This I Believe

Tiffany - Bel Aire, Kansas
Entered on November 13, 2006

Reading as a Lifestyle

As a little girl, I always pretended to be someone else. Now, this happened in the era when my mom picked me up after half a day of pre-K and sat with me to watch Sesame Street, so people still considered playing “pretend” normal, even expected. However, although I did dress up as a princess and a ballerina, I aspired to one figure above all else.

I wanted to be a reader. I utilized most of my time acting like an extremely intelligent scholar and spent hours highlighting the text of nature magazines in which I didn’t understand a single word! The unique shapes of the words fascinated me, and my eyes pored over what my brain couldn’t comprehend.

I believe in the power of reading.

I remember as I first started out reading, my mom and I curled up under the covers and read sentences like “See Spot Run” in short books from my kindergarten class. I always enjoyed tackling and finishing a new book, feeling a sense of accomplishment with each and every word. As I moved on to bigger books, even ones without pictures, I truly began to understand the power of reading.

Reading transforms you into a different person in a different place. Whenever I feel stressed out or overwhelmed, I read. For those short snippets of time, I feel completely free of all responsibilities and pressures. I can change from a 16 year old girl with loads of Calculus homework to a medieval princess, an elderly detective, or even a fish. I get so caught up in books that I picture myself in the place of a character, living an entirely different life. The amazing thing about reading is that I can lose myself in the story but find myself in the characters. You see, the phrase “books capture you” may seem cliché, but it’s completely true.

I believe the most fascinating aspect of reading lies in its universality. Books connect people from all over the world. I experienced this firsthand when I visited my cousin in Hong Kong. A book on the table caught my eye, and I discovered, to my surprise, that we were both reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Someone in a country 10,000 miles away actually enjoyed the same book as I did at the exact same time.

My love for reading only grows stronger throughout the years. I still check out 30 books at a time from the library every summer, carrying them in bags the librarian gives me. My family constantly teases me because when I read, I can’t seem to hear anything they say to me! Reading to me constitutes more than a hobby: reading is my life.