Reading Anything (and Anywhere)

Hi readers! In the past few weeks, I’ve read Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (a quintessential British comedy novel featuring a hapless university lecturer), The Ships of Earth by Orson Scott Card (the third installment in a science-fiction series about a band of outer space exiles re-colonizing an abandoned planet), Green by Sam Graham-Felsen (a story of a white kid at a predominantly black middle school), and about three dozen assorted comic books (plus maybe a cereal box or two). That’s a long-winded way of saying that I’ll read anything! Many people have a specific idea of what they want when they hunt for a new title, but personally, my only real criterion for a book is that it should have words (and with a couple of those comics, even that was negotiable).

My “anything goes” reading philosophy started when I was a child, combing through my house on the hunt for books to devour. In addition to being my favorite icebreaker with new people, the fact that I’m a quadruplet with little sisters that are twins means that my household has never been lacking in diverse reading materials! Although my younger self’s favorite topics tended to be fantasy epics or anything involving animals, my parents and siblings each had their own tastes, and when I needed a new book those tastes often became mine as well. My brother’s beloved sports stories and collections of historical trivia, my sister’s young adult novels jam-packed with romantic drama, and the classics my parents held onto, to name a few examples, weren’t exactly the kind of fare I would have chosen for myself, but I tended to burn through my own books so quickly that when I needed my next literary fix I couldn’t afford to be picky. I was such a voracious reader that I’d speed through anything I could find in the houseeven if it happened to be the last book in a series whose earlier installations I hadn’t yet managed to track down. (Sorry J.K. Rowling, but at least I ended up getting around to all of the other Harry Potter books eventually, right?)  

I’d say that having a never-ending stockpile of books initially became so important to me because unlike all five of my siblings I didn’t play basketball, which meant that I constantly found myself sitting in the stands at their games, wishing I could be doing anything else. Burying my nose in a book seemed like a much more interesting alternative to actuallygasp!watching that never-ending stream of sports. And always keeping a book on hand became even more useful when I got old enough to spend my summers working at my family’s basketball camp, where instead of coaching I was offered the task of simply manning the concessions stand. There I was able to spend practically entire days (with the exception of the kids’ snack breaks) reading!

The great thing about my literary habit, though, is that even when I stopped being dragged to every game and working every week of camp, I kept reading. As I grew up I realized, perhaps unsurprisingly, that reading was more than just something to do to get out of doing something else. Rather, it was a hobby I really did love. I loved it enough to declare an English major in college, join several book-related extracurricular activities on campus, and look exclusively at the publishing field when it came time to apply to internships. As my first paragraph proves, I’ll still read anythingbut now it’s because I choose to, not just because game time is an hour away and Tom Sawyer is the only thing left on the shelf. One reading habit of mine has changed, though… these days I always read series in the proper order!  

Happy reading,

Sherlock Beaulmes

Photographic proof of my addiction to reading during basketball games… I was at such a good part that I didn’t even realize my cousin had taken this picture!