Five Things About Reading

I have been on a little bit of a non-reading mode for about a week. It is not something that happens to me often, but occasionally I just cannot find a book that I am into enough to want to keep reading. It is incredibly hard when this happens, as reading has been so much a part of my life since first grade. I almost don’t know what to do when I do not have a good book to read.

1) Even in a non-reading mode, I still finished two books.

When I say I am not reading, it generally means one of two things. Either I am not reading for pleasure, typically because I am reading a lot for school, or I just don’t have a book I am really excited about. More often than not I am reading something that I do not want to put down. It doesn’t have to be a best-seller; I can get just as excited about a poorly written cookie cutter romance. As long as I want to know what happens or how it will happen, I will keep reading.

For this hiatus, I read two midgrade books from the library. It wasn’t something I chose for pleasure, but chosen for research into what makes a midgrade novel work. It is a writing age I feel has great potential for many reasons, and one I may want to spend some time writing for. Reading novels from there give me a little more insight into the possibilities. They were good enough, but it was definitely research, not pleasure reading.

2) I never cry when reading, and have never had a ‘book boyfriend.’

I’m not sure why I don’t cry over books. I cry over enough other things in life, maybe I just don’t have any tears left. My emotional involvement with books is typically limited to getting angry when the book gets it wrong. I like to think I am understanding of creative differences, and the potential for making different choices, but sometimes it’s hard not to HATE what the author chose to do.

As far as having a special fictional character be someone I claim as my own? I’m not sure why I don’t do that. I guess I fall in love with the way the characters are together, whether they are in a relationship or just working together. Inserting myself in there changes the characters and how they interact. I can’t have a book boyfriend because they wouldn’t be the same person with me as they are on their own.

3) I occasionally crave books, much like other people crave food.

Every now and again I have a deep craving for a rice krispy treat. It’s not for any one thing, such as the marshmallow, or the cereal, or the sweetness. It’s for the entire sensory experience. I want the stickiness, the crunch, the flavor, all combined together in just that one special way.

Books are the same for me. It might be a strong desire to read a specific book I have read many times in the past, it might be a desire for something new, or something from a specific genre. Whatever the craving, I want the book that fills that need. I read it obsessively until I have no more pages to turn. I look for another book that might be similar. Sometimes I just go back to page one. I do everything I can to get that book feeling, until I finally feel at peace.

4) There are stories from my childhood that I remember, but cannot remember what the book was called.

There is a book, I want to say I read it in fourth grade, about a group of girls who play baseball together. One of the girls is new, and drives a wedge in between the friends, leaving one of them out in the cold. I remember at one point she gets half of the team to tie dye their jerseys, and there was probably a few other things. I remember these little details so well, but I cannot for the life of me remember the title of the book. I want to remember; there are so many details I have forgotten that I would love to learn again.

It’s not just one book, sometimes it is details I can remember without a full context of a story. I know I once read about a girl who had really long hair. As long as she didn’t tell a lie, her parents wouldn’t make her cut it. One day, bullying got out of hand, and someone cut a large chunk from the back of her hair. She lied to her parents about knowing who did it because she already had to cut her hair now.

Some book out there had a new girl getting all of the others to listen to her because she had a four color pen and had created an exclusive club where the girls ate lunch together.

I really want to know what these books are. Maybe I am remember parts of books that went together, and I just forgot. There are so many books that influenced who I became. It wasn’t because of the special message of the book; it was because they kept me reading. I wish I could remember because I would like to see them again. Remembering is a way of thanking them.

5) I deeply miss the used bookstore I went to as a child.

The other large factor in my life with books was the used bookstore my mother used to take me to. We never had much money when I was younger. Reading for us was a combination of library books and used books. My mother used to work on weekends at the store, just for a few hours here and there, to earn our book money. Some of the time I would go with her. I would clean the books, and place stickers on for pricing. Whenever I could, I would spend my ‘working’ time in the nook of juvenile books. That section would probably be split into midgrade and young adult now, but I really didn’t care what it was called. I could browse the books for hours under the guise of organizing. It was probably the most satisfying job I have ever had in my life, including the fact that it paid in used books.

I can’t be the only person out there with a strong memory tied to my books? What is the strongest reading memory you have?

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