Why I Read first appeared on my blog, All The Crannies.

This post is for the Why I Read campaign that I’m launching during the month of September. If you’d like to join me (and I really, really hope that you will), simply write a post about why/how you came to read and link back to my post here. 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. On the bus, in the car, in the bathroom, in bed, on the airplane, in class, at the mall, at the park; I read everywhere and anywhere and when people scoffed at me for ‘reading all the time’, I rolled my eyes at them andflipped the page.

I owe all of this to my mum.

If you don’t know this already, I don’t live in my home country. We moved to where we live today sixteen years ago because my parents’ work stopped paying them and we were up to our knees in debt. We arrived at our rented apartment with only a few belongings and money that wasn’t enough to buy furniture to put in said apartment. You know what were some of the first things my mum bought me a few days later? Two huge volumes of bedtime stories.

We were struggling to make ends meet and my mum went and bought me books.

She’d read a couple of stories to my brother and I each night and once I learnt how to read, there was no stopping me. After she finished reading us bedtime stories and tucked us in bed, I’d cover myself in my blanket and read by the torch light. I read both of those books in record time and my mum bought a third one so I’d have new reading material and stop rereading the same stories over and over again. However, for a long time after that, and for some reason, she only bought informative books; like books about rain and the universe and flowers and the human body. I read those as well (of course I did) but they didn’t satisfy the itch that I had.

And then I discovered my school’s library. And rediscovered fiction. First book I picked? A Nancy Drew mystery. Next book? A Nancy Drew mystery. The one after? You guessed it, another Nancy Drew mystery. I read those like nobody’s business and soon, I finished the library’s entire collection. Following victims were Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, Stephanie Meyer, John Steinbeck, Sophie Kinsella, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and, lastly but perhaps most importantly, Christopher Paolini. He introduced me to high fantasy and when I opened Eragon and read the first paragraph, I was a changed girl. The world was no longer the ordinary dull, boring grey. It was bursting with color and life and magic. There, surrounded by dragons and shades and elves and sorcerers, I was home at last. That led to me picking up the Harry Potter books, and ever since then I’ve lived in made up worlds and fought alongside characters, who while some ignorant people would argue that they’re just figments of someone’s imagination, they were, and still are, plenty real to me.

So you can imagine how frustrated I feel when someone talks shit about books or undermines their importance. I want to scream at them for daring to insult my friends, because yes, books are my friends, and sometimes I do end up swearing at them and calling them ignorant fools, but most of the time I just shake my head and pity them because a person who has never felt love for a book is a very empty person. Books made me into who I am today. Books were there for me when I was struggling with anxiety. Books were there for me when no one was and without them, I would’ve been a shadow of my current self. Without them, I might not have been alive today.

Books change lives and I know they do because I’m a living example of that.

Published by Jinan H