Maturing in my Reading
I’ve always loved reading and learning about new worlds. Discovering new characters and their journey has constantly inspired me to pursue my own objectives. It has also really helped that my parents have always encouraged me and helped me find books that I would enjoy. I even remember that a long time ago my school gave me a special award because I read 100+ from the school library that school year. However, as it often happens, there were a few years (when I was really young) were I kind of disconnected from books. Looking back on it, I don’t think it was weird or surprising. It was a time when I just wanted to ‘fit in’ as most of us at that age and none of my friends enjoyed reading as much as I did. So, unconsciously, I drifted apart from all that.
However, for as long as I can remember I’ve tried to make a conscious effort of doing things because I want to. I want to reiterate that I have the most amazing parents, who have always encouraged me and supported me in everything, so letting myself do the things that I love, in spite of what people think, has always been a little bit easier than it could’ve been for others. So, I finally became an avid reader when I was 12 years old.
I’ve always said that in order to fall in love with reading, you have to find that one book that you connect with (many people say this but I repeat it a lot). I believe that there is one unique story for everyone out there, capable of making them see how wonderful it is to read. Even though I read a lot because I thought it was fun, I hadn’t fallen in love with it yet.
The book that made me realize how influential reading would be in my life was Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. She is an amazing author and writes beautiful stories, however, as many of you probably know, this is not the most amazing novel in history. Nonetheless, it is one of my favorites and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It dealt with issues that I really understood and I loved that I learnt things from it that I could use in my everyday life. After finishing it I felt that I now had this intel on emotions and struggles that I hadn’t faced, but probably could in a more mature and healthy manner or help others that had.
This does not mean that every single book I’ve read has had such an impact on me. If I’m being honest, most of the books I read after that were because of the romance. I have always loved romantic stories and relationships, and I was glad that I could now read about nice couples in YA contemporary novels. Unfortunately, that also meant that I was kind of embarrassed to admit which were the books that I enjoyed reading to those who asked. Even though I always felt secure and understood amongst my family, I live in a country where basically no one reads, and the people that do, only read classics, nonfiction, historical fiction or things like that. Books with an ‘essence’ as they say like to say.
Due to all that, I tried to push myself to read some of these novels. I knew they were important and that they were gems in the literary world, but I could not care for them at the time. I did not like them and I didn’t want to read them. For the longest time I felt very guilty. I thought that I wasn’t a ‘good’ or ‘proper’ reader simply because I wasn’t in the mood to read such heavy and grown up works. Looking back on that now, I realize that I was very young and its extremely understandable that I would rather read Gregor the Overlander over A Tale of Two Cities.
Fortunately, soon after all this I discovered Booktube, which helped me so much in learning about new and different genres. Suddenly, I had so much content on the tip of my fingers and I got to learn so much about all the different types of books that I could read. I also discovered that there wasn’t anything bad in loving romance novels and that many people loved them as much as I did. It was a relief.
With the years, I’ve become more open with what I read and I’ve learned to appreciate every aspect of a story. Now I know what I like and what I could potentially like. I am more open to stepping out of my comfort zone and discovering new titles that will teach me something. I know and support the fact that reading isn’t only about learning some huge life lesson, it’s also about having fun. I have come to appreciate the hard work that authors put into their stories, even if I don’t really enjoy it. I have reinforced my belief that we should always be respectful towards others preferences and understand that not everyone enjoys the same type of things that I do.
The last couple of years I’ve noticed that the type of books that I used to read aren’t the best ones out there. If I were given the option now, I most likely would not have read over half of them. But, that does not mean that I regret spending my time on them. At that moment of my life, I loved all of those novels. I enjoyed myself and I had a good time. Now, I prefer reading other stories that have more emotional and social impact, because I am changing and I am growing. However, that does not mean that I am embarrassed of what I have read and I don’t think I will ever be (never say never though).
I am not old and experienced, not by any means. I am very young and I still have a lot to learn. These years and these books have made me realized how much I’ve grown and matured and what a long and hefty journey I have ahead of me. I read so many different genres now and I love so many different types of books. Nonetheless, romance still continues to be my favorite and I will always defend it (to the death, so don’t mess with me). I know that I will continue to grow and my tastes can change at any moment. But, my experience so far only makes me more and more excited on what is to come and the new books that I will hopefully discover.