How and Why I came to Love Reading: An Origin Story

I love to read!  I mean I created a blog about it! But I had a heck of a time learning to do so.  I really, really wanted to be a good reader, but the plain fact was, I was most certainly not. I had a very active imagination, and I loved writing stories.  But I couldn’t spell to save my life.  I was very fond of the letter “j.”  I put it in everything. Anyway, I certainly couldn’t read anything anyone else penned. (I was probably wondering where all the “j”s were.) It was frustrating, and my father completely understood.  He had had quite the time with learning to read himself, so he wasn’t much of a reader as an adult.  This was slightly ironic since my mother was an English teacher and her first choice of activity was to read.

Anyway, one evening after getting rather upset at my inability to decipher all those black squiggle marks adults called words, my dad challenged me to not only learn how to read, but read better than my mother. This is really not a quantifiable thing, but it was apparently what I needed, for while I don’t remember exactly what he said. I do remember sitting on the bed with both of my parents and being quite down on myself when he issued said challenge. I’m certain it had something to do with my ultimate success. For due to this challenge and their constant help, I muscled forward and learned to read.  And I actually learned to love to read. And that “j”s are not particularly common in the English language.

My love could have manifested from the feeling of accomplishment when I finished a book or that my parents displayed a certain quiet pride that I was in to reading even though we didn’t start off as the best of pals.  But honestly, I think it was the challenge. I think it was knowing that I would learn something. It was a way to feed my constantly curious mind and that it was an activity I could do alone.

I was an only child. I lived far away from my school friends on a 40-acre farm in the middle of nowhere.  We also only had about 3.5 channels until I was in sixth grade. (I realize I sound like an 80-year-old grandpa with that comment, “Back in my day…”) But it’s the truth.  We only had a TV antenna that nicely displayed three channels regularly and if it was a good day CBS didn’t come in half bad either. Anyway, this meant one had to be creative in order to keep themselves entertained, so we owned a wide array of movies and a whole heap of books.

In fact, as I got older going shopping to Barnes and Nobles was a religious experience. I would bring home bags full of books. And my dad would never say a bad thing about it.  He wouldn’t say that I should just go to the library for books instead of spending all that money on them.  He would only ask me what I bought, and advise me to read a few before I purchased more. By the time I graduated high school, I had a mini- library in my room. Even back then I dreamed of having a library in my house.

While I’m still dreaming of that library in my abode to be, I’ve read hundreds of books, and I love to read all kinds of things.  Reading has a great flexibility to it that adds to the allure. It allows for a communal solidarity that is not found in other hobbies. It allows for learning and relaxation simultaneously.  And no matter how much I read there will always be more out there for me to discover and enjoy.

This is a blog about all those things I love about the written word and what I’ve discovered through reading.  It’s a rather active process and getting to this point wasn’t necessarily super easy, but maybe that’s part of the reason I love it so much because I had to work to obtain it.

So fellow ink lovers how did you get into reading?

30 thoughts on “How and Why I came to Love Reading: An Origin Story

  1. Both of my parents LOVED to read so it seems inevitable that I would, too. My mom says she started reading to me even before I was born. Bedtime stories curled up with her were a nightly ritual throughout my childhood. I had a plethora of Little Golden Books (“The Poky Little Puppy” was the BEST) and Dr. Seuss books (“Hop on Pop” was a favorite, much to my actual pop’s dismay ;-). Reading came naturally to me and pretty quickly we had a role reversal where I became the reader and my mom, the listener. Scholastic book fairs were the biggest deal and I entered any reading contest/competition available (solidifying how nerdy I was in grade school right there). I remember in junior high we would have competitions between classes to see who could read the most books in a given amount of time. I will fill sheets and sheets with lists of books I’d read and nearly always, read more than anyone else. I’m so grateful to have grown up with such an appreciation for the written word and I look forward to exploring it more with you through your blog!

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  2. I think I found my love of reading because I found it as an escape from life and a way to get away. It was a way to imagine a story the way you wanted to instead of it being shown to you on TV or in movies.

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  3. Wonderful blog! It seems like a great adventure. Love the way you phrased your words. Very neat, love your blogging style. Keep up the good work. Hope to see more from you. Have hope, write on!

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  4. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, my mom had a parent teacher conference where my teacher told my mom that I should try to read one book at a time. I would read a book for class and a Dear Ginger book when I wasn’t doing homework and get the plots confused on quizzes! I’m not sure how my love reading started but I loved it so much I had to read two books at the same time.

    This is awesome, Jill! Can’t wait for the next one! 🙂

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  5. I, too, grew up on a farm with those 3 tv channels. Reading was a terrific escape and I truly believe the tool that helped me sharpen my communication skills. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  6. What a great story, love it! I always loved reading but lost it for a while amid all the technological distractions in my life. Now I can’t stop buying books, even in other languages. My fiancèe also has the same rule as your Dad but it doesn’t really work. Look forward to seeing more from you! 😀👍🏻

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  7. I like your post 😀 Very personal and fun(putting “j”‘s everywhere 😉 I also come from a farm and used to love reading when I was young(no there just doesn’t seem to be enough time). Keep up the good work! 😊

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  8. I was never a big reader, but when I did, I devoured books haha. I think it started around 4th or 5th grade, when my friends would go out for library scavenger hunting instead of playing recess. I kept reading, although high school made me stop occasionally.
    Okay this is going to sound weird:
    Are you someone who loves the smell of new books and smells it every time you get it, or do you think that’s totally weird?

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  9. My heart is bursting with pride, and the walk down memory lane made me smile! Not to get all sappy on you, but well done! I’m so looking forward to the next blog! You know that I believe reading is so important; otherwise, you’re doomed to live only one life in one time period. Not to mention that reading gives you some place to go when you have to stay where you are. I forget who the original authors of those ideas were. I also agree with Groucho Marx though: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

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  10. I love reading but sometimes like I don’t know why after reading a post, I feel like I had actually thought of the same plot or storyline, like the author just stole the idea from me. But this was a great read. Keep writing as always. And if you wish to stop by and give my posts a “read”, you’re more than welcomed to do so. Thanks.

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