Open Book

I want to talk about reading.

Not as a writer.

As a reader.

Because I will never be able to quantify the vast amounts of information I have learned through the simple (amazingly complex) process of reading.

I was able to read before I started 1st grade. I’m not sure what caused this. Perhaps it was a push from my parents, or maybe just the desire of wanting to imitate what they were doing. My parents read constantly. There were always books in our home, and we were encouraged to read.

This is a photo of me on the day I was allowed to get a library card:

I could make up something about how this was before the age of computer games and the Internet, but that would be a lie. I learned how to type with Mario Teaches Typing. I played Reader Rabbit. I was a Math Blaster pro. These weren’t just in my home, they were at school.

My mother is a substitute teacher, and I asked her how her day was.

“Such and so can’t read.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“She sat at her desk and cried all day because she can’t read.”

“What does that-”

“I was teaching 3rd grade.”

My brain audibly ground to a halt as I tried to force this into some kind of perspective that related to me. This is truly cognitive dissonance. I know, on an intellectual level, that people don’t know how to read. I have not met these people. And, for the first time, I really started to think about how much knowledge, pleasure, joy, and heartbreak they don’t have access to.

I’m just trying to work this out in my head, and it ended up on my blog.

The movie is never as good as the book.

There are people out there who will never know Harry Potter, or Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, or Harold and his Purple Crayon the same way I do.

I wish there was some way I could fix that.

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