Passionate about Reading

Today, the latest in the series Guest Posts from fellow bloggers on the subject of Passion, whether literary or personal, which I’ll be posting regularly on a Thursday. If you would like to contribute, please drop me a line at kasia_oz (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Today we have a great post from Shannon at Isle of Books, who blogs intelligently and insightfully about both her writing journey and her reading – and it’s wonderfully clear how passionate she is about reading, although she has some worrying predictions about its future.

Hope you enjoy Shannon’s Passion Post.

When Kasia asked me to write about one of my passions, my first thought was, which one? My list of passions grows longer and deeper the older I get. By the time I’m an old lady, I fully expect to have more passions than I can remember. Some of the ones currently topping the list are: writing, horses, dressage, my horse, my dog, water conservation, books, and style. Ultimately, I chose to talk about reading.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog, you probably know that I want to write books. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and while the whys and hows of my career choices have changed, I’ve always wanted to write. I have a long list of reasons why, but I’ll stick to the one that dovetails with this assignment.

People don’t love to read anymore. I want to change that.

Right now, you’re probably getting ready to leave me a comment and yell at me. Okay. I’m young. What do I know? Probably nothing. But what I do know is that, as I’ve grown up, I’ve listened to more and more of my peers voice disgruntled opinions about books and reading.

“I hate reading.”

“Reading is boring.”

“Why do I have to read this?”

“I don’t have time for this.”

Many of the people I grew up with, even the ones who liked to read when we were little, just don’t enjoy it anymore.

I find this supremely sad. And yet, if you look around, it’s really no surprise.

In the US, we don’t stress reading and writing. We stress math and science. Science and math. As long as you’re marginally literate, that’s fine. It’s okay that you can barely spell most words. It’s okay that you can hardly throw an essay together. Don’t worry about it. You’re the future of our country. Math and science.

Which isn’t to say those things aren’t important. They are.

I just don’t see why certain subjects are deemed “more important” than others. During my sophomore year of college, I went on an apartment tour with my roommate. The guy who was leading our tour, maybe five or so years older than us, asked us what we were studying. She said biology. I said writing. He glances at both of us and says to her, “So yours is harder”.

Needless to say, we didn’t rent at that complex.

Let me tell you another story.

‘Summer reading’ courtesy of ‘YourKidsEd.com’

When I was a kid, they thought I was almost too dumb to go to kindergarten. Whatever tests they gave me, I apparently didn’t do well on. You know, because testing five-year-olds is oh-so effective. Anyway, my mom got them to take me, instead of keeping me back a year. On the second day of kindergarten, they taught us to read. And I was in love. I read everything I could get my hands on. The books for kids. National geographic. The tv guide. The newspaper. Cookbooks. Gossip magazines. Dictionaries. Whatever book was lying around, whether or not it was appropriate to me. I ate up words as often as I could get them.

You know what happened to that kindergartener? In middle school, she was placed into honors classes for all the core subjects. In high school, she took honors and AP classes, before graduating as salutatorian of her class (second highest GPA). In her final year of college, she was in her department’s honors program.

To what do I equate this success?

Reading.

Yes, folks, that’s why I’m passionate about reading. Because I firmly believe that it changed my destiny. Because I learned to read and to read well and to love it, I became the person I am today.

The person on the other end of the computer telling you how, of all the passions she could write about, she chose to talk about reading.

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3 thoughts on “Passionate about Reading

  1. Hi Shannon, I share your concern. My daughter is nine and does not choose to read, although she does not mind it with the right incentive. Recently, at the school read-a-thon, she won a nook tablet which she uses to play games and watch movies–not for reading. That may change, but I suspect not. She learns best when engaging with things and thus does better with math, science, music, art, etc.. but there is restlessness to her I see with many other kids. I suspect learning is changing and reading like many other things will change too–books will need to engage readers differently, across multi-media formats–not just paperbacks we love to open. Like many things, we will see more options. Traditional, non-traditional, the rise of e-serials stories, short, medium and long lengths and huge quality and style variations. Everyone can write and read as they choose. My concern, as a person who also wants to write, is whether we can make a living from it or it will remain a passion and sideline. Didn’t mean to write this much, but the topic is one I think about, a lot. Thanks for the though-provoking post.

    • Hi Sabrina!
      I agree, things are changing. I don’t necessarily mind if the traditional book loses interest in the face of more engaging things (the possibilities for what tech can do for literature are staggering!), but my wish is for kids to continue to read and even for reading to rise in popularity. It’s funny when you think about how, maybe 150 years ago, people would give anything to be able to read a book. Now (in the western world at least) reading is taken completely for granted.

  2. Pingback: Guest Post « isleofbooks

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