When I was younger, I always read a lot, especially during the summer. My public library had (and I believe still has) a program that rewarded you for how many books you read during the summer. We got a poster, gift certificates for a slice of pizza and free ice cream, but best of all, once you read 30 books, you got your picture on the wall when you read 30 books in a summer. Summer after summer my sister and I had our pictures on the wall and it was a competition between the two of us to see who could get there first. While looking back on it, you’d think the free pizza or ice cream would be the biggest prize, but no, you really weren’t anyone unless your picture was on the wall. Even after I was too old to participate in the program, I used to bike to the library and volunteer as on of the big kids you got to tell all about your book(s) you read.
Obviously, as with many others, by the time I was in high school, I didn’t want much to do with reading. When Harry Potter came out, I got hooked. I am not embarrassed to say that I own every book (having bought the later books at midnight on the day they were released) and I’m even proud of the fact that I have re-read the entire series more times than I can imagine — the entire series is reread every time a book or movie is released. As much as I was hooked on HP, I didn’t read much else other than my books for English class while I was in high school. Even when college started I wasn’t much of a reader. I began to read more during the summers between years in college as it was a good hobby to kill down time while lifeguarding all summer long. Even though I would realize my love for reading was still within me by the end of every summer, the fall semester would always begin and along with the spare time in the summer, my passion for reading went straight out the window.
By the end of college, my passion for reading was back. It came back when a friend of mine from college was given a book from someone at home, being told to read it and pass it along to someone else to read. It was kind of like chain mail, but a book (and only one). But the whole point was to read a good book, pass it to someone else to read it, have them pass it and so on, so eventually people reading the book had no idea who the person who bought the book was. (I forget what book it was, I’m working on figuring that out…). I don’t know how, but somehow I found the time to read a book for pleasure during the semester and I really enjoyed it and ever since then I have started reading more again.
Ever since I graduated college, it is common for me to be like Rory Gilmore and carry a book in my purse — though, I only carry it with me when heading to/from work, I don’t intentionally bring one with me to parties. The summer after college I was a lifeguard again and found more than enough time to read on breaks and rainy days, along with when I was home. Even now as a member of the “real world”, I have learned to find time to read on my commute or when I’m home in the evenings.
With all the reading I’m doing lately, I am tempted to ask for an e-reader for my birthday this fall as I feel it would save me money instead of buying books all the time. But then, do I really want to spend, or ask someone to spend that much money so I can save money? I mean, then I should just go to the library — it is right on Main Street and not out of the way when I’m home. But there’s something to be said for reading a real book. Having the book in your hands, the first time you crack open a brand new spine, and then there’s always one of my ambitions from when I was little — to have a library in my house (when I’m older and own one) with floor to ceiling bookshelves covered with books that I have read. Right now I have a small bookshelf that is overflowing with books, in addition to many books boxed up in my attic and a few piles of books strewn throughout my room.
So do I get an e-reader or not? It could save me room in my purse (especially when I’m reading HP and those hardcover books are huge…) but I would no longer have the books at my own disposal whenever I want. OK, yes, I would, but I couldn’t pass the books along to others, and sharing is out of the question. Which is what I’ve been doing a lot of lately. I’m currently reading a book which was loaned to me and I will be reading the next two books in the series by borrowing them from my friend. And I just read 7 other borrowed books and have another sitting on my desk waiting for me to read. While I don’t own these books, and won’t be able to add them to my collection unless I go out and buy them, I still get to experience all that I love about reading an actual book. And what’s even better about reading from a book you’ve borrowed, is the broken in spine and wrinkled pages. I don’t know, and maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s still something to be said for reading a well loved book.