I’ve been thinking about reading lately. Since I learned to do it, I have been in love with reading. From the moment that Green Eggs and Ham went from being an orange cardboard and paper object to something that I could actually READ, a bibliophile was born. I stayed up late as a child, yes, with a flashlight under the blanket. As a teen I would spend the whole weekend reading a book, shirking my chores. I once broke a lamp while trying to read and vacuum at the same time (if only I had known about audiobooks back then!) When I went to college, after a brief flirtation with science I realized that I could get a degree in reading. Yes, English major with a minor in Classics (reading in ancient languages, anyone?) When I finally realized that spending the rest of my life surrounded by books could actually pay the bills, I went to grad school and became a librarian. But what is this magic we call reading? Why does it hold me (and countless others) in such thrall? How can I spend hours huddled under a quilt, cup of tea nearby, just reading? Why am I so fascinated by what the creators of these wondrous objects have to say? And how is it that some people (authors) have this connection to words that can seize me spellbound?
I don’t have the answers to these questions. They have just been niggling at me, causing a bit of wonder now and then. But the thing that really makes my puzzler puzz is WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE READ? I know that some people cannot read. Children have to learn to read, and some adults never learn to. Some people do not have access to books. These scenarios make me sad, propel me to leave the comfy reading chair and get to work so I can help negate these issues in my job as Book Missionary (aka Librarian). It is the people who can read, who have access to books, and don’t — those are the ones that I really wonder about. Did they just never read the right book? Did they have a negative experience in school that made them hate reading? Do they think books are not cool? Again, I don’t have the answers, but I have a lot of questions.
With the proliferation of reading formats, maybe some of those nonreaders will come over to our side. Maybe eBooks will bring the gadget lovers to reading; perhaps audiobooks will fill the ears and minds of those who just can’t sit still. Could a book app will grab the attention of a teen that thought reading was too uncool to even bother? Whatever it takes, I welcome them into this magical world. And magical is the best word I have, because I cannot explain this enchantment any other way.