“Read a book!” If you had suggested I do that during my senior year of high school, I probably would have laughed in your face. It’s not that I wasn’t a good reader—come on, I was in the highest reading level in 2nd grade!—it’s just that I didn’t enjoy reading as a pasttime. The idea of sitting down and reading a book was less appealing to me than the thought of staring at a blank wall. Then again, why should I have enjoyed reading? It’s not like I’d read anything good since Goodnight Moon.
Everywhere I went I would see people reading, their eyes glued to their books. “What on Earth is so interesting in there?!” I wanted to shout. On the outside, these people looked uninspired…little did I know, they may have been watching a phenomenal book unfold inside of their minds in the form of a zillion vivid and magical little pictures that, when put together, could surpass even one of Hollywood’s greatest films.
Today, I am an avid reader. How did I get this way? Well, it all started with one little book. Ok, maybe “little” isn’t the right word; the book is over a thousand pages long. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. When my mom recommended it to me the summer after my senior year, I reluctantly agreed to give it a try. As I read the first couple of pages, all I could think about was the pain in my wrist from holding this gigantic novel, which seemed to weigh more than I did. As I flipped through the first few pages, I still didn’t know that I was reading my way into a brilliant and extravagant world of glowing orange sunsets, endless cotton plantations, ancestral soil, ornate dresses, gorgeous southern belles, war-ridden gentlemen, a vast supply of gold, and, the inevitable, poverty and dirt. Once I entered this world, there was no getting out of it.
My parents had to tear me away from the book so we could have family dinners. I’d miss episodes of my beloved TV series, “The Bachelorette,” because Scarlett O’Hara’s quest for love was a lot more entertaining. Long story short, I found the secret ingredient that makes reading enjoyable—a well-written book.
After Gone With the Wind, I decided to listen to all of my mom’s future book recommendations—even if those books were a bit different from the ones I’d previously enjoyed. She handed me The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This young adult science-fiction novel about a post-apocalyptic society in a made-up country is the last book I could have ever imagined I’d read after finishing all of Augusten Burroughs’ eccentric memoirs. I loved it. When I finished it, my adventure was far from over; that book was only number one in the Hunger Games trilogy. After Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, I was eager to read a fourth.
If I hadn’t tried something new, I would never have understood how much pleasure and excitement books could bring. My life, my vocabulary, and my imagination have all been enriched by this new passion, and all because I gave it a try. Reading books always looked dull and tedious, but guess what I’ve learned? Don’t judge a book by its cover.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This will be my last post on the Class of 2014 shared blog. I am moving onwards and upwards and I now have my very own blog page: http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/lucie/. “The Lucie Show.” I will post all future blogs to that new site. Check it out and tell me what you think!
JHU_Lucie’s reading recommendations in no particular order (you can thank my mom for this list…)
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
- Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison (Augusten Burroughs’ brother)
- Dry by Augusten Burroughs
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (definitely don’t judge this book by its cover)
- Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs
- A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- All I Can Handle by Kim Stagliano
- Sit, Ubu, Sit by Gary David Goldberg (see my blog titled “The Screenplay of My Life” for more information about this book)
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Definitely see the movie too!)
- Room by Emma Donoghue (Thank Julie Rebecca Leff esquire)