Hi everybody! So this week I traveled back to ye olde elementary school to talk to a group of 6th grade students about blogging (and, of course, books). They’ve just read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, and their teacher, the exciting Mrs. P., plans on them having blogs of their own. (Which sounds pretty neat, ’cause BLOGGING.)
Anyway, one of the things their teacher wanted me to talk about is why I love books. To me it’s sort of a fact of life that reading is amazing, and that kids should be encouraged to do it. So it feels a little odd to articulate why I love it, when I’ve loved it for just about as long as I can remember. Still, when I was thinking about this for my presentation, I was like “Why not write a blog post about it?”
I must warn you, though, that this is probably going to be rather rambly and most likely not incredibly organized, due to the fact that it’s Friday and I’m not insanely focused right now.
Sigh. I try. . .sometimes.
AHEM. To continue!
Reading is. . .difficult to explain. It’s not exactly like watching a movie, or going to a concert, or hanging out with friends at a frozen yogurt joint. Reading is like this place inside my mind that can feel quiet and exciting, achy and elating, and captivating in a very black-holey sort of way.
One of the best feelings I can ever get from a book is getting to be completely captured by one, when my mind is empty of everything except for what’s in front of me, on the page. It’s like a thick, hazy cloud of happy-book-ness. It’s like being asleep, almost, in that it’s kind of warm and fuzzy and I need to rub my eyes once I surface again. It’s completely losing yourself in an ocean of words.
Only imagine the ocean is made out of puppies and laughter and Florida sunsets and the way your grandmother’s lotion smells.
That’s kind of what reading is like for me. That’s what reading can be.
And that’s just really, really awesome.
>shakes head out happy-book-ness fog<
Not to mention the fact that you are never going to run out of books. There is always more to discover. There is always something new to be tried. I might have run out of Humphrey Bogart movies. >sobs< I might have run out of Halloween candy. >sobs again< But books? Books are never going to fail me.
There’s always something else to love.
(And always more fictional characters to fall in love with, but that’s beside the point.)
Plus, writing is an art—and sometimes you’ll come across a book that’s like looking at a really amazing painting or listening to a fantastic song. There are book forms of Beethoven. Books where, even though the plot and characters may seem more at the forefront of your mind, the writing itself is utterly beautiful and strong. (FYI, if you’ve ever heard of Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan. . .that’s what it’s like. The writing literally made me want to cry sometimes, it was so heart-achingly wonderful.) There is nothing like getting sucked into a masterpiece, people.
And to return to the subject of how many books there are, they’re all so varied. (Young Adult and children’s books in particular, I think, but that’s just me.) As I’ve mentioned before, there’s the hugely important issue of a lack of diversity (I’m hoping to get a post out soon), but if we’re talking plot, genre, setting, etc., let’s just say. . .wow. If you were to make a patchwork quilt of all the books in the world, you would get something pretty crazy.
Like, out of this world crazy.
There are books like Eleanor & Park. There are books like A Birthday for Francis. There are books like Monster. I could go on forever.
And reading is one of the best ways to connect with anyone, ever. And I don’t just mean when you see someone reading a book you like and something like this happens. (Although that is pretty amazing.) I mean when you’re reading a book, and something happens–a character feels something only you thought you felt. You realize what it was like to be a Jew during the Holocaust. You get to see the life of a slave.
There’s so much you can learn, gather and feel. It’s a way to realize what people went through, and to empathize with humankind. (Here’s a great post on something similar to this.) Honestly, reading seems like one of the most human things a person can do.
And while that’s definitely not all there is to reading, I think it’s a good start.
I hope you all have a great day!
. . .12 days to Christmas. . .12 days to Christmas. . .
Literary Quote of the Day: “When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” –Desiderius Erasmus
(Many more quotes about reading here.)
P.S. The kids I were talking to were fabulous. Do you know how many hands went up when I asked them who loved to read? A LOT. If you guys are reading this, you were great. Like, “made my day” great. Good luck with the blogs!
P.P.S. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. There’s a really great short documentary about him here.