I’ve always loved reading.
Much to the delight of my parents and relatives bragging rights, I learned to read much earlier than my classmates and excelled at an exceptional rate through Writing to Read, the cutting-edge technology in first grade on prehistoric computers. Not only that, I’m a fast reader–I was always done with reading assignments, tests, and the like way before anyone else.
Growing up, I breezed through the monumental pre-teen series, graduated from Babysitter’s Little Sister to the much older, more mature Babysitter’s Club, and sometimes raided my mom’s paperback cabinet where I squirmed uncomfortably through literary love and mild sex scenes (sorry, Ma).
But when I got to the point in school where we had to start reading books to uncover deeper meanings, analyze the crap out of the placement of every word and sentence structure, and lead class discussions on underlying themes that I just never seemed to grasp (can’t we just take it for face value?) I was turned off of reading “grown up” books. Crime and Punishment, Romeo and Juliet, Antigone…how boring. Not only was the language ancient, but I was expected to draw things from words I didn’t understand and write papers on it? No thanks. I’ll stick with the Shopaholic series and Seventeen Magazine, thanks.
I’m not sure when exactly things changed, but I do remember the first grown up, really hard book that I actually enjoyed. We read A Tale of Two Cities in tenth grade, and with the help of Sparknotes (as an aid, not a replacement, mind you) I found myself realizing, woah…this is cool! Although spending five minutes on a single paragraph was the most frustrating thing to read for a girl who breezes through a paperback in one day, taking the time to understand made enjoying the book so much more rich.
My developing love for writing, along with the suggestion from my now-husband, made me decide to minor in English because, in my usual quick fashion, I was ahead of schedule to finish up my college classes before four years was up (and the prospect of graduating early scared me into picking up a minor). The semester of where I had mostly English classes (Article Writing, Fiction Writing, and Critical Reading, with American Fiction over the summer) was probably my favorite in the four years. It was a refreshing and much-needed break from the rigorous, business-driven, somewhat tool-infested Hospitality Management major. I found more stimulating conversations from sitting in one English class than I did with an entire semester of Finance class, and some of my favorite teachers came from those classes. They were so laid-back and classes mostly full of people who loved to write and read, weren’t concerned about kissing up to CEO’s and scoring internships, and didn’t know what the hell they would do with it after college. I liked it.
I started out this post with the intention of reviewing some of the books that my unemployed self has read this summer (thank goodness for the library across the street!) but, as usual, my thoughts took me somewhere else. Hope you enjoyed the evolution of Brenda the Bookworm!
And just for kicks…here are some of my favorite books for the summer. They might not be the most intellectual, but for purposes of keeping me occupied on the patio with a glass of wine, they have done me well.