All throughout elementary school and part of middle school, I despised reading and did everything I could to avoid it outside the classroom. At the same time, almost all of my friends were book lovers, and they pressured me to give reading “for fun” another try.
I distinctively remember the exact moment my relationship with books changed. In middle school, one of my friends sent me an email — yes, email was our primary form of electronic communication at the time — suggesting I try out a new book series she had discovered.
The minute I read the word “book,” I instantly became disinterested, but I decided to continue reading the email. She went on to explain that the series was a romance — in case you’re wondering, it was “The Twilight Saga” by Stephenie Meyer — and she hadn’t been able to put the books down since she started reading them.
The fact that it was a romance intrigued me, but the most interesting part of what she said was that she hadn’t been able to stop reading them once she started. That made me think, “Maybe these books are engaging enough to try out.”
So I went to the bookstore, picked up a shiny new copy of the first book in the series and immediately started reading. To my surprise, the same thing that happened to my friend happened to me: I couldn’t put the book down.
I tore through the first book in a matter of days, then the second book, then the third. And when the fourth and final book of the series came out, I zipped through all 800 pages in just two days.
From that point on, reading books became one of my favorite pastimes. Though I’m partial to romance novels, I’ve also enjoyed science fiction, epics, mysteries and historical fiction over the years.
I believe that once your mind is awakened by a good book, there’s no going back. For some people, it takes years to find the right book; others never find it. But I’m lucky that I did.
And even though my taste in books has changed somewhat over the years, I’m still so glad that I stepped into that bookstore 10 years ago. That leap of faith has not only shaped my love for reading, but it has also deepened the love for writing that I’ve had since I was little.
My point in sharing this story is partly to encourage others to try reading, and partly to say that even if you think you won’t enjoy something, don’t be afraid to give it a try anyway. You might be surprised by what happens.
Holly Viers is a general assignment reporter for the Kingsport Times-News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.