Why I Love it so Much

If you were to ask me what my favorite word in the dictionary is, I would tell you it was just that: word. I think that in many ways, words are some of the most magical things. There is an infinite amount of ways that they can be combined and rearranged that tell us something different every time, and it’s difficult, maybe even impossible, to comprehend that a twenty-six-letter alphabet can tell so many stories. 

Now, a couple of other words that would be included in my favorites are books and reading. You see, from a young age, I found my love for words and all they could do for me through my Grampa’s renditions of stories. 

Because I was illiterate for about five years of my life, he and I would curl up for him to “read” or more retell his own version of book after book after book. My imagination, creativity, and love for reading can all be traced back to these small yet impactful moments with my Grampa. 

These moments became less and less though once I was able to read myself. At that point, I was unstoppable. I vividly remember getting “caught” multiple times reading into the late hours of the night, or when I would get in trouble for hiding in my room reading rather than watching a movie with my family. 

At that point, my class identified me as the girl who read, and I can admit that I latched onto this. By sixth grade, I had read all the usual book series: Ramona and Beezus, Harry Potter, Divergent, Maze Runner, Land of Stories, and The Hunger Games; the list could go on and on. 

This is exactly how I feel. Meme Credit | Hailey Maddock

I can say with confidence that that era was probably my favorite. The places I was transported to gave me a freedom that any child suffering from a need for academic validation would crave. 

Once I entered junior high, I got into a two-year reading slump because, for one, I couldn’t find a book that gave me the same feeling that those “childish” books had, and two, I felt like I was expected to begin reading books that were more academic and less fantasy since I was “getting too old for that.” 

Looking back, I can now see how wrong it was that a seventh grader felt the need to act like an adult, but at that time, I was so used to being considered mature that I thought I needed to adjust my reading content to fit that. I tried finding interest in nonfiction, but I very quickly realized that I was getting no enjoyment from that. 

Here is yet another example of having an insight now that I lacked then because I’ve realized more and more that reading is an escape for me in a way, so when I was attempting to read things that had actually happened, I wasn’t allowing myself to hide in a reality that wasn’t this one. 

Anyway, once I realized this, I decided to return to my roots and read the Harry Potter series yet again. I’ve read it three times, and each time, it has gotten me out of a much-needed reading slump. Now, over the next few years, I went through a few different phases. I read all the way from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Summer I Turned Pretty series and even had an entire timeline of only reading books by the author John Green. 

If I’m being completely honest, I probably couldn’t tell you half the books I’ve read in the last few years because I had yet to know what Goodreads was, but I know that each one of them allowed me to experience something that I wasn’t in real life. 

This year, I made the goal to read fifty-two books, and I thought it would be difficult to find books that would interest me, but thanks to BookTok, the side of TikTok dedicated to books, I’ve found plenty of inspiration and have only four books left. 

Having an understanding of what genres you enjoy reading can help a lot. Recently, I have found myself gravitating toward the genre of realistic fiction, but I still love a good adventure or fantasy. A few of my favorite books are Looking for Alaska by John Green, 1984 by George Orwell, and People on Vacation by Emily Henry. 

I love these books so much because of the strong emotional connection I had with the characters to the point of laughing and crying with them through the events of their lives. I’ve found that as I get older, I focus less on the overall story and more on the character building which is why my reading preferences have changed.

My favorite books also have the element of containing something I have never experienced, and when I say that I live vicariously through the characters, I mean it. There are certain parts of life that I have yet to live through, so I find comfort in reading about it and getting the experience even if it didn’t actually happen to me.

My love for words has been a pretty consistent part of my life and has contributed to hobbies and even jobs. I’m currently majoring in Journalism with a minor in English, writing for the NDSU Spectrum, and of course, spending a lot of my time reading. Having the ability and opportunity to work with the things that I love so much is so fulfilling and brings me happiness every day. 

Words are one of the few things in this world that harbor so many possibilities, and I know that they will be part of who I am no matter where life takes me.

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