Letters. Words. Sentences. Paragraphs. Chapters.
It's amazing how individual building blocks, which signify very little on their own, can create such complex, multifaceted objects when combined in the right ways. Books are a perfect representation of this idea. When every letter of every word comes together, when one chapter effortlessly flows into the next, books, the carriers of immense amounts of knowledge and power, are created. I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and after finishing every book, I silently thank my parents for showing me that reading can be a relaxing, yet rewarding and intellectual experience.
One of the striking aspects of my home is the "mess" of books and newspapers lying under or on top of tables, particularly in my parents' room. The stack next to my Dad's side of the bed never seems to get smaller, consistently stocked with books on virtually every subject. You will be hard-pressed to find a day in which he hasn't either read or listened to an audiobook because it's his primary pastime and hobby. Needless to say, I inherited my passion for reading largely from him. He made me realize how important it is to immerse yourself in a book, to understand what it can teach you if you're willing to learn.
Like most children, I didn't start with the heavy nonfiction works my Dad prefers. I began with the basics, the "building blocks" of my enriching reading journey. The lighthearted, addictive nature of series such as A-Z mysteries, Magic Tree House, and Junie B Jones sucked me into the world of fiction and fantasy from a young age. That's what made reading so initially appealing: a book's ability to transport you to a different world, to distance you from reality and evoke joy, sadness, or anger as you follow the characters and empathize with them as if you're a part of the story too. Reading is as interactive an experience as you make of it, and as I progressed to more advanced novels such as Lord Of The Rings, my imagination became ever more prolific, and my excitement in entering additional worlds only increased.
There is no book or series that is more indicative of my relationship with reading than Harry Potter. From the moment I flipped to the first page and read "The Boy Who Lived", I was hooked. It was like no other novel I had come across because the swiftness with which it encapsulated me left me spellbound(no pun intended). Since that first page, I have read the entire series five times, which hopefully places me in the upper echelon of Potterheads. And yet, every time I finish another one of the books, I wonder how JK Rowling managed to write such a masterpiece, how she managed to make every bit of it perfect. Because there has to be a reason why I, like millions of devoted fans, was so easily pulled into the magical world of Harry Potter. For me, it was the first time I truly felt the author bring the characters and setting to life. I would not hesitate for a second if given the opportunity to be a part of Hogwarts because the world was so masterfully realized. When Harry felt trepidation, I felt trepidation. When they were escaping from the Death Eaters, I felt as if my own life was at grave risk. It might seem ridiculous, but every time I finish the last few words of the Deathly Hallows, a pang of sorrow ripples through me, and I want nothing more than to experience all of it, all over again.
I've since started to read nonfiction books here and there, and although they can be quite interesting and informative, my preferred genre will always be fiction. Whether it be Khaled Hosseini's beautifully written The Kite Runner or George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones masterpiece, each work of fiction stems from the author's burst of creativity and inspiration. It constantly amazes me how much talent and influence writers have, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the world of literature. Because my reading journey is far from over.
In fact, it is only just beginning.