I keep making this joke whenever the idea of books is brought up: "God, I wish I knew how to read." It runs parallel to another stupid phrase, as I watch my friends struggle through their calculus classes late at night in our floor lounge: "I hope this is the year that I learn to count." They're both truly idiotic expressions, but, when I consider the former, I sometimes wonder if there's some truth to it.
Now, I can absorb textbook chapters and assigned texts like the best of them — poorly, skimming, right before class and barely taking in any information — but it's hard to place exactly when I stopped reading for fun. I used to know how to sit for hours at a time, drawn into ever-growing worlds of fantasy and magic, inhabiting realms that someone else created. Books were always about that for me, about understanding and learning about the way someone else sees, about connection.
I ruined my sight as a child by never peeling my eyes away from the pages of my latest acquisition from the library. I couldn't tell you now where that library card is, though 10 years ago I had the number on the back memorized "just in case."
By the time I reached middle school, all I really read were the newest trends, like "The Hunger Games" trilogy, the "Divergent" trilogy, and whatever John Green book was popular at the time. It worked because everyone around me had heard of or read the books, or at least seen the movie adaptations, and it helped cultivate a new passion within me: criticizing things other people have created.
However, that big community of reading wore off as I continued growing, and I feel like it did the same for a lot of other people. I've heard from so many people that the last time they truly read was when they were ten. Granted, most of those people never read the books in our high school English curriculum, so they really haven't read a book, even for educational purposes, in a while.
It seems like a shame, especially when there's so much to be communicated through literature that cannot be expressed in an equivalent way through a different medium. It's like passion lost. There are whole worlds out there to find and explore, but many of us are not inclined or motivated to take the first step.
I brought a little library to college because I wanted to change. I picked the most interesting books from a shelf that I had never read, bought some cheap Amazon bookends, and planted them on the back of my desk. My little library functions as a sweet little decorative piece. It looks really nice when the light hits it just right.
Ultimately, I don't exactly have a point to this, besides the fact that I'd like to have that tidy little Pinterest aesthetic, in which I can carve out a couple of hours, sit with a hot beverage of my choosing, and read someone's memoir. I really wish I knew how to read.