Weekly Geeks: In The Beginning

March 29, 2010 at 12:54 am 11 comments

Me and my sister, reading with Grandpa circa 1990. D'aww.

…For this Weekly Geek installment, I’m asking you to think back to the moment when you realized “I am a reader!” The moment you felt that desire to read everything! The moment you knew you were different than most of those around you and that this reading thing was for real.

Oh boy. Sorry to say, I am a Weekly Geek failure. When did I know I was different because I was a reader? I’ve never felt different because of that. I’m so clueless about the extent of other people’s reading that it surprises me when someone reminds me that not everyone reads two to three novels a week, relishes a trip to the library, or is counting the minutes until they can go home and curl up with a book.

Probably this is a result of my having missed the  ‘defining moment’ this prompt makes reference to. One of my favorite literary quotes (and possible tattoo candidate) is from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, where Scout Finch states, “I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Just as you probably can’t pinpoint the moment you realized how awesome oxygen is, I cannot tell you when I first realized that books were, for all intents and purposes, a necessity of my life.

I could tell you about how I learned to walk and read in elementary school, or how I read books with such intensity that I had almost memorized many of my favorites — and, as a result, my parents used to quiz me on plotlines for their own amusement (“Katie! What does Kristy say to Mary Anne in book 63 when they find out Claudia is failing science again?”). I could tell you about how I taught my sister to read when she was three and I was six, because I was worried she was taking too long and would never learn.

But none of those moments were really moments of self-awareness. I wasn’t thinking of myself as A Reader, capitals and all. Do I think of myself as A Reader now? That’s hard to say. I don’t really think about reading, unless it’s about what to read next.

My stack of books more often feels like a job, like something to get through; I need to read The Old Curiosity Shop so I can talk about Dickens with any kind of integrity, The Sandman so I can talk about the evolution of graphic novels and sci-fi as a whole, and Candide so I can drop Voltaire’s name next time I go to a cocktail party.

Maybe it’s enough, though, that I always have that pile waiting for me. It’s easier for me to imagine being without oxygen than it is for me to imagine climbing on the bus without a book, not having a recommendation for my mom at a minute’s notice, or not making sure this blog gets updated five times a week.

Does that make me A Reader? Who knows — and who really cares, actually? All I know is, reading is something I’ve always done and always will do, whether I spend a lot of time pondering it or not.

But how about you, readers? Share your defining moments, or maybe just some great reading memories, in the comments below!

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Britney  |  March 29, 2010 at 2:49 am

    I don’t know. I think I know more readers now than I did in elementary school (because I hang out with people who have stronger educational backgrounds now than I did in elementary school?) but I think I tended to surprise people. I used to take an hour each way to get to school (I took a bus to the local high school and switched to a bus that went to my Catholic school) and I kept myself occupied on the bus by reading.

    Maybe I didn’t know I was a reader until high school, when I went to the library to pick up all my holds and I was asked if I was homeschooled (I maximized the number of items I could hold by also memorizing my mother’s card number).

    I think my mom realized I was a reader the summer before second grade, when we drove from PA to IL and she had to buy me more books in IL because I had already read the books I had brought with me.

    But there really was no defining moment.

    Reply
    • 2. KT  |  March 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      It’s really a series of little things that make us readers, isn’t it? I remember my parents having to bring two library cards with us when my sister and I went to the library, because we’d max out one of them fairly regularly. Ah, childhood trips to the library :)

      Reply
  • 3. Kim  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Awww, how cute ARE we? =D

    Reply
    • 4. KT  |  March 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      Pretty cute! I love your curls in this picture.

      Reply
      • 5. Kim  |  April 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm

        I like my little foot and your facial expression the best. Teehee.

        Reply
      • 6. Kim  |  April 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

        Also-because I wasn’t an avid reader at age 3 you were scared I would never learn how? LOL. Wow. Thanks a lot!

        Reply
  • 7. Corey  |  March 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Great post! And that picture is too adorable!

    In terms of realizing I was a reader, I did actually have a moment in 3rd grade. I was a slower reader in CA but at some point between leaving second grade and moving to Williamsville I became voracious. I became more like the way you are: reading was breathing to me. It was part of my self-definition and it was what I wanted to do with all my time.

    But the defining moment came in 3rd grade in Williamsville when I finished something or other before the other students and my teacher rather flippantly told me to go sit in the corner and read. It was what I did all the time anyway so she just assumed it was what I would want to do while I waited. For some reason when she ordered me to the corner with a book, I just suddenly knew: I was a reader. Ding.

    Reply
  • 8. everybookandcranny  |  March 31, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Like you, I don’t really remember one particular defining moment, but rather, I remember vividly the books that influenced me and the impact that they had on me.

    I didn’t mention it in my Weekly Geeks post, but perhaps it is also telling that in high school there were times when I’d ask for a library pass during lunch instead of eating and socializing with my friends.

    Nice post.

    Reply
    • 9. KT  |  March 31, 2010 at 7:00 am

      Thanks for checking us out! I used to do that in high school, too :)

      Reply
  • 10. Julie  |  April 2, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I love that quote!!

    Reply
  • 11. Care  |  April 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I know I went to the library a lot as a kid but I don’t have any memories of what books I read. It was in 5th grade for me when I started reading Agatha Christie books and was hooked. I also realized hiding with a book was the best escape from my annoying cousins.

    Reply

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