A former reading whore discovers books again

The seventh Harry Potter book came out and I spent the day in the hammock at our then-campsite. It took me ten hours to read it in its entirety. A week later, I read it again.

In a time before I had a cellphone and my own personal computer(s), I read. A lot. I had a designated book backpack that I wore while riding my blue Huffy to the library. I read through many a Boxcar Children and Goosebumps. When teen fiction became relevant, I coasted through novels by Ann Brashares and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Lurlene McDaniel was another favorite, as was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I accrued library late fees, but either managed to pay them off or just avoided the library for awhile. The fish obviously weren’t biting on days I only brought home three books to read.

I won an award for reading the most books during sixth grade (52), but that part of me died when college classes began. I can tell you –– thanks to my Shelfari page –– I’ve only read 27 books in the three years I’ve been a metaphorical slave to schoolwork and story writing.

Now I’m trying to reignite my intense appreciation for books.

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Since Christmas, I’ve read seven: “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” “Divergent,” “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” “The Thank You Economy,” “Cartwheel,” “Thirteen Reasons Why” and “The Fault in our Stars.”

I’d like to read more.

My parents rarely said “No” when I shoved a book in their faces as a kid and asked them if they would buy it. Now I’ve applied the same rule to myself. If I want to read it, I’m going to order it on Amazon (I apologize to those lovely small, independent bookstores out there).

Last month, I ordered “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker and “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood. When I saw my professor’s newly published –– and first! –– novel in the school bookstore, I picked it up and purchased it without a second thought.

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Check out “Mapping Utah” in the middle there by Denny Wilkins. He’s been a huge influence on me in terms of personal and professional growth. Gosh that sounds fancy.

While Green’s novel did make me tear up, I think I’ve grown out of teen fiction. I obviously couldn’t relate to Hazel’s situation (though he did make it seem real) or her thoughts on dating and, well, boys. I’m past those awkward teenage years and don’t really care to relive them.

I’ve nearly finished Walker’s book full of characters who have positively sucked me in to their stories. I really liked the female protagonist in “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Atwood when I read it for my post-apocalyptic literature course, so I’m sure I’ll have no trouble with “The Blind Assassin.” It came from a recommendation made by the comedian Rob Delaney:

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People think I’m crazy when I say I don’t have time to watch TV. I’d rather pick up a book and continue from my bookmarked spot than try to follow the excessive cumulative shows on the tube.

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