This I Believe

Raven - Austin, Texas
Entered on December 20, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in reading.

I believe that books matter.

Books transport me to other worlds faster and better than any plane, train or automobile. When I was a little girl, that world was often the block inhabited by Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, whose stories became real to me thanks to regular deliveries from the Sesame Street Book Club. As I grew older, I found that reading helped me to expand not only my worldview, but the tools needed to express what I saw and felt.

The more I read, the better I was able to spell.

The more I read, the larger my vocabulary grew.

The more I read, the easier it became to put my thoughts on paper and speak them aloud.

Growing up, my father took me and my brothers to Walker Branch Library regularly where we selected books to later read together. In his deep, rolling voice, my father often told us that it was important to speak well, write well and read voraciously. In time, I would frequently check out the maximum number of books allowed. My mother purchased books for us from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that showed the beauty of pictures and paintings. I eventually realized that art could enhance words and words could become art. Even today, the novels I loved as a child are not packed away in boxes, but are proudly on display at my father’s house.

As an adult, books remain my best friends and count as my most treasured possessions. I frequently joke that my apartment resembles a library. My many books spill over from their shelves onto the floor, sitting in stacks. Piles of magazines and newspapers cover my coffee table and nearly every other inch of available space. In my professional life, I tell other people’s stories. Through journalism, I am able to draw people inside of real-life fairy tales and nightmares. I hope that in the process, they are inspired to think, to act, and to keep reading.

This I believe.