For as long as I can remember, I have been a reader. I remember my mom reading to my sister and I growing up – even long past the point that we could read for ourselves, she would have a chapter book and would read a chapter aloud to us each night. We also did not have television growing up, so my main form of entertainment was from books. We would ask for books for Christmas, and within a week’s time, would have stayed up late greedily reading the entire stack.
It’s no surprise then, that I became an English teacher. That love of literature could not be quenched, and I wanted to instill that love of reading in someone else.
When ebooks came out, I was skeptical. Who would want to read a book on a screen? How ridiculous. Everyone knows part of the experience of reading is completely tactile…actually holding the book, turning the pages. And then there’s that book smell. And let’s not forget that a bookcase full of books is much more impressive looking than a Kindle sitting on a shelf that may have the same amount of literature stored on it. Ebooks. Who needs that foolishness? I have plenty of time to go to the bookstore or the library and have an actual physical book in my hand. Ebooks. How ridiculous.
And then I had kids.
And as much as I loved to read, my actual reading time dwindled significantly. I found that I was only reading the literature that I was preparing lesson plans for and very little reading very pleasure. When baby number three came along, reading for pleasure was down to non-existent.
Going to the library with three kids ages five and under was a stressful situation. You’re supposed to be quiet in the library! Going to the zoo with three kids is no problem…a quiet place like that library? Well….we won’t be doing that again. So I was back to square one. Not reading. Then I decided I would try using the drive-thru available at one of the local branches. It is not the closest branch to me, but no matter. Not having to unload and load them all back in, and keep them quiet and close by in the library seemed worth the extra drive. And it was.
And then Covid-19 shut everything down. Including the library.
I actually still have the physical book that I picked up from the library that day – All the Light We Cannot See. I am ashamed to admit that I have not finished it. It has sat on my nightstand this entire time.
What I have done though, is finally give ebooks a try. Yes. I realize they’ve been here a long time. What can I say other than I have seen the light?
I downloaded the Amazon Kindle app as well as the Libby app from the library. The first two weeks of quarantine, I read four different books completely on my phone. I have absolutely no idea why I have resisted reading in this format for so long.
When quarantine lifts, I will probably be ecstatic to actually GO to the library (without my kids, of course. They need a break from me – ha!). And I will probably still buy physical books that I can write in and mark on and physically turn the page. But I am a changed person.