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Balancing the Books

Samantha Knowles, Editor

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It’d been more than three years since I’d read for fun.

I’d just been so busy with high school (because isn’t everyone?) and had so much to get done, and every time I’d look at a book, I’d think, “Who has time for that anymore?”

I’d taken to piling every book I’d got from freshman year on onto my alarm clock beside my bed, hoping it’d inspire me to read again, but no dice- they gathered dust month after month and eventually the pile got so high I had to move it to my drawer because it broke my alarm clock. (Rest in peace, buddy. You were great.)

But everything changed a little less than a month ago when I started reading “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. I knew the book wasn’t “cool” anymore; I’d bought it when it was cool, but after sitting on my bedside table for 8 months it’d long passed it’s prime.

Now, it wasn’t that I loved the book and that’s what inspired me to read again- that’d be an end so cliche not even a children’s author would touch it with a ten-foot pole. No, I didn’t even end up liking the book very much when I was done, but somewhere around page thirty-something out of 374, I stumbled across a feeling I hadn’t felt so strongly since middle school: Curiosity.

Thinking back on it, I remember that I just couldn’t put the book down. (And yes, that sounds like the most typical New York Times review in history, but sue me, it’s what I felt.) And like I said before, I didn’t even like the book that much. I even tried to abandon it and stop wasting my time on something I didn’t really like.

Now, I’m so, so glad for that something in my brain that told me to keep reading, and wouldn’t let me stop, because it’s the same thing that’s allowed me now to blow through three more books since, slowly making a dent in the pile of books crammed into my drawer, and I’ve officially read more in the past three weeks than I have in my entire high school career so far.

In the three days it took me to read the book, three people asked about it.

My dad. “What are you doing?” “Reading.” He gave me a suspicious stare. “Why?” “For fun.”

My mom. “What are you reading?” “Ready Player One.” “Is it for school?” “No.” “Huh.”

My classmate. “What are you reading? What’s it about?”

But she stopped herself: “Sorry, you were into it. It’s been so long since I saw anyone read for fun that I forgot you’re not supposed to interrupt.”

It got on my nerves a little that people noticed. When I was a kid, reading was as essential to my core as art was. They were the two things that made me me.

“What do you like to do?” teachers, friends, relatives would ask.

“Draw and read,” I would reply every time, and in my own mind that never changed.

But sometime between then and high school, I stopped reading, so when I took it up again, after an epic, three-year hiatus, people saw it as strange, and that’s something I want to make sure doesn’t happen again.

I’m not gonna lie, I thought I was over books. Before this year, whenever I thought back to when I would read for hours as a little kid, by the light of my bedside lamp, it felt like a whole different person I was watching through my memories.

But now, I’m back to being that person. I’ve been picking up a new book as soon as I put the old one down, allowing myself to get hooked on the new book so that I never stop, and so I never lose my love for books for so long ever again.

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pleasant grove high school newspaper, texarkana, tx
Balancing the Books