I first fell in love when I was seven. His name was Chuck. His orange and white fur looked very pet-able on the cover of Up Chuck and the Rotten Willy, the first chapter book I remember loving. My monogamy with Chuck quickly ended because I found myself loving so many characters from so many books, and gender didn’t matter: Jesse Tuck, Scout, Harry and Hermione, Maxwell and Freak, a gang of misfits, the list goes on and on.
I may have been predisposed to fall in love with reading. Instead of going to preschool I spend the school year with my Grandma Carol. During that year I had a tape player (yes, tape- this was 1994) and all I listened to were children’s audiobooks and an ABC song. I remember gazing out the sliding glass door, seeing my grandma in the backyard sitting in a plastic lawn chair under a huge tree. She would sit there for hours with her faded flowered Bible book cover which always had a romance novel inside, and a can of coke that rested in the grass by her feet. If I was lucky I would get the last sip of that coke – looking back at it, that is rather disgusting but at the time it was one of my favorite treats, except for maybe powdered donuts.
Later in my childhood my aunt Katy would watch my sister and me. Even though I don’t remember spectating her reading, her house was, and still is to this day, filled with books. During college I would call her when I got my syllabi for my English Lit classes. She would end up letting me borrow nearly half of the novels for my assigned reading. Which is a huge convenience when you’re on a college student’s budget.
Now that I’m an adult I find it more and more difficult to find time for reading. I miss nights when I would lay in bed until 2 in the morning and think to myself, “just one more chapter.” Or the days in high school when I would finish my class work as quickly as possible because reading break ended in the middle of an enthralling chapter. I miss college, where I spent years reading books and discussing them with my peers.
But now I’m in the real world, with real responsibilities and a real job. I can no longer have a book in my lap while I pretend to work on my geometry assignment in Mr. Smallman’s class. I have to be present at work and actually do my job.
Maybe it’s time for a reading vacation. Use a week of PTO to sit around and read. Maybe go to the mountains or a beach bungalow but instead of going out, stay in and read the days and nights away. Who’s with me?
Comment Question: What or who was your first love?