Please, please – watch this video. You can wash dishes or fold the laundry while you do – he just stands at the podium the whole time. But it’s not the visuals we’re here for, folks.
I land somewhere on the voracious end of the “How Much Do You Love Reading?” scale, at least in intention if not always execution (what can I say? I get busy. With movies.) And all due credit goes to my mom, who did exactly what Gaiman describes in that video there: she read to us aloud, my big brother and I tucked into our bunk-beds listening to the adventure of the kids at Wayside School and the Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom and the Wrinkle in Time. She took us to the library for reading time in the kid’s playhouse in the corner, and as we got older dropped us off for hours exploring R.L. Stine (and Oregon Trail on the community computer in the basement).
I don’t know where she found the time or motivation to keep us reading – I imagine it most likely stemmed from her own appreciation for it over some study she read proving the future success for early readers (it was the 80s, after all) – but I am forever grateful for it, wherever it came from. One of the first things I do in any town I live in is find the library and sign up for a card. These days, with content so readily available to us, I might not visit as often – but they still hold as special a place in my heart as they always have.
I love so many things about Gaiman’s speech. All the things. Parents encouraging kids to read, just read, read anything because anything you’re reading is a gateway drug to reading more and better and other things. To support libraries because libraries support so much in the community. The obligation to keep reading, to read in public and make a statement for reading. To read on tablets or pages or scrolls, but to just keep reading.
As I packed my house in Indy to move west, I purged a lot of belongings – furniture, clothes, a basement full of whatever a basement ends up being filled with. But the one thing I couldn’t part with was my books. I set aside a box just for the books I wanted to take to Utah, and I stored the rest until I’d have room for them again. Today, my small NYC space is practically bursting at the seams with books and I couldn’t be happier. They’re crammed above cabinets, stacked two-deep on shelves and standing shoulder high in a stack in the corner.
Are you a reader? How did you come about your love for reading? How do you share it?