Books and reading have surprisingly not always been a major part of my life, though I feel like as a self-proclaimed book lover that is hard to imagine. In fact I used to think reading was boring, and there was many a Sunday in my pre-teen years, that I spent watching re-runs of Disney films instead, escaping into stories via my VHS player. But something changed around the time I turned ten. I was given a novel as a gift for my birthday, from a librarian if you can believe it. She picked this book out particularly because she felt I would fall in love with it. The book was the first in a trilogy entitled The Sky is Falling, by Canadian author Kit Pearson. Telling the story of a ten year old Norah who is sent away to Toronto during World War II, It was the first time I had read an entire book in a day, and felt what all book lovers feel so naturally, that you have disappeared and landed inside the very world you are reading about. The words no longer appeared to me on the page, but somehow resounded in my head as though I were talking to a friend. I felt this same way after picking up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban. Don’t worry this isn’t going to be some adoration speech about the chosen one, but I will say that those books saved me. It was while reading those books that I first heard a teacher call me a “voracious reader.” I didn’t know what it meant at the time, so I looked it up.
“Voracious”- wanting or devouring.
I certainly devoured literature, and these books by Jo Rowling were no exception. There were and still are to this day, some of the most cherished volumes of literature I own. And it wasn’t because they were fantastical or even trending, it was because they were written in such an inviting way. The words were meant to embrace every reader, and provide them with solace, or laughter, or a place to just simply escape to. There was nothing like getting a new book from this series, and seeing the sheer size of it, knowing that it meant the story would go on for that much longer.
How many children read books now? I would hope they read them just as much, with the YA fiction that has surfaced in recent years, from the Hunger Games to the Divergent Series, but I don’t know that it’s true or will remain so. I heard a woman on the commuter train mention her 4 year granddaughter needed an ipad for school, does that mean no more textbooks either? Is reading with a larger attention span a thing of the past?
The publishing industry has certainly hit some major rough patches, there is no denying that. But sales from ebooks vs print books don’t appear to be neck in neck, in fact ebook sales are undoubtedly floundering, partly due to cost, but I would like to believe it’s because print books still hold a place in every true readers heart.
That crisp paper smell, the cracking of the spine when you open a new book, is something that lives on for those of us who believe that words are here to stay, it is a shared experience we all can relate too.
That’s one of the reasons I started this blog, to engage in a shared experience with fellow book lovers, or aspiring writers who are hoping to one day be loved by readers too.
Because the printed book has not bitten the dust in the way so many were predicting. In fact, I think it has re-surfaced in a new and surprising way, bringing with it a new found book culture. Society has deemed it niche, cool, urban, hipster, to be a reader and to love the written word.
Next post, you’ll hear about my take on book culture and how the aesthetics of reading has contributed just as much to the success of the printed book as the words between the pages.