I Am What I Read

Emily - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on December 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe I can create my own world any way I wish. The countless books that I have read throughout my life, create the intricate tapestry of my imagination. Every time I open a book, I fall in head first. Each story becomes a part of me.

Reading allows me to travel the world and go backward or forward in time. I’m able to get a taste of the places I want to go without even leaving my room. In The Thief Lord, Cornelia Funke transported me to the canals of Venice. It felt so real to me that if I were to go there tomorrow, some of the sights and sounds would seem familiar. Some writers move me back through time. L.M. Montgomery taught me about growing up on Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s within the pages of Anne of Green Gables. It brought me closer to an understanding of a time period that I will never truly know. Some wordsmiths reveal the possibilities of the future. In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells showed a bleak view of what is to come. It made me more aware of how actions today can affect the future. No international border, body of water, or clock can hold me back when I read a good book.

When I sit down with a book I can be anyone I want, whether the character is real or fictitious. I can make great discoveries or find my life’s meaning. In the Shadow of Man

allowed me to become a young Jane Goodall, living among the chimpanzees in Africa, and defying the world’s idea of what Man is and what a woman can do. I can imagine myself a strong and confident person who has an unwavering passion. Ayn Rand allowed me to experience the integrity of an innovative architect who has the courage to break all the rules to do what he loves in The Fountainhead. It taught me to accept who I am and not be afraid to be different. I identified with the concept of feeling invisible and trying to overcome extreme shyness while reading The Woman in the Wall. Patrice Kindl tells the story of a girl forgotten by the world who finally finds the confidence to value her existence. These books were journeys of self-discovery, not only for the characters, but for me.

Writers who are really good at spinning a tale allow me to feel and smell and taste a life that I’ve never experienced. After reading a book that speaks to me I feel that it’s mine – not the book, but the story, and I protect and cherish it. Some of these books, such as The Fountainhead have fundamentally changed the way I think of myself and the world around me. The books that I read make me who I am. This I believe.