I am a Reader

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 3:28 PM

I started reading fiction when I was in the sixth grade because of a Read-a-Thon we had at school. Long before the Read-a-Thon ended, I was hooked. I loved diving in and losing myself completely within the welcoming pages of a story. Books became my most constant, most loved companions. Each month I devoured the Scholastic catalog my teacher made available to us and I invested every cent that came my way (sometimes by nefarious means, I can confess) in my favorite authors and series. Of course there was the library at school and one not far from my house, but it never occurred to me to borrow a book; no, I had to possess it.

My books were my treasures.

Many adults turn to fiction in order to escape; but I don't think this is the case for children and teens. In my case, I know stories helped me interpret my world and gave me a vocabulary to define my feelings. The girls I read about didn't have lives like my own – they weren't recently transplanted to the US from another culture, another world – but they didn't need to be. They knew loneliness; they knew fear; they understood rejection. I found out through them that my insecurities were universal, maybe even normal. Reading was a way for me to safely experiment with trying on other versions of myself in my head: could I ever be as bold as Joanna? Would I ever be as beautiful as Rachel? What if I could run away like Laura?

I grew to love more than just the act of reading to encompass the whole experience of it: the weight of the book in my hands; the sharp smell of new pages, the musty smell of old ones; the enticing pictures on glossy covers; the sound of the characters' different voices as I imagined them.

I didn't read; I devoured. And in consuming these stories, they created much of who I am.


I loved Scholastic too. They'd come to our school every month and host book sales in our library. I'd go home with tons of books. I loved that company so much. I was going through my buckets and I found a few books that belong to my brother. I'll have to see if he wants them back before I lose them on my shelf.

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