It’s funny how when you’re in the middle of something, you don’t really notice the signs the universe gives you. I used to think I was doomed to an unhappy corporate job, because I didn’t know what I wanted, and I wasn’t passionate about anything. Now, looking back, it seems pretty obvious that I was always meant to write. I’m not sure yet how that’s going to go professionally, but it all definitely led to me at least trying.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I never even gave a thought to writing, until after I realized I’d fallen in love with reading in the first place.
As a child, when in a car, I would read all the signs we passed on the streets, I would read all the labels of my snacks and juice boxes. At home, I poured over the encyclopedias about dinosaurs, the universe, the human body, the Earth… When you look at it like that, it does seem like it was a love match from the beginning? How could it not be? Books completely saved my life.
We all tried to make sense of the world, and failed
Not all introverts are the same. Yes, children, we come in all shapes and sizes, like every other person under the sun. But we all do seem to share a past of trying to understand how the world works. Time and time again we tried to fit in, by any means possible. We didn’t realize at the time that this wasn’t because there was something wrong with us. We were just different, in an environment where most of our peers, and even our family were extroverted. It wasn’t their fault either, but ignorance can be just as cruel as intention.
So, for some of us our early years were a constant struggle. For some that struggle hasn’t stopped. Others, they stopped trying to fit into that odd world and started living in their own, doing their thing and being awesome. Those people are my heroes, to be honest.
All of us failed, however, to understand this ‘real’ world. The thing is, that when we read, we come as close as we can to doing that.
Fiction books don’t expect you to be anything other than what you already are. It is you who, when you read, might change, but they’re not actively seeking to do that. They offer what they have to give, and you have the choice of whether to accept that or not.
Think about who you are, who you were, and who you want to be
To be honest, read anything and you should already be on your way to understanding the mysteries of the universe, but read with this particular mindset, and you’ll be halfway there. Being analytical while reading doesn’t happen when you just start, it’s an ability you develop after reading at least 50+ books, and it just improves from there. If you review books then it’s just second nature.
When you draw parallels between yourself, your world, and the situations in a story, it’s like you and the book become one. You see the greed, the violence, the pride and the misconceptions; but you also see the good, the resilience and the selflessness. You experience all that, without having to talk to absolutely anybody.
Once you start reading so many books you can’t even count them, you start seeing yourself in them too. More and more. And so, when you read, you not only understand the world, but yourself; which when you finally do, you realize is more important than understanding the world ever was.
In my case
When I read, I think about those bullied characters, like Courtney Summers’ Regina, from Some Girls Are. This is one of the books I’ve identified with the most. Will write a post about this soon, in fact. Stay tuned for it!
There’s also the books with amazing friendships, and the dystopian ones. I came to understand that people are the product of the home they were raised in. I came to understand empathy, and how in spite of how evil a person may be, and how frustrating it is for me, I can’t blind myself to what’s going on in the other side. Never condoning it. Just understanding it.
Reading is more personal that what most give it credit for
Yes, it’s a deeply personal experience. In order to truly take advantage of what a book has to offer, you must sink in it. It’s not a monologue, with the book telling you stuff and you blindly nodding along. It’s a conversation, at times even an argument. But always two-sided.
Would you like some book recs?
I put together a list of 15 books you might like to read, 5 recs for Fantasy, Contemporary, and Sci-fi, yay!
Happy reading everyone!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned through reading?