Sunday, January 18, 2015

Losing Reading

When I was in High School, I started reading. It wasn't my choice, but my slowly developing sense of integrity was still strong enough by my sophomore year to draw me away from Sparknotes and into the paperbacks I was assigned. I had heard a lot about gateway drugs growing up in Southern California, but I was unfamiliar with the idea of a gateway book until I read To Kill A Mockingbird. As I muscled through the early pages of the novel, trying to understand what people seemed to love about the whole reading thing, I came across a line that has largely shaped how I think about literature in my life today. Contemplating reading, Scout states, "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

I read that and wanted to understand it. I had had a similar experience with sports growing up. I often had minor injuries I attained from playing soccer, none of which threatened anything but my temporary mobility, but these experiences had reminded me of muscles I had never noticed making a difference in my happiness until they were disabled. Through reading, I started to explore similar untapped parts of me, and eventually learned what it meant to fear losing it.

  • Reading my digital journal I kept during my study abroad in Jerusalem and having a whole new experience reading through the printed version.
  • Buying the short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald and JD Salinger in high school. 
  • Writing poetry for competitions as an elementary school student and being given encouragement to continue writing by judges. 
  • Reading Borges for the first time in Spanish after my mission and having a whole new experience with it. 
  • Finding my favorite book, A Separate Peace, when I was 16 and re-reading it every year. 


  1. It's true what you say about never really missing what you have until you lose it and it's made me think what I would do if for some reason I ever lost the opportunity to read books and stories, so it's made me way more grateful for literature. Also, you mention that A Separate Peace is your favorite book, so I was wondering if you could explain why and what makes it s special since I personally didn't enjoy it, but I would love to hear why you do.

  2. I love the idea that literature makes you a better person. Literature is a great way to analyze yourself through the themes, situations and characters we read about. Jane Eyre is when I began to delve deeper into the words I had always seen as simply telling a good story with perhaps a moral attached. I have learned that literature does so much more!