For my 13th birthday, I must have received a
plethora of notebooks, because there is one that I still have, for the sole
purpose of recording each book I read.
I filled the last page yesterday, writing across the back of
the cover to bring this chapter to a close.
I’m turning 23 tomorrow.
Before I chuck the dilapidated thing into a box, I’ve
enjoyed flipping through the pages. That many years, means a lot of books.
The first page has a number of titles written in gel pen.
The last page’s handwriting is considerably improved.
Books tell stories, sometimes the arc of a lifetime. What I
didn’t count on, was the books I read to tell a little tale about me.
A couple pages in, I apparently read three Hardy Boy’s books
in a row. A few years later, I was doing the same thing with Agatha Christie
At age 14, I read The Westing Game and then a few
weeks later, finished Pride and Prejudice for the first time.
The teenage years are
a funny balancing act, reading Louisa May Alcott, Oscar Wilde, and Redwall.
Oh, and a lot of Ramona and Beezus books.
Back and forth… trying to decide whether to grow up.
I’m thinking of independence as I read the titles too. A
funny thing, those growing up years, where you read what you’re told (who reads
Homer for fun?) and you read what you want. Wodehouse, Sutcliffe, and Amusing
Ourselves to Death. A few Dear Canada’s back to back.
Life, my notebook
tells me, is a staggery path to good choices and mature decisions, one book at
Perhaps at times, I was overzealous. Reading The Over-Load
Syndrome at 15 years?
The more I look, in fact, the more I see the books I’ve read
as dots; dots connecting the grown up moments to the little girl. Some books
stand out more than others. I read Gilead and Tale of Despereaux
at the same friend’s house. Both profoundly moved me. I remember crying for the
first time over a book…Our Mutual Friend, in fact. Reading Stephen
Leacock finally solved my age old wonder whether I indeed ‘had a sense of
And My Name Is Asher Lev was the first book I
remember leaving me with no opinion. Just big eyes to look at the world.
It’s been a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of books
over the bedside table. I won’t be writing every title down anymore, although I
do track my reading progress with friends on Pinterest.
But the words will still be telling the story…of characters,
and of a growing up. Of change. Slow.