I’m fine.

I would get home and follow my mother through the house begging her to buy all the books. Of course, we couldn’t afford all the books and I wouldn’t have been able to read all of the books. But every once in a while, Mom would let me pick out one. That took hours to narrow down. Then I’d have to wait for the order to get to school. You know how some kids get all giddy and squealy about going to Disneyland? That’s how I was when I received a book order. I would have chosen books over Disneyland.

The Love of Reading Fully Installed

By the end of the second time through second grade the love of reading was fully embedded in me. See, getting held back/flunked turned out to be awesome. Had I not been flunked, I don’t think I would have loved reading as much.

By late elementary school, I was devouring books like crazy. I’d check out as many books as the library would allow nd read, read, read. Wherever we went I brought books, not just one book, books, plural. As many as my mother would let me. And pens, paper, and Barbie dolls – I like options for free time.

In Junior High, my mother couldn’t afford my reading habit. SO it was extra special when she’d let me buy a book or two (oh my gosh, the rare two books – giddiness!). She knew I loved it and she loved my excitement. She hated how fast I read. One time I finished both books in one night. My mother was ticked. She’d spent a good chunk of change and I’d sucked the books down like a liter of soda.

Scholastic Round Two

When my son brought home his first Scholastic book flyer, my heart skipped a beat. I kid you not, I was more excited than he was and I sat with him asking which books he’d like. He didn’t want any. He wanted the big foam hand. My heart hurt.

There was a Scholastic Book Fair held at the school. He decided to pick a few books. Goosebumps and later a couple of Harry Potters. But his interest in books wasn’t as deep as mine. He loved the Goosebumps series, so I loaded him up. Although, he was very independent, so he only liked reading the books himself.

Scholastic Round Three

When my twins started getting the Scholastic flyer they too enjoyed the books. Even better, they loved when I read to them. As they got older, they moved more toward music than books. They still have books they love, but music is their priority.

My Love of Reading has Downfalls

I get sucked into books. I can start reading during the daylight and finish when it’s dark. It takes time to adjust that I was so sucked into a book that hours went by without notice.

My husband was elated when he found out how much I love to read. We’d gone to a bookstore while on a date and he kept checking on me to see if I was ready to go. Uh, no. That was one of his “she’s the one” moments. He later came to regret that. I can close down a bookstore like a town drunk closes down a bar. Hours and hours. I collect stacks of books from three, four, five, and more departments. I sit and sort through them, stacking them around me creating an obstacle course for other customers and employees. To narrow those stacks to one or two is absolute torture.

Once, when the twins were in elementary school and my older son in middle school, I got to go to a Scholastic Warehouse Sale! I had called my husband before going in, neither of us realized it was literally a warehouse of books. They had full-size shopping carts!

I searched every aisle. At the end of each aisle there were bins to sort your cart, these people knew we couldn’t buy everything, so they stuck these carts out for us to whittle down the load.

My husband called.

He wanted to know how the book sale had gone. How much had I spent? I glanced around, I still had two more aisles to go. He was silent as he processed that. I glanced at the time, I had been in the warehouse for over four and a half hours. Our oldest son was getting out of school. I was supposed to be there to pick him up. I was late.

To this day, my family groans when I go to a bookstore. They know there’s no quick visit. Yet, despite that, my oldest son will take me to large bookstores for birthday or Mother’s Day or Christmas gifts. I am incredibly blessed.

The Love Continues

I still gather books, I still frequent the library as often as I frequent the grocery store. Books will always be a part of my life.

Previous 28-Day Personal Challenge Posts

About the author
Diane DeMasi is a freelance writer and author. As a freelancer she writes articles, blog posts, newsletters, web content, catalog copy, and more. As an author she writes dark, twisted, creepy short stories and novels.

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