I was filled with embarrassment. As my eyes scanned from right to left, I realized that I had not read any of the titles in front of me. I was on a second date with my now husband, Nate, and I had some extra time between dinner and our movie. He was an avid reader, and seemed to have consumed the entire fiction section in Barnes and Noble. Wanting to appear smarter than I was, I tried not not show an emotion as I decided something had to change about my reading life. Yes, I was trying to impress a guy; but it was bigger than that. I realized I was missing out on something.
In school, I had diligently done all of the assigned reading. While I did not particularly enjoy every paperback assigned, I knew it was necessary to have the background in order to pass the tests and complete the assignments. My parents were educators, and they genuinely wanted me to read. Growing up they would require I spent 15 minutes at a time in my bedroom reading something. The problem was that I could never really find the right books to read. And, to add to the misery, I was a slower reader and frankly not that good at comprehending a story. In school, we all read the same novel at the same time, and often I had to go home and re read the assigned reading that I tried to accomplish in class. As I was involved in sports and activities after school, I did not want to waste my time finding something in the library that I would most likely not get through before it had to be returned. I never really experienced the joy of being, “Lost in a book”. Growing up, I had friends that would read for hours, and I was always jealous that I did not enjoy the hobby.
As we continued to date throughout the fall, I found a way to start reading more. I was busy with college classes, so an unassigned book felt overwhelming. The magic happened the following summer. It was the day before I was to leave for a study abroad experience in Mexico. Nate had brought over a gift bag of goodies for me to enjoy on my trip. In the bag was an incredibly large novel. I thumbed through the pages of The Firm, by John Grisham, and did not know what to think. To say I was intimidated by the small print and thickness of the spine was an understatement. He said that I would have time to read in the airport or on the plane, and since it was one of his favorites, he thought I would enjoy it. Little did I know that this would be the book would change my life.
I decided to give the book a try. I knew I would have a lot of time over the next month. There was something about the way John Grisham wrote that hooked me right away. I carried The Firm with me everywhere I went. By the time I landed in Detroit 30 days later, I had finished 343 pages and could not wait to check out one his next books as soon as I was home. Since that summer, I have become an avid reader. Currently I read over a hundred books a year include a variety of fiction and non fiction authors. Because I read a lot, my life feels more complete and rich. I am incredibly passionate about finding young readers books that they will get lost in. Both of my boys have enjoyed John Grisham’s younger reader series, Kid Lawyer – Theodore Boone.
In addition to recommending books for kids, some of the professional recommendations I have as a teacher are Strong by Kara Goucher, The Four O’Clock Faculty: A Rogue Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development by Rich Czyz, and numerous other books that are from the Dave Burgess Consulting publishing group. Reading these books has opened up a floodgate of amazing ideas that I am able to use immediately.
Today it is not uncommon for me to be reading three or four books at a time. I am so excited to see new books released and cannot stop consuming content. Reading whether it professional, informative or an amazing thriller by a favorite author, am finally lost in my books. Not having a book to read for either myself, a family member or a student is treated like an emergency. Reading has become a way of life. No matter how busy you are, there is always a way to sneak in a few hours of reading. I get excited for the opportunity to read a few extra pages throughout the day. And, I absolutely love the excitement of getting up early to finish a book. Increasing the number of books I have read has made me a better teacher, parent, and overall person. Today, I am the reader that I was jealous of on my second date in Barnes and Noble.