I’m a bookworm–well, a returning one. I’d loved reading for the majority of my life, with the exception of seventh and eighth grades (I met the internet when I turned twelve, and it drowned my love of reading until I learned that there’s life beyond Facebook and Justin Bieber music videos), but somewhere along the way, I’d fallen out of it. This was distressing for me. I wanted to love reading again, but I couldn’t. I’d get distracted, my mind would wander, and some fleeting fantasy about winning the Nobel Peace Prize would captivate me more than the stories written in front of me. Perhaps this was exacerbated by the fact that I chose books that were difficult to read. What was once a treasured infatuation, far beyond just a hobby, was now only a chore.The book I was reading was long, and I checked the page number every other minute to see how far I was from finishing it.
Somewhere about twenty-eight pages into that book, I gave up. It was a difficult decision. I hadn’t quit a book in years, because in my mind, that was a mild form of betrayal. The author spent eons creating a work of art, and I’d cast it aside like rubbish. I’d insulted my own intelligence by abandoning an aged, sacred masterpiece. What book was I going to replace it with? Certainly, I thought, not some silly teen novel.
But alas, it was a teen novel that I checked out from the library. It was a teen novel that I read during history class in lieu of completing classwork. It was a teen novel that I finished before going to sleep that night. It was a teen novel that got me passionate about reading again. Only after I closed that book for the last time did I realize that my everlasting, literary courtship had been stifled by reading snobbery.
By refusing to open a book that wasn’t a classic, or that was geared towards high school students, I was suffocating my love of reading. It’s no wonder books became items of struggle for me. Love–yes, that’s what I call it–cannot be neatly strapped into an elite, golden trophy case. It wanders. It explores.
You aren’t stupid if you stop reading a book because your mind can’t deal with 18th century vernacular at the moment, nor does it make the book bad or poorly written. Maybe it would help to think of reading like dating. You’ll go on dates with lovely people, and mutually decide that there’s no spark. Neither of you are second-rate. You just weren’t the right fit for each other.
Somewhere out there, a wonderful book is longing to find a reader like you. And the book you just put down has a perfect someone out there looking for it. Isn’t that the way love works, after all?