Later that day, as I headed off for work (I work part-time seasonally at a department store where I worked in high school), my dad asked me to pick up an order for him from Barnes and Noble. Thinking little of it, I made a quick stop before going in for my shift, and picked up his order. A little earlier than I expected for work, I went upstairs to the employee break room in the department store where I work to get something to eat. This is when I came to a realization.
When did I stop reading? I used to be the girl who spent every summer day at the library, who racked up tens of dollars in library fines because she didn't want to give her favorite stories back, who read by flashlight and fell asleep with the words clutched in her arm. I perfected walking through the hallway at my high school with my nose stuck in a book, not running into anyone, begged for a Kindle for my sixteenth birthday and packed more books than clothes on vacations. I spent hours in bookstores and always left with double the books I was expecting to buy, Half Price Books was a definite stop on Black Friday and I always astounded librarians as a child during summer reading programs. When did I change from this to someone who the last thing they read was the back of a cereal box? Do you know what the last thing I read was? A grocery list. A grocery list, might I add, that I wrote myself.
At first, I gave myself excuses: I've been busy at school, reading only textbooks, and I am burnt out. I need time to brainlessly relax after work because I'm exhausted. The holidays were hectic and I had no time. But then, I became ashamed of myself and this realization. I have become the downfall to modern society - a faux intellectual.
With this realization stinging in my mind, I rushed from the break room back to Barnes and Noble to pick up a book, something, anything to read. It's not too late, I told myself, I can turn this around and start reading again. After all, I loved it then, I will love it again. I picked up a copy of "Breakfast at Tiffany's and three other stories" by Truman Capote, a book that I had been trying to find at my local Half Price Books for a year now. Success. I can trod on the road to literacy again.
I paid my $14.41 and, head held high and smile on my face, went back up to that break room to read. As I sat down on the leather sofa, I opened my book and started to read the first page... only to get distracted by a coworker conversation and an episode of Third Rock from the Sun. The book went back into my bag for another attempt later.
A shift later and I returned home, falling asleep after a few episodes of Psych. This morning, I awoke, shortly before noon, and leaned over again to check the time. As I rolled out of bed and downstairs to eat breakfast, Capote's tale slipped from my mind thanks to another episode of Psych which played during breakfast. As I did some household chores and this show played in the background, my dad asked me a question: "Why don't you just pick up a book?"
I looked at him, astounded. How had someone else notice that I don't read anymore? Is it really that obvious? "I do read," I said defensively, "I read all the time." Blatant lies, I must admit. He further questioned my reading habits, which caused me to admit to myself again what I had come to realize yesterday - that I have transformed from someone who loved to read to a faux intellectual. My dad's notice of my lack of literacy made me realize that it was not just something that was affecting me, but others had begun to take notice.
I wondered who else had noticed that I stopped reading? I prided myself in being an intellectual woman, admittedly even looking down on those who "thought reading was dumb" or "didn't like to read". And now, I've become one of those people! How did this happen? In a way, it was because of the excuses I gave myself - I have been busy with school and work and family and friends. But, I also find time to blog and watch Netflix and waste way too much time on Pinterest and Tumblr. So there really is no excuse that I can't be using this time to read - so, in the end, there is no excuse except my own laziness.
Which is where this blog comes in. I need to regain my literacy again, but in a new way. When I loved to read in the past, I was a child, a young adolescent. My specialties were childrens and young adult literature, with some chick lit thrown in. Which was fine, because I was a child and a young adult. But, now I am eighteen, technically considered an adult in the court of law and in the world. Reading fluff won't cut it anymore - and I've never tackled the classics. I mean, sure I read some in school, and I took advanced placement literature classes but I never read them for myself, to actually enjoy them and garner the meaning. I read (and let's be honest, mostly Spark Noted) all of them to get an A.
With this blog, I'm not looking to get an A. There is no motivation behind this blog to get a good grade or to please a teacher. The only motivation is my own fear of diving deeper into this world of mindless action and my mission to becoming literate so I can be an intellectual citizen of the world. Which is motivation enough in itself.
Here, I will be sharing the books I am reading and want to read. As I move farther along, I will share my thoughts on the books I have read. I will journal about my journey into literacy and as I start "living literate" in the future. Living Literate means that I no longer miss book references, that I can bring up things I have read and have intellectual conversation, that I have become a well-rounded individual and not just someone who "reads". And by "reads" I mean trashy magazines, chick lit and cereal boxes.
In this blog, I will be setting goals for myself so I can keep reading and not slip back into old patterns. My first goal is to read one book by February 1, 2012. This gives me about three weeks to complete a piece of literature - you have to start small, right? The book I will be reading is the book I picked up at Barnes and Noble yesterday: "Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Other Stories" by Truman Capote.
Ready, Set, READ!