How about that time my dad caught me under the covers and confiscated the flashlight? He returned a short while later to see me squinting at words, barely illuminated by the far-away kitchen light. He took the book this time, angrily muttering, "Your eyes! It's bedtime!"
Oh, yes, I even remember that devastating moment when my mom said, "You can't read while you're walking across the street!"
Or because reading gave me solace, a place to get lost in so as to ignore my own life and at other times to feel my life more deeply? Or because I liked learning so much about the world, about others who were not me, people of different religions and skin colors and time periods? Or did I simply love reading because it was fun to adventure, too, on islands and in fantastical realms?
Honestly, it's hard to pinpoint a precise reason I came to love reading. As Wendy Lesser says in Why I Read, "My motives remain obscure to me because reading is, to a certain extent, a compulsion. As with all compulsions, its sources prefer to stay hidden."
Yet, there came a day when I stopped reading.
It's not that I stopped loving reading--even during my reading drought, it killed me to hear someone say, "I hate reading," much in the same way it killed my younger self when a friend said, "My mom won't let me read The Lord of the Rings because it's demonic" (those volumes are heavy with Christian allegories!).
The thing is, reading is important. Reading has made me a more knowledgeable, more empathetic person and can continue to do so if I consciously carve out time for it. No matter the motivation behind reading, I firmly believe the world would be a better place if everyone could read my favorite books of all time (see the incomplete list below) and the many others like them, and take their lessons to heart. Books allow us to explore themes of love and hate, life and death, and good and evil, and the overarching theme of "identity."
What is your favorite book of all time?
Why is reading important to you?
What are you reading right now?
Do you feel you even have time to read anymore?
*An Incomplete List of My Favorite Books: