Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general.
Last month, in her post entitled “Once Upon a Childhood: The Making of A Bibliophile,” Iphigene shared books that she enjoyed reading as a child. In it, she also explained her inspiration for the poster of our current bimonthly theme, Once Upon a Childhood: Throwback Reading and Hot for CYBILS! It dawned on me just last week how I never really read children’s classics when I was a kid. It was not until my tween years when I read popular children’s books.
The first book I ever laid my hands (and eyes!) on was The Impossible Journey, a book included in the Talking Mickey Mouse that my father gave to me as a gift. I was three years old, then, possibly turning four. To this day, I can still vividly picture myself wearing a dress and holding a life-size Mickey Mouse in front of me, its gigantic head nearly blocking my face. There was another book from the Talking Mickey Mouse Show but I could not remember which one it was. I do know that I had read The Impossible Journey a bazillion times, sometimes listening to the cassette version, while other times reading along with it. Here are a few photos I grabbed from the Internet to show you the magical thing that turned me into a reader.
Interestingly, no one in my family reads. I guess that also explains why I was never read to as a child. At the very least, I could not recall a time when my parents or relatives read a bedtime story to me. How I became a reader will always remain a mystery. Strangely, I take delight in that.
In my kindergarten years, I enjoyed reading textbooks. I remember reading the entire English textbook before school started. I was browsing for English textbooks for kindergarten online and I noticed that the textbook I used when I was a child actually had more words than pictures. It was a thick book with hundreds of pages of text that were sometimes accompanied by pictures. It had a major contribution for my love for words and short stories. My interest in “textbook stories” continued until I was eight or nine years old. During middle school, we used a book called Basics and Beyond in Reading, a locally published English textbook. Needless to say, English (or Reading, in particular) was my favorite subject growing up.
My love for reading grew when I was ten years old. Like Iphigene, I enjoyed reading The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, children’s classics written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was also a time when I became fascinated with series. I have grown to love The Baby Sitters Club, The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Twins, and, more importantly, Goosebumps. Are you familiar with any of these? Have you read them?
At age eleven, my interests shifted to mystery and detective stories. It was the year I “met” with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. My nose was buried between the pages of The Hound of the Baskervilles, the first Sherlock Holmes story and novel I had read. It was the beginning of an obsession, of a literary affair with the man who lived in 221B Baker Street and played the violin. It was also around that time when I read a few stories about Hercule Poirot created by Agatha Christie.
What makes one a reader? I’m quite certain there are books that have been published that attempted to answer the question. I don’t know what exactly made me a reader. I have enjoyed reading for God knows how long. My love for books is one that defies explanation. As I have previously mentioned, how I became a reader will always be a mystery, something that requires little uncovering and enough embracing. Like Iphigene, I believe that books come to you at the perfect time.